What is Breast Implant Replacement?
Whether implants were originally placed for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons, they will most likely need to be replaced at some point during a patient’s lifetime. This can be due to deflation, rupture, malposition or infection. Natural aging of the breast over the implant may also be a reason for breast implant replacement or augmentation. Alternatively, implants can be removed entirely and the native breast tissue reshaped to restore natural contour. Often patients choose to replace older saline implants for the cohesive silicone gel “gummy bear” implants.
- LENGTH: 1.5 to 2.5 hours
- ANESTHESIA: General, Usually Outpatient Surgery
- SIDE EFFECTS: Temporary soreness, swelling, change in nipple sensation, bruising. Breast sensitive to stimulation for a few weeks.
- RISK: Infection. Asymmetry. Tightening & hardening of scar tissue around the implant (“capsular contracture”), or rupture of implant; either may require surgery to release the scar tissue, to remove or replace the implant. Decrease in sensitivity of nipples or breast skin, occasionally permanent. Accurate mammogram requires special technique.
- RECOVERY: Tasks of daily living may be resumed immediately. Back to non-strenuous work (no lifting greater than 10 lbs) in 5 to 7 days. No strong pushing, pulling or repetitive upper body movements for 3 weeks.
- EXERCISE: Resume low impact activities at 2 – 3 weeks (1/3 duration of exercise, repetitions, amount of weight and pulse rate). Moderate impact activity @ 4 – 6 weeks. Full intensity including high impact (running, horse back riding, high impact aerobics) @ 8 weeks.
- FADING & SCAR IMPROVEMENT: 6 to 12 months
- SWELLING: Moderate/Significant 4 weeks, Subtle/Mild 2 to 3 months, all of which are dependent upon extent of procedure(s).
- DURATION of RESULTS: Variable. Implants may require removal or replacement at some time in the future. TIME frame usually years or decades!
- OFFICE VISITS: 1st post op visit 5 – 7 days / 2nd Visit 10 – 14 days / Anticipated # of office visits: 4 -5 the first 3 months then yearly.
- GARMENT WORN: Support as needed for 6 weeks
- PAIN MEDS: Ibuprofen or Narcotics as needed
The goal of breast implant revision surgery is to replace old breast implants with new implants. Often the goal is also to change or improve the appearance of the breasts while updating the implant material, which could include:
- A concurrent breast lift or reduction
- Reshaping the breast implant pocket to reposition the implant on the chest
- Either increasing or decreasing the size, shape or style of the breast implant
The desire to have breast implant revision surgery can be because of any of the following reasons:
- Desire to change the size of the breasts
- Pain from capsular contracture
- Concern about rupture or migration of implant
- Change from saline to silicone or different style of implant
Over time, breast implants can change shape or size, and the overlying breast tissue can also change, creating an appearance or feel to the breast that is less desirable than the original result. While there is no absolute timeline for replacing breast implants, many women will elect to replace or update their breast implants at or around the 10-year time frame.
Breast implant revision surgery is not a standard or routine procedure and needs to be tailored specifically to the patient’s goals and desires. Our board-certified plastic surgeons at Boulder Plastic Surgery are well-trained and experienced in all types of breast surgery. We will listen to your goals and desires and will develop a surgical plan specifically to address all of the issues at the time of surgery.