Breast revision surgery encompasses the surgical correction of a wide-array of conditions which can potentially develop following implant and non-implant related cosmetic surgical procedures. Examples of breast revision surgery include breast augmentation revision, correction of breast implant capsular contracture, double bubble, bottoming out of the breast, symmastia, patient dissatisfaction with breast implant size, and BII also known as breast implant illness.

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Breast Implant Surgery and Implants

When considering a breast augmentation, it is worth noting that breast implants have a lifespan. In fact, most manufacturers offer warranties for implants no longer than 10 years. Therefore, over the course of a patient’s lifetime, it is reasonable to expect that some sort of breast revision surgery will be needed – this may be as simple as requiring implant replacement due to aging implants or other mechanical problems such as implant rupture.

According to FDA statistics, the most common reason for breast revision surgery in the United States, at roughly 37 %, is the patient’s desire to switch to larger implants ! Less commonly, other issues may develop secondary to breast augmentation surgery and other aesthetic breast procedures. These include hard breasts or capsular contractures, breast implant rupture and mal-position, double-bubble deformities, bottoming out and infra-mammary fold disruptions, symmastia, rippling and wrinkling, age-related changes, weight gain followed by weight loss, pregnancy-related issues, and combination issues.

Additionally, I occasionally see the patient with a long-standing history of a breast augmentation who – for various reasons – desires to have her implants permanently removed. In this patient population, the implants are generally removed and require a combination breast lift in order to create a more aesthetically pleasing breast mound.

The Challenges of Breast Revision Surgery

Breast revision surgery is to be distinguished from primary breast enhancement surgery or breast augmentation surgery. Intrinsically, the procedures are technically more difficult surgery to perform and there is often less predictability of outcome in contrast to primary breast surgery – This is primarily due to scar formation and soft-tissue changes ( such as stretching ) which come about as a result of the previous surgery(s)

It is important that the complexity of breast revision surgery be communicated to the patient, and that she closely follow all post-operative recommendations set forth, so that realistic expectations may be maintained ensuring the highest likelihood of a success and satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a candidate for breast implant removal?

There are several reasons for undergoing breast implant removal. If you have developed capsular contracture, have suffered a ruptured or otherwise damaged implant, or have reason to suspect other health consequences, you may wish to consider breast implant removal and/or replacement. Breast implant removal may also be done for aesthetic reasons, such as changing the size of the implant or returning the breasts to a pre-operative state through implant removal and a breast lift.

What is breast implant illness?

Breast implant illness is a collection of signs and symptoms that some women with breast implants have described. Although exceedingly rare, breast implant illness can present with fatigue, problems with sleeping, joint pain, and respiratory problems. The treatment for breast implant illness is removal of the breast implants. Women who choose to have the implants removed may choose to have additional procedures to improve the size and shape of the breasts including breast lifts aka mastopexies with fat transfer.

What is the recovery time for breast implant removal?

Following breast implant removal, patients should allow themselves the same amount of recovery time as with breast augmentation surgery. Rest is vital during this period; strenuous exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided until otherwise indicated by Dr. Vallecillos. Bandages are usually removed during the first week after surgery, but you may be instructed to wear a special supportive bra thereafter. Soreness and swelling may persist for several weeks or months after surgery.

What are the risks and side effects with breast implant removal?

As with all surgeries, risks of breast implant removal include infection and bleeding. Breast implant removal also has a risk of excessive scarring, due to the reopening of original incisions or the creation of additional incisions. Rarely, implants may rupture during removal, which can cause problems later during mammography. Some patients report a loss of sensitivity in the breasts after breast implant removal. All risks and side effects should be discussed with Dr. Vallecillos prior to undergoing surgery.

How long do the results last?

Results from breast implant removal should be considered permanent, though the later development of complications such as capsular contracture, as well as the inevitable changes that occur as a result of aging, may render additional procedures necessary.