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Home/Surgical Procedures/Breast Surgery/Breast Implant Exchange

We perform breast implant exchange, sometimes referred to as breast augmentation revision, at our plastic surgery office located in Sacramento. While breast implant revision surgery may be required for leaking breast implants or capsular contracture (hardening of the breast implant), it is more commonly done to change cup size.

Choosing the right size breast implant size and shape can be difficult, especially when considering how life circumstances and clothing styles change over time. For some individuals the first choice of implant is too small, while for others the augmentation creates breasts that become too large over time. Breast implant exchange is something to consider in either situation. In general candidates for revisional surgery must be healthy and have realistic expectations.

Candidates for Breast Implant Revision Surgery

Breast implant exchange can help you achieve the look you desire – whether it be a smaller, leaner, or a more voluptuous figure. In some cases, your breasts will grow as the skin loosens and stretches, while in other situations they shrink as the breast itself becomes stretched and thinned over the implant and involution occurs. This can create an imbalance in your bodies’ aesthetic harmony, especially with weight loss or following pregnancy. At Chrysalis Cosmetics, we will help you make a great decision in regards to choosing a new size and style of implant.

We can even utilize a three-dimensional imaging software system (Axis Three) that allows you to get an idea of what each implant size will look like on your specific body. Breast augmentation and implant exchange procedures are very common, with the vast majority of women being very happy with their decisions!

Breast implant exchange is not recommended for:

Dr. Charles Perry will conduct a thorough evaluation and talk with you about any potential concerns to determine the next steps.

The Procedure

The breast implant exchange procedure is often done using the previous incision and is usually performed in less than an hour. The old implant is exchanged for the new implant. Occasionally, a small lift or internal tightening is required in order to tighten or lift the breast to avoid sagging when going with a different size of breast implant. In some circumstances a drain will be placed for a few days.

Other reasons for breast implant revision surgery include capsular contracture or hardening of the breast implant capsule. The capsule can be removed and the implant exchanged at the same time, or the process can be staged in some situations. Certainly you have many choices and options to discuss with Dr. Perry. It is important to make informed decisions when considering breast implant exchange, especially when considering going to a smaller size. This requires more technical skill and presents more challenges than going to a larger breast implant.

Other options to consider are a staged procedure with removal of the current implant in lieu of exchange. This can then be followed by breast augmentation after a small convalescence, allowing your tissues to relax and perhaps allowing you more time to consider which size to choose.

“I can’t tell you often enough how much your support and encouragement throughout my cosmetic surgery process still means to me. Without it, I don’t know that I would have had the courage to complete the endeavor. I can honestly say that this is probably the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. My confidence and composure have never been better, and all of you were a huge part of this transformation.”

Anonymous Patient

Things to Consider Before Undergoing Revision Breast Augmentation Revision or Breast Implant Exchange Surgery

Before having these procedures, women should consider the following:

Symmetry

If the breasts are asymmetrical in shape or size before breast augmentation revision surgery, it is not likely that the procedure will completely correct that concern.

Long-Term Commitment

Another revision breast augmentation will likely be necessary at some point in the future. This is due to the fact that breast implants, whether they are saline or silicone, are not lifetime devices. An additional revision breast augmentation to remove or exchange the implants will almost certainly be necessary later in life. A breast lift may also be desired to address loose, sagging breast skin that is a common part of the natural aging process.

Breast Augmentation Revision Often Causes Permanent Anatomical Changes

Permanent anatomical changes resulting from surgery may be produced in the breasts. If the breast implants are removed, these aesthetic changes may become unacceptable.

Financial Responsibilities

In most cases, breast augmentation revision is not covered under health insurance policies. The price of this procedure includes costs associated with the surgeon’s fee, surgical supplies, laboratory tests, use of the surgical facility, anesthesia, medications, and other possible expenses. Additional costs may be necessary if complications arise.

Risks

Risks Related to Breast Implants

Implant Failure

Although many of today’s breast implants are designed and built to be extremely durable, they are not completely resistant to ruptures and leaks. Saline breast implants are advantageous in that, if the implants leak, the saline solution can be safely absorbed by the body. However, just like a silicone implant that has ruptured, a saline implant that has broken will need to be removed or replaced. Additionally, breast implants are susceptible to “wearing out” over time.

Capsular Contracture

Capsular contracture is characterized by excessive scar tissue that has formed and possibly tightened around the implant, which can lead to a firm, even painful feeling in the breasts.

Implant Extrusion / Tissue Necrosis

Inadequate tissue coverage of the breast or an infection may produce implant extrusion. This can lead to the implant becoming visible as it pushes through the skin layers.

Skin Rippling

Some degree of skin rippling/wrinkling is normal after a breast augmentation revision surgery; however, in some cases, it may be wrinkled in a palpable and visible way. This can be more aesthetically prominent in individuals who have very thin breast tissue and/or have had textured breast implants placed.

Change in Breast Sensation

It is not uncommon to feel some degree of change in the sensation of the nipples following a breast augmentation revision procedure. In most cases, patients start to experience normal sensation within a few months; however, it is possible that a loss of sensation in the nipples and/or skin may be permanent, which can have an affect on sexual response and the ability to breastfeed.

Implant Displacement

The breast implant may rotate away or shift position from where it is initially placed. This effect can create discomfort or result in a distorted breast shape. If this occurs, another surgery may be required to resolve the problem.

Risks Related to Surgery in General

Bleeding During Or After Surgery

Emergency treatment for post-operative bleeding may be necessary in order to drain the blood. It is advisable for patients to refrain from taking anti-inflammatory medications or aspirin 10 days prior to surgery as a prevention measure for excessive bleeding postoperatively. Dietary supplements and nonprescription herbs should also be avoided.

Seroma

A seroma is an accumulation of fluid that can occur around the implant. The condition may contribute to capsular contracture, infection, and other complications. In the event that a seroma develops, additional treatment to drain the fluid may be necessary.

Infection

Infection is rare, but it is a possibility. If an infection develops, it may need to be treated with antibiotics, implant removal, and/or an additional surgery.

Scarring

Although it is not common, it is also not impossible that abnormal or unattractive scars will develop. This may necessitate an additional corrective surgery.

Thrombosed Veins

Thrombosed veins often look like cords. They may form in the breast area; however, they typically resolve on their own without additional intervention.

Pain

Some degree of pain and discomfort can be expected as the breasts heal following breast augmentation revision surgery. With that in mind, pain may persist in some cases. Sensory nerve entrapment, capsular contracture, or tissue injury can produce pain of varying length and intensity.

Unsatisfactory Result

Dissatisfaction with the outcome of the breast augmentation revision procedure can be caused by a number of factors, including unexpected breast size or shape, asymmetry, unsatisfactory location of the scar, and the location of the nipples. To improve the results or ultimately remove the breast implants, an additional surgery may be necessary.

The risks of breast implant exchange are similar to risks associated with breast augmentation and breast lift surgeries. However they are often greater in frequency and more severe as this is a secondary operation and the blood and nerve supply to the nipple has been altered, creating a greater possibility for tissue loss, implant extrusion, injury to surrounding tissues, loss of sensation, rippling, infection, pain, bleeding, asymmetry, contracture, malposition, and re-operations.

It is important to remember that Dr. Perry is extensively trained and experienced in breast augmentation revision procedures and works diligently to minimize risks. He will be happy to explain all of the risks and benefits of this treatment and address all of your questions and concerns.

Please contact Chrysalis Cosmetics today to learn more about breast implant revision surgery, or to schedule a consultation.

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