A breast implant is not a timeless device. They age just like the rest of us. This means that unless you received your breast implants later in life, chances are that they will need to be replaced at some point. This could be 10 years after your original augmentation, 20 years or even longer. Assuming that you choose to keep the same size implants and your breast tissue remains healthy and elastic, this can be a simple breast implant exchange. However, there are a number of other reasons why a patient may come in to see me to discuss breast revision surgery.
Reasons for Breast Revision Surgery
Breast revision surgery is a complex topic because there are so many reasons for patients to consider revision surgery other than changing out an implant that is deflated. These include:
- Implant size change
- Weight gain
- Implant malposition
- Capsular contracture
- Bottoming out
Many patients underwent their original breast augmentation in their 20’s. By their 40’s, they have grown up, and their aesthetic taste may have changed. A lot of patients choose to go smaller later in life, but whether you want to go smaller or larger, this is one of the most common reasons for revision surgery. An addendum to this issue is weight gain. With age, you may have put on a few pounds, and find that you no longer need your implants. In this case, we simply remove them. You may require a breast lift to improve your breast shape, but this is something that we will discuss in detail during your initial consultation.
Capsular Contracture & Implant Malposition
Capsular contracture can develop in any breast augmentation patient. This is when the capsule around your breast implant hardens. Not only is it painful, but this hard scar tissue can squeeze the implant, adversely affecting the shape of your breast. While there are specific surgical techniques that I use to prevent capsule contracture, if it occurs, you will need breast revision surgery to remove the capsule.
Another common reason for a breast revision is implant malposition. This is when your breast implants no longer rest in the right spot on your chest wall. In some cases, the implants were not placed correctly during your initial augmentation. In other cases, this can result from age. The skin and tissues on your breast loose elasticity and stretch past their ability to hold the implant in its original position. This is especially true if your original implant was too large for your anatomy.
Why In-Person Breast Revision Consultation So Important
Probably the most common reason for a patient to come talk with me about breast revision surgery is bottoming out. There are two causes for this. One is that the implant sits too low on your breast footprint, meaning that it has descended below the inframammary fold or crease beneath your breast. The other is that the crease is in the right place, but your breast itself has stretched so that there is too much distance between the nipple and the crease. It is really important to be assessed in-person by an experienced breast revision surgeon in order to determine the actual root cause of your bottoming out, and design the right treatment plan for your unique anatomy.
Extensive Breast Revision Experience a Must
As discussed, it is really important that whomever you see have a lot of experience in breast revision surgery specifically. Thankfully, we have many effective new technologies, such as soft tissue support or mesh, that can help deliver exemplary breast revision results by keeping your new implants in place. But only if you see a surgeon with the training and expertise to know how to use these techniques. You want someone who understands the nuances of capsular contracture, is adept with using bio materials and correcting implant position, who has a proven track record with breast lift surgery, and who excels at selecting the right breast implant for a patient’s individual anatomy and needs. Otherwise, the results of your surgery will not be long-lasting, and you will find yourself looking at another revision down the road. And this is something that no one wants.