Breast implants are not lifetime devices. Implants wear out just like everything else in life, and they should be replaced (exchanged) for a new pair every 10-15 years for silicone, or every 6-8 years for saline.
Exchanging breast implants is not mandatory, but it is a conservative recommendation based on the idea of avoiding problems before they occur, rather than fixing them once they have already happened. If you are perfectly happy with the size, shape, and position of your old breast implants, then you should consider breast implant exchange for a new pair if you have silicone implants that are 10-15 years old, of if you have saline implants that are 6-8 years old. If you have a problem or complication with your breast implants, keep reading for more information about Breast Implant Revision surgery.
View our photo gallery to see before and after images of women like you who chose breast implant revision.
Why are the most common reasons for Breast Implant Revision?
- Implants that are too small. Everyone knows that breast implant that are too large always look a little fake, but most women don’t realize that implants that are too small can also look fake and unnatural! Properly sized breast implants should not only match the dimensions of the breast itself, but they should also match the dimensions of the chest and rib cage. Implants that are too small can appear very flat and too far apart, which can look just as unnatural as a giant pair of implants. Exchanging implants for a larger, more natural, size is a fairly simple procedure with a minimal recovery period (most patient can go back to work within 24-48 hours), but the results can be amazing!
- Implants that are too large. Although it is rare, sometimes women feel that their implants are too large and decide to downsize. If you don’t have much sagging, downsizing your breast implants can be a relatively simple procedure with minimal downtime (most patients can go back to work within 24-48 hours). If some sagging is present, a breast lift may be necessary to maintain an attractive, feminine shape with smaller implants, or with no implants at all. If you are considering having your implants removed altogether, keep in mind that it can be extremely difficult to recreate a natural-looking breast without an implant, and the results with a smaller implant are usually far superior to the results with no implant at all.
- Implants that are too far apart. Breast implants that are too far apart are very common, and this problem is usually due to one of two reasons: 1) the implants are too small, 2) the implants were placed too far apart to begin with. Inexperienced or unqualified surgeons have usually not received adequate training to measure the dimensions of the breast and chest wall, which leads them to select implants that are the wrong size, and place the implants too far apart during the surgery. The is one of the easiest problems to fix, and can make a huge difference in the look of your implants. The surgery usually takes less than an hour, and most patients can go back to work within 24-48 hours.
- Implants that are uneven. A small amount of asymmetry between your breasts is normal and expected, even after breast enhancement surgery, but having a big difference in the size, shape, or location of your breast implants is not something that you have to deal with. The most common reason for revisional surgery for breast asymmetry is that one implant is higher than the other, which is a relatively easy problem to correct as long as the height difference is not due to capsular contracture. If a contracture is present, the revision surgery becomes much more complicated, but still very possible and rewarding.
- Capsular Contracture. Capsular contracture almost always requires revisional surgery to fix. Most cases of capsular contracture occur in women who have saline implants, implants that are over the muscle, implants that were placed through the nipple, or old implants that are ruptured. Breast implant revision surgery for capsular contracture can be a very complicated procedure with a great deal of unpredictability in the healing process and final result. If your breast implants are getting firm or hard, or if she are changing shape, schedule an appointment to see a plastic surgeon as soon as you can. If you have a capsular contracture, the surgery will have a much higher likelihood of success if you intervene early.
When can I go back to work after breast implant revision surgery?
Most patients can return to work within 3-4 days after surgery as long as they have a job where no heavy lifting or strenuous activity is required. If you are having revisional surgery for capsular contracture, your recovery time will vary depending on the complexity of your procedure, so this is something you’ll have to discuss with your surgeon during your consultation..
Is breast revision surgery as painful as my original breast augmentation?
Breast implant revision surgery is not nearly as painful as your original breast augmentation. Most patients will be fine with just a few pain pills after the procedure, and can return to normal daily activities within 24-48 hours. Again, this may be different if you a capsular contracture.
Will I have additional scars after Breast Revision Surgery?
No. In most cases, your surgeon can perform the surgery though the same incision as the original surgery, so you don’t get any new scars. One exception to this is in the case of a breast lift. If you need a breast lift, you will most likely get new scars, but your surgeon should be able to show you plenty of pictures of what these look like before you decide to have the procedure.