Do Breast Implants Need to be Replaced?

Some women considering breast implants for the first time or those that already have them are confused as to whether or not it’s necessary to replace their breast implants. In 2011, the FDA published a report which stated that 10 years post breast augmentation, 1 out of 5 women had some sort of breast revision procedure. This means that 20% of women had revision surgery due to a complication such as capsular contracture or rupture, but some may have chosen to replace their implants simply because they wanted to change the size or shape. Another reason data may show a spike in breast implant replacements nearing the 10-year mark is that implants come with a warranty and some of the coverage expires at that timeframe.

So, only if a woman is having an issue with their implants would they need to change them. Otherwise, as long as she is properly monitoring (self-exams, physician exams), it isn’t necessary to automatically replace your implants every 10 years.

Below are some of the common reasons women replace their implants.

Deflation or Rupture

Though this is rare despite whether the implant is filled with saline or silicone, it is one reason for a breast implant to be replaced. This should be done as soon as possible after you notice a rupture since it can negatively affect your health.

Capsular Contracture

This is a type of complication that can develop around the breast. It happens when the body produces scar tissue around the implant as a response to foreign material. When this scar tissue hardens, it can alter the shape of the implant or change its position on the chest. This requires another operation to replace the implants. Capsular contracture can also cause pain.

Rippling

This is a problem experienced by thin patients. It happens when the implant shifts and causes visible ripples on the breast. It most often happens with saline implants.

Synmastia

This cause for breast implant revision happens when the pockets that hold the implants merge in the center of the patient’s chest. This can cause unfavorable appearance in the cleavage, as well as discomfort.

Bottoming Out

The term “bottoming out” is used to describe a condition where the breast implant slips to a lower position on the chest wall below the bottom fold (inframammary crease) of the breasts. Bottoming out can happen when the large implants are used and the breast tissue is weak. It can also happen because of surgeon error by lowering the breast crease too much.

Dissatisfaction

After a time, some women are simply unhappy with their breast implants and want them replaced. The most common reasons are due to size and/or shape.

Breast Implant Revision

A woman is a candidate for breast implant revision if she is experiencing the above-mentioned problems and has realistic expectations. Revision surgery not be taken lightly as they are never as straight-forward as the first surgery. An in-depth consultation with Joseph T Cruise, MD is required and he will likely request a mammogram or other imaging tests to determine the condition of the implants. Most breast implant exchanges are performed under general anesthesia, however, there are some instances where local anesthesia may be offered as an option.

In some cases, an implant exchange alone can be performed. Women experiencing capsular contracture will require a capsulectomy (removal of the capsule) followed by removal of the old implants and placement of the new ones. In cases where the implant has migrated, it may be possible to reposition it and correcting the pocket and/or adding supportive materials so it stays in place. A woman who wants smaller breast implants may also need a breast lift. This is because removing the larger implants leaves excess skin and tissue behind. A woman who has rippling can have them corrected by changing the plane in which they are placed (I.e. from over the muscle to under the muscle) or fat grafting to mask the rippling.

Schedule a Consultation

When a woman is experiencing breast implant complications or she is simply not happy with the look of her breasts after surgery, breast implant revision can be a transformative procedure. It is highly recommended to seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience performing breast implant revision surgery. As stated earlier, revision surgery is never as easy as the primary surgery and for this reason, it is imperative to find a highly skilled doctor. Dr. Joseph Cruise has been specializing in breast implant revision for over 15 years. He is widely known for his complete muscle coverage technique which offers many benefits over the under the muscle and over the muscle method.  Contact us by giving our office a call, or filling out our online form!

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