Breast augmentation features one of the highest satisfaction rates of any cosmetic procedure, but problems can arise, such as the formation of excessive scar tissue around the implant (capsular contracture), wrinkling, rupture, or asymmetry. Or sometimes patients simply decide they’d like their implants to be a different size.
Revision surgery, implant exchange, or breast revision. Whatever you call it, Dr. Albert helps many patients with these procedures to correct problems.
Only through meaningful, honest collaboration can we obtain as optimal result. If it is a patient that is dissatisfied with her breasts augmentation, it is usually related to implants being asymmetric, implants too big or too small, poor scarring, and/or the implants are too low or too far to the side. If it is a patient that is dissatisfied after a breast lift and augmentation, then they may have the above problems, as well as very bad scarring and very bad implant positioning, including capsular contracture. Remember, the only way to optimal results is through an open discussion and collaboration. Often times these patients come to me after a very emotional parting with their previous plastic surgeon.
Breast revision surgery is designed to treat a number of common issues that can affect women following their breast augmentation:
- Capsular contracture
- Rippling or wrinkling
- Rupture or leakage of implant
- Undesired look/shape
- Enlarged areolas
- Implant shifting and sizing
Breast revision surgery is specialty procedure and needs to be specifically tailored to the patient’s aesthetic goals and desires. This surgery should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon who is well-trained and experienced in all types of breast surgery.
Removal of Breast Implants
Dr. Albert has heard from patients about advertisements, and has heard other plastic surgeon radio advertisements asking women to have their implants take out. There has been an increase in calls to our office as a result and these women are very distraught and confused. They are right to be confused. It is not right a few plastic surgeons are putting this idea in woman’s mind that removing implants will cure a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, joint painand muscle aches. As a plastic surgeon, we should always listen, be empathetic and compassionate for our patients, and we should certainly not recommend or scare our patients into a procedure. Recommending a non scientific intervention for financial reward is beyond unethical and is uncalled for.
Yet, there are reasons that implants should be removed. Besides the cosmetic reasons or some women deciding they don’t want their implants anymore, there is a condition called BIA-ALCL that is related to textured implants. A possible sign for development of ALCL is fluid collecting around the implant. The suggestion from implant companys is examination by a board certified plastic surgeon and a full work up. If there is not persistent fluid or pain, then the patient may elect to not have them removed. In Dr. Albert’s practice, most of my patients would rather remove the possibility of ALCL developing and they have their implants exchanged. In summary, we all make an informed decision after all of the scenarios have been adequately and fully reviewed.
Breast revision is a surgical procedure designed to correct unsatisfactory results or problems from previous augmentation surgery. In revision surgery with Dr. Albert, the goal is to correct a problem such as capsular contracture or rippling. Also, revision surgery is the term for replacing leaking or ruptured implants. There are a variety of reasons a woman would choose to have revision surgery.
Generally, revision procedures are more complex. These complex breast procedures require a plastic surgeon’s knowledge, expertise, and board-certification.
Types of Revisions
Obviously, the goal for patients who have capsular contracture or implant rupture are to remove the old implants and replace them. In cases of wrinkling of the implant that shows on the breast surface (which usually only happens with saline implants), Dr. Albert will change the breast pocket, possibly even moving the implants behind the chest muscle if they were atop the pectoral muscle before.
For some of these procedures, there isn’t anything wrong with the patient’s implants, but there are reasons for wanting to switch them out. Here are some of those reasons:
- Change the size — Many women have augmentation, but once the implants have fully settled into the breast pocket, they realize they would have liked to have chosen larger implants. Some women, of course, opt to go smaller.
- Pre-baby breasts — If a woman had augmentation prior to having a child, the breast tissue likely has sagged and she’s not happy with the changes to her implants. Larger implants can add volume and change things. A patient may opt to have their breasts lifted at the same time.
- Change the feel — There are various factors that impact how a woman’s breasts feel with implants: silicone versus saline, volume of the implants, projection, capsular contraction and whether the implants were placed under the pectoral muscle or above it.
- Change the implant type — Changing the projection, shape, saline versus silicone, or even the manufacturer can all be reasons for an exchange.
- Changes in your breasts — Older implants may not look the same now that your breasts have descended and implant technology has changed over time. Different implant types can address the changes you don’t like.
If you’re unhappy with your implants, or if you have a problem with them, you’re a candidate for these revision/exchange procedures with Dr. Albert.
Dr. Albert often can use your original incisions for implant removal and replacement. If you opt for larger implants, he enlarges the breast pocket holding the implant. If there has been capsular contracture, he will remove the hardened capsule (scar tissue) along with the implant before placing the new implants. Where there has been rippling, changing the implant type may solve the problem, or placing the implants in a different breast pocket with more muscle coverage may be needed.
This may involve the implant placement from moving above the pectoral muscle to beneath the muscle, this is a somewhat more involved procedure.
These recoveries are usually easier than those with your initial augmentation procedure. Most women can return to work in just two or three days after revision surgery. If Dr. Albert performs a breast lift along with your implant exchange (usually a necessity if you have breast sagging (ptosis)), your recovery will be in line with that of a breast lift.
The goal of any revision procedure is to correct the problems, such as asymmetry, or to make the exchange of the implants.
How Long Should I Wait Before Having Implant Revision Surgery?
Dr. Albert advises patients looking to have him perform a revision procedure to wait one full year before opting to make a change. This allows any swelling to fully subside and for the implants to settle.
Restore Your Confidence
It can be difficult to feel confident in your appearance when a complication or other issues arises after a breast augmentation procedure. Complications can cause your breasts to lose their attractive aesthetics causing some women to feel more self-conscious than they did before surgery. Breast revision surgery can restore your confidence and overall improve your breast appearance.