Saline or silicone breast implants typically last for approximately 10-15 years and may require replacement. When this occurs, a breast implant revision procedure is performed.
What benefits can breast implant revision give me?
Breast implant revision can help patients in several ways:
- Replace ruptured or leaking silicone or deflated saline implants
- Reposition implant position
- Change implant size or shape
- Repair deformed or irregular breast appearance due to weight loss/gain, pregnancy, gravity or other changes that affect skin elasticity
- Remove or reduce painful scar tissue — known as capsular contracture — that can build around an implant
What is capsular contracture?
Capsular contracture is the term used to describe scar tissue that forms around breast implants and which may cause the breasts to harden. It may cause the breasts to look or feel different, including causing puckered or dimpled skin, and may cause discomfort around the area of the implant. It may develop years after the initial surgery.
What causes capsular contracture?
It is unknown exactly what causes capsular contracture, but there are certain techniques that can reduce risks of this complication during and after the initial breast augmentation surgery. Those techniques include:
- Placing the implant behind the chest muscle (subpectoral or partially submuscular), as opposed to under the breast tissue.
- No touch technique to minimize contamination of the implant
- Receiving post-operative massage. Massage may reduce the risks of capsular contracture by helping the breasts to soften post-operatively and may help the breast implant settle into the pocket as the muscle relaxes. Massage may also help reduce swelling and make a patient feel better faster post-operatively. Note that you should only receive massage at your surgical site after breast augmentation if your surgeon specifically gives you permission.
What happens during a breast implant revision surgery?
Breast implant revision — including capsular contracture surgery — is typically an outpatient procedure. Patients are given general anesthesia for the procedure and are discharged to the comfort of their own home the same day.
The surgeon typically follows the incision from the previous breast augmentation surgery, which could be under the patient’s arm, around the areola, or in the natural crease under the breast.
In the case of capsular contracture surgery, the scar tissue that has built up in the tissue surrounding the implant is removed. The existing implant is also removed and replaced with a new saline or silicone implant.
What should I expect during recovery?
After surgery, it is normal to experience soreness, swelling and bruising at the operation site. Drainage tubes will be used for a few days, and compression bandages are recommended to reduce the swelling and provide the patient with extra support during recovery. Physical activities must be limited to prevent complications, and any sign of infection must be reported to the physician immediately.
Is breast implant revision right for me?
To determine whether or not breast implant revision is the right procedure for you, schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons. During your visit, your doctor will speak with you about the goals you have for your appearance.
In addition to deciding on your treatment plan, your doctor will also ask you about your medical and breast implant history. Bring a list of medications, supplements and vitamins you take, as well as your breast implant information, and have a list prepared of the questions or concerns you may have, as being open with our specialists is key to a safe and successful surgery.
A consultation is required prior to any plastic surgery procedure. A $75 consultation fee will be charged and applied towards the total cost of surgery if the procedure chosen is cosmetic in nature. However, some types of breast implant revision including implant removal after rupture may be covered by insurance (replacement of implants may not be covered). If your breast implants were placed for breast reconstruction after cancer surgery, the revision may be covered by insurance. The cost of services will be discussed during your consultation, and discounts may be available if more than one procedure is performed at the same time.