Breast Implant Revision Surgery
Unfortunately, women who opt for a breast augmentation may eventually need (or desire) secondary revision surgery later to correct or improve upon their current result. There are multiple potential reasons for this, not the least of which is that the implant itself is a foreign body.
Women with breast implants may not be happy with the results for a number of reasons, such as the current implants' shape, size and/or placement may be problematic or less than optimal. Unwanted late sequelae can also happen, such as a failure of the implant (eg. leaks or ruptures), wrinkling, implant displacement, or capsular contracture.
Although considered safe, breast revision surgery to correct problems with implants may be more complicated, often incurs additional cost and can take longer to recover from than the initial surgery.
Reasons for Breast Augmentation Revision Surgery
After undergoing breast augmentation with implants, women who become pregnant, or lose significant amounts of weight, may no longer be happy with how their breasts look, and decide to undergo revision surgery. Other reasons for breast implant revision surgery include:
Unhappiness with Size of Implants Chosen
Wanting a different implant size is the most common reason that a patient seeks a breast implant exchange. A patient is advised to wait up to 1 year after the initial procedure before undergoing revision surgery; time is needed before swelling subsides and the implants settle, allowing for a true evaluation of the surgical outcome. Exceptions are when there is a pronounced asymmetry between the breasts, or the implant has leaked or ruptured.
During breast implant revision surgery, the incisions made during the initial surgery are often used to remove the implants and replace them with either larger or smaller ones.
Implants are Leaking
Unfortunately, implants can leak because of a defect in the outer shell. Although highly unlikely to be dangerous to anyone's overall health, a leaking implant should be replaced as soon as possible. The incisions made during the initial surgery are often used when replacing the implant.
A leak to a saline implant is immediately noticeable; the implant deflates and the saline is absorbed by the body. When there is a leak in the types of silicone implants used today, because the silicone is designed to hold its shape, leaks are often either discovered inadvertently discovered during routine mammograms, ultrasounds or MRI's; or, because the body starts to "wall it of" (ie. Making more scar and a noticeable capsular contracture).
Unfortunately, capsular contracture is likely the most common complication that leads to eventual breast augmentation revision surgery. Since a breast implant is a foreign body inside your body, the body's natural defense is to wall it off with scar. This is the same process that would happen with any other foreign body (eg. a pacemaker or a piece of glass stuck in your foot). Most times this scar is thin and imperceptible. However, if it progresses and gets thicker, it can distort the breast shape and is sometimes painful as well. Despite all of our efforts, it has been impossible to make the rate of capsular contracture zero. The solution is often more surgery to free up or remove the excess scar. Often times this is combined with the insertion of new implants, known as a breast implant exchange.