What Is a Breast Implant Revision?
Breast augmentation is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the world. It is therefore statistically likely that some women will be unhappy with the results of their breast implant procedures. Statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgery show that in 2016, more than 310,000 women had breast implant surgery, and over 43,000 women had their breast implants removed. This procedure is technically called “explantation”, and is done for several reasons, including:
The Breast Implant has Shifted, is Wrinkling or Sagging
Although it’s rare, breast implants can shift position after surgery. More common, however, is the problem of wrinkling of the implant. This occurs most often in thin women who don’t have lots of natural breast tissue, making it possible to see the edges of an implant near the underarm area or in the inferior (bottom front) aspect of the breast. Replacing the implant with a form stable (AKA ‘gummy bear’) implant can help fix that problem. Alternatively, the implants can be covered with a layer of acellular dermal matrix (AlloDerm) that can provide insulation around the implant.
The Implant Sags
Time and gravity treat us all equally. While your implants might have given you beautiful, perky breasts when they were first inserted, weight loss/gain cycles, aging, pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause the breasts to sag even with an implant. Removing the existing implant and performing a breast lift with your replacement augmentation will give you back the firm, lifted appearance that you love!
The Implant has Ruptured
Of the three breast implant types, saline implants are the most likely to rupture, causing a “flat tire” appearance. Ruptured or torn gel-filled implants (also called “silicone” implants) are less likely to fail and, if they do, you probably won’t know it. If you have any discomfort with your implants, see me in the office for an exam. If I think there’s the possibility of a rupture, we’ll check it out. In any case of rupture, replacement is the option.
All breast implants are placed inside a “pocket” of tissue that’s created during the procedure to house the implant and keep it from rotating or moving around inside the breast. The human body will form a capsule or shell around the implant during the healing process. Occasionally, patients experience a tightening and/or hardening of that shell, and that is referred to as capsular contracture. The only “fix” for this problem is to remove the capsule and the implant, then insert a new implant.
Dissatisfaction with the Size of the Implant
This is actually the most common reason that breast revision patients come to my Southwestern Michigan plastic surgery practice; “to go bigger”. Sure, some see me to exchange large breast implants for smaller ones, but the desire to go bigger wins out.
Although there’s no “real” expiration date for breast implants, many women decide to replace them somewhere between 10 and 20 years. I’ve seen implants in great shape after 25 years but, as mentioned above, sagging happens! In those cases, we replace the implant and perform a breast lift to bring my patient excellent results!
Desire to Remove Implants
It’s rare, but sometimes a woman will come to see me to have her implants removed for no specific reason. Thankfully, it’s rarely due to breast disease. Removing breast implants is a very simple procedure, although sometimes a woman wants to have a lift with the removal if her breasts have stretched out or sagged since insertion of her implants.
I sometimes see women here in my Portage or Grand Rapids plastic surgery office because they’re unhappy with their implant scars. Although this isn’t a breast implant revision, because we aren’t removing or exchanging the implants, it’s included here to let you know that dissatisfaction with the scars can happen. That’s one of the reasons I’m so thorough in advising you about caring for your incisions after your procedure. It can make a big difference in the appearance of your resulting scar!
Am I A Good Candidate for Breast Implant Revision?
If you’re healthy otherwise, and just want an adjustment to your breast implants, you are a good candidate for a revision. When you see me in consultation, we’ll talk about your concerns and I’ll let you know what I think is the best course of action to get the results you want. We’ll talk at length about your desired breast size, contour and shape. In the OR, my staff and I will use the safest and surest technique based on your particular anatomy. At Southwest Michigan Plastic Surgery we are absolutely committed to the education of our patients so that they can make a sound decision regarding a potential breast augmentation procedure.
How Is A Breast Implant Revision Performed?
All of my cosmetic surgery procedures are performed in one of two local accredited ambulatory surgical facilities near my Southwest Michigan plastic surgery office. I always work with board certified anesthesiologists. Many of the operating room staff at these centers have been working closely with me for the past 15 years. These same-day surgery centers offer you the safety of a hospital operating room without the exposure to hospital-based bacteria, plus the benefit of a friendly, caring, and personalized experience.
After I make pre-operative markings on the breasts, you’ll be transferred to the operating suite and given general anesthesia. You’ll be completely “out” for the procedure. I carefully open the previous incisions so that I can remove the implants. If you’ve decided to replace them, that’s the next step which, as discussed above, might include a breast lift. Once the new implants are inserted, I compare the breasts to be sure they are as close to each other as possible, after which I close the incisions. A special bra, which will be worn for several weeks after your procedure, is placed on you before you go to the recovery area. After a couple hours in recovery, you’ll be released to go home in the company of a friend or relative (you can’t drive yourself home because you had general anesthesia).
Recovery From Breast Implant Revision
Most of my Southwest Michigan breast implant revision patients experience some soreness and tightness in the breasts for 1-2 weeks while the skin and tissues adjust to the new breast implant, similar to the sensations experienced during the first breast augmentation procedure. It’s natural for bruising to occur. Ice packs to the breasts are usually adequate to control discomfort, though some women wish to also take pain medication; prescriptions will be provided at your pre-op appointment. Most breast revision patients return to work within a few days. You will see me in my office within a few days of your procedure. During the first six to eight weeks following your breast implant revision, I will instruct you how to care for the incisions to achieve the best final scar. During the first 6-8 weeks after your breast implant revision, you should avoid strenuous exercise and any heavy lifting, such as grocery bags, small children, pets, etc.
Breast implant revision can help you maintain the beautiful results you enjoyed with your initial breast augmentation, or give you the results you were hoping for but didn’t achieve. I’ve helped many women in the southwest Michigan area to feel good about their breast augmentations, and I know that my staff and I can help you, too. At Southwest Michigan Plastic Surgery, we are committed to complete patient satisfaction through our professional and caring approach to each individual patient.