What is breast implant revision?
Breast implant surgery, also called breast augmentation places breast implants under the breast to enlarge, or improve the shape of the breasts. Most women who have breast implants will eventually have a breast implant revision procedure. This most commonly removes the implants and replaces them with new implants, although it can also be a repositioning of existing implants.
Breast implant revision surgery addresses a number of concerns that can result from the initial surgery including:
- Breast implant malfunction
- Capsular contraction
- Dissatisfaction with the breast size
- Breast displacement, tension bands, silicone leakage or infection.
Breast implant revision usually involves replacing saline or silicone breast implants to correct complications that may have occurred, change the size or alter the type of breast implants.
Who is breast implant revision for?
Because changes to your breasts and the breast implants will occur over time, you may need to consider breast implant revision surgery. Women who seek out breast implant revision may have experienced:
- Breast implant rupture,
- Capsular contracture,
- Breast implant rippling,
- Asymmetrical results, or
- Breast sagging due to pregnancy, weight fluctuation or pregnancy.
It is important to note that before you can be considered for breast revision surgery, your overall health must be good. If you have a heart or lung condition, are a smoker or have a neurological disorder, you may not be a good candidate. Your Cosmetic Surgeon will discuss this with you at your consultation.
How is breast implant revision surgery performed?
Breast implant revision surgery typically takes between 1 to 3 hours and are performed under general anaesthesia. Once the surgery is complete, you will be taken to a recovery area for a brief period of observation. If there have been no complications, most patients usually go home on the day of their surgery.
Like your initial breast implant surgery your Cosmetic Surgeon will show a number of sizes and styles of breast implants to choose from. You will need to choose the style and contour of your breast implant, from rounded or shaped to textured or smooth.
Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water. If they leak, the breast implant deflates and your body will naturally absorb and remove the saline. Single lumen saline breast implants are the traditional style. Double lumen saline breast implants have inner shells that make the implant feel more like silicone.
Silicone breast implants are filled with an elastic gel prior to the breast implant surgery. In the event of an implant leak, it is vital to note that the body does not absorb the silicone. To monitor the status of your implants, it is wise to have regular check-ups and MRI’s every few years.
Cohesive gel breast implants use a silicone gel that is thicker than traditional silicone filling. Sometimes known as “gummy-bear” or “form-stable” implants, these types of implants can maintain their shape better than others.
The type of breast implant revision procedure you have will depend on the type of issue that your Cosmetic Surgeon is addressing. In most cases, they will use the same incisions as your original breast implant procedure. If they are repositioning the implants or changing their size, they will be able to use the space inside your breast to accommodate the new implant.
If you have capsular contracture, the Cosmetic Surgeon will remove the hardened capsules before they insert the new breast implants. You will need to have additional incisions if the nipple position needs to be adjusted. The type of incision will depend on the amount of lift you require. If you need to have sagging breast skin removed, the Cosmetic Surgeon may also need to make a horizontal incision along the breast crease.
Key facts about breast implant revision
- Breast implant revision can involve anything from a simple replacement (if there is an implant problem) to a difficult and complex plastic surgery procedure.
- Breast implant revision is common, and there are many reasons why it is considered. They are not guaranteed to last a lifetime. Future surgeries may be required to replace one or both implants through a revision procedure.
- The longevity of your breast implants will be affected by life events including weight change, pregnancy and menopause.
- It is important to note that not all breast implants are the same. Some have better reputations for durability and long-term effectiveness than others do. Depending on the manufacturer’s specifications, some implants can last for 10-15 years.
What are the risks and complications of breast implant revision surgery?
These are rare and often only temporary, however, they may include:
- Allergic reaction to anaesthetic
- Altered breast sensation
- Capsular contracture
- Displacement of implants
- Excessive Bleeding
- May need more breast implant procedures performed
- Rupture and/or rippling of the breast implants
What is recovery like after breast implant revision surgery?
Recovery from breast implant revision surgery will vary from person to person. Many patients however report that their recovery is faster and less uncomfortable than the initial breast implant surgery. This may be because the sub-muscular pocket has already been stretched.
For the first 24 to 72 hours after your surgery, you will feel sore and be unable to lift your arms over your head or carry anything over 5kg. To encourage blood flow and reduce swelling, Cosmetic Surgeons recommend that you undertake light activities including walking.
Your Cosmetic Surgeon will give you instructions and information about your surgery including:
- Taking care of your drains,
- Time required off work and daily activities,
- Taking pain medication,
- Wearing compression garments, and
- Avoiding certain activities.
How to choose the best Australian Cosmetic Surgeon to perform breast implant revision surgery
With any cosmetic surgery procedure, the most important factor in choosing a Cosmetic Surgeon is experience. If the Cosmetic Surgeon who performed your initial breast implant surgery is experienced, trained and certified it may be a good idea to return to them for your breast implant revision surgery.
Before you consult your Cosmetic Surgeon it is helpful to have answers to questions including:
- Are the expectations you have realistic in terms of how you looked before your breast augmentation surgery?
- Do your current breast implants cause you pain?
- Have the breast implants hardened?
- Are you happy with the look of your breast implants?
- Do you have breast rippling or movement?
- Have you lost your cleavage?
- Are your breast implants moving?
- If you have breast implant revision surgery, and it does not deliver the results you desire, are you prepared?
If you’re not comfortable about consulting with your original Cosmetic Surgeon, it is a good idea to see at least 3 new Cosmetic Surgeons for a consultation. During the initial consultation, the Cosmetic Surgeon will ask questions about your current breast implants and examine your breasts.
You can find the best Australian Cosmetic Doctors specialising in breast revision implant surgery here.
Important to know
So you can make an informed decision, your elected surgeon will discuss the possible risks associated with breast implant revision surgery. Although the majority of patients do not experience these complications, it's important to understand how they can be managed in the event that they occur.