Breast Implant Revision Surgery

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What is Breast Implant Revision Surgery?

Breast implant revision surgery refers to a procedure performed to replace or remove breast implants from a previous breast augmentation. This surgery is typically undertaken to address issues with the initial implants, such as complications or dissatisfaction with the appearance.

Why Might You Need a Breast Implant Revision?

There are several reasons you could decide to undergo a breast implant surgery revision. Some are cosmetic, but others may be related to pain or discomfort. Reasons for breast implant revisions include:

  • Capsular Contracture: Capsular contracture is when the scar tissue that naturally forms around the implant hardens, tightening and compressing the implant. Sometimes painful, capsular contracture can misshape the implant and make it feel hard.
  • Implant Rupture or Deflation: Saline implants can sometimes leak, and when they do they often deflate and flatten. Although rare, silicone implants can rupture and require replacement.
  • Implant Rippling: Visible wrinkles or ripples on the implant surface can occur, which may be felt or seen through the skin. This tends to happen when large implants are placed in small bodies that lack enough tissue to properly cover the implant.
  • Size Modification: Sometimes the patient rethinks their decision as far as implant size. A revision can increase or decrease the size of the implants as desired.
  • Asymmetry Correction: If there is significant asymmetry between the breasts post-augmentation, revision might be needed.
  • Symmastia Correction: Symmastia is a condition in which the breasts touch in the center of the chest, creating what is colloquially referred to as a “uniboob.” (Think unibrow but on your chest.) Breast augmentation revisions can fix this issue.
  • Breast Sagging: Large implants are heavy and may cause the breasts to sag more than expected. Sometimes sagging is due to the fact that age and time don’t stop affecting the breasts after an augmentation.
  • Implant Type Change: Sometimes patients want to change the type of implant they selected, often going from saline to silicone for a more natural feel. Other patients may wish to change from a textured implant to a smooth one or vice versa.
  • Post-Pregnancy Changes: Getting pregnant and breastfeeding after a breast augmentation are both perfectly safe but may result in unfavorable changes to the breasts.
  • Pain Alleviation: Some women may experience pain due to scarring, implant position, or other issues. In this case, implant revisions or removals are performed to alleviate the discomfort.

Are You a Good Candidate for Breast Implant Revision?

To be a good candidate for breast implant revision surgery, you should be or have:

  • In generally good health
  • A non-smoker
  • A BMI of 34 or less
  • At least three months out from your breast augmentation procedure
  • Realistic expectations about the outcome of a revision procedure
  • A clear understanding of the potential surgical risks

Benefits of Breast Implant Revision Surgery

There are numerous benefits to undergoing breast implant revision surgery. The main ones are:

Comfort & Improved Mobility – If your implants are causing you any pain or discomfort, revision surgery can help. Mobility problems are also a common concern and can be alleviated.

Improved Aesthetic – Noticeable implant issues can negatively impact your self-esteem, and revision surgery can help you get it back.

Upgraded Implant Technology – Newer implants sometimes offer better safety profiles, improved aesthetic qualities, or longer lifespans than those available at the time of your original surgery.

How the Procedure Works

Because revision surgery is done to correct a specific problem or address a concern, every surgery is different. Here’s a detailed overview of each stage to help understand what typically happens during a breast implant revision procedure:

  1. The Meeting of the Minds: You and your surgeon or surgical coordinator will have a detailed discussion about the issues with your breast implants and your desired outcome. Your surgical options will be discussed as well as any limitations or special factors that may affect your surgery and expected results.
  2. Preoperative Preparation: Your surgeon will likely send you for blood tests or other lab work before your surgery to verify that surgery is safe for you. An MRI or ultrasound may also be ordered to get a better look at your existing breast implants. Your surgeon may also ask for permission to contact your original surgeon to get information about your initial breast augmentation.
  3. The Surgery: On the big day you will be placed under general anesthesia for maximum comfort during your procedure. To begin, the surgeon will make any necessary incisions, using the same lines as your previous surgeon whenever possible to minimize additional scarring. Your old implants will be removed, and any necessary modifications to the breast pocket made, which may include scar tissue removal or reshaping of the capsule that holds the implant. If applicable, new implants are inserted and your incisions closed.
  4. Postoperative Care: After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area where vital signs are monitored as the anesthesia wears off. Pain relief medications will be administered and instructions for managing pain at home provided. When you have sufficiently recovered from the anesthesia, you will be sent home to begin your recovery. You can expect to be off work for at least a week and have your exercise and activity levels restricted for up to eight weeks.

How We Reduce Potential Complications

We pride ourselves on using advanced surgical techniques to reduce potential complications in breast implant revision surgeries and improve outcomes. We start by utilizing advanced imaging technologies like MRI and 3D ultrasound to give our surgeons the best views of existing breast implants and the surrounding tissue.

Whenever possible, we also take minimally invasive approaches to minimize tissue disruption and speed recovery. Strategic placement of incisions, either by using existing scar tissue or through less visible areas, reduces scarring and potential complications associated with wound healing.

Of course, we also use the newest proven implant technologies, like highly cohesive silicone gel implants, to lower rates of rupture and leakage. We also use textured implants when appropriate to reduce the risk of capsular contracture and excessive scar tissue.

Post-Surgery Scarring Expectations

Your surgical coordinator will discuss the specifics of your case, including the potential for scarring, with you prior to your surgery. Whenever possible, your surgeon will hide your incision in your areolas or cut along your current implant scars to avoid making a new one. Scars can also be hidden in the crease beneath the breasts sometimes. If you opt for a breast lift as part of your revision surgery, you may have a vertical scar that runs from your areola down to the breast crease.

It’s important to remember that scars do fade over time, especially with proper skin and scar care. Plastic surgeons are aware that scarring is a concern and always conceal scars whenever possible. It’s important, however, that you don’t let a fear of scarring prevent you from getting a surgery that could alleviate pain or discomfort that is disrupting your daily life.

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