Common Reasons for Breast Implant Revision Surgery
Written By Joe Gryskiewicz, MD, FACS
Breast implant revision surgery is a surgical procedure performed to modify or correct the outcomes of a previous breast augmentation surgery. While breast implants are designed to be long-lasting, there are instances where women may require breast implant revision surgery. It may involve changing the size, shape, or type of implants, correcting asymmetry, addressing capsular contracture or implant rupture, or addressing changes in personal preferences.
It is crucial to understand that breast implant revision surgery is not necessarily a negative outcome but rather a way to address specific concerns or achieve desired changes after the initial procedure. This blog explores the common reasons for undergoing breast implant revision surgery and provides insights into the process.
Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz, a highly experienced plastic surgeon with over 35 years of expertise in cosmetic breast procedures, is committed to delivering exceptional results to each and every patient.
Common Reasons for Breast Implant Revision Surgery
Here are some of the most common reasons for breast implant revision surgery:
Capsular contracture is one of the common reasons why patients may require breast implant revision surgery. Capsular contracture refers to the formation of scar tissue around the breast implant. After breast augmentation surgery, the body naturally forms a capsule of scar tissue around the implant as part of the healing process. In some cases, this scar tissue can become thick, tight, and constrictive, leading to capsular contracture.
Symptoms of Capsular Contracture
Capsular contracture can cause various symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. These symptoms may include:
- Increased firmness or hardness of the breast;
- The breast feeling tight or uncomfortable;
- Changes in breast shape or appearance;
- Pain or discomfort in the breasts;
- Breast asymmetry.
While the exact causes of capsular contracture are not fully known, different factors have been associated with its development. These factors may include:
- Bacterial contamination from the skin during surgery or implant placement;
- Bleeding around the implant during surgery;
- Implant rupture or leakage;
- Suboptimal implant placement;
- Genetic predisposition to excessive scar tissue formation;
Addressing Capsular Contracture through Revision Surgery
Breast implant revision surgery offers a solution to address capsular contracture effectively. The procedure aims to remove the hardened scar tissue and replace the implant with a new one. The specific surgical approach may vary depending on the severity of the contracture and the desired outcomes.
During the revision surgery, Dr. Joe will carefully remove the scar tissue capsule, ensuring a thorough and precise removal. Once the capsule is excised, a new implant can be placed, restoring a more natural look and feel to the breast.
In some cases, additional techniques may be used to minimize the risk of recurrent capsular contracture. These techniques may include changing the implant placement location, using a different type of implant, or utilizing a textured implant surface.
2. Implant Rupture or Leakage
Implant rupture or leakage is another common reason for breast implant revision surgery. While breast implants are designed to be durable, there is a possibility of rupture or leakage over time.
Possibility of Implant Rupture or Leakage
Breast implants can experience rupture or leakage due to various factors such as trauma, aging, implant material fatigue, or manufacturing defects. Although modern implants are designed with improved durability, they are not entirely immune to these complications. It is difficult to impossible to tell if a silicone implant is ruptured based on clinical exam alone. Dr. Joe will use a specially designed ultrasound machine (not like the ultrasound machine at the hospital) to check the integrity of the shell of your silicone implants if you are worried about a rupture. Of course a deflated saline implant is usually obvious because a saline implant deflates almost completely in a day or two.
Signs and Symptoms of Implant Rupture or Leakage
Individuals should be aware of the signs and symptoms that may indicate implant rupture or leakage. Some common indicators include changes in breast shape, size, or contour, breast pain or tenderness, asymmetry between the breasts, or a feeling of deflation in one or both breasts. In the case of silicone implant rupture, symptoms may be less noticeable as the gel can remain within the implant pocket.
Symmetry issues are also a common reason why individuals may opt for breast implant revision surgery. This procedure can effectively address concerns related to breast asymmetry, providing improved aesthetic outcomes and restoring balance to the breasts.
Potential Causes of Asymmetry after Breast Augmentation
There are various reasons why breast asymmetry may occur after the initial breast augmentation surgery. These causes can include:
- Natural variations: Breasts naturally have slight asymmetry in size, shape, or positioning. Even with the initial augmentation, these asymmetries may become more noticeable or require further adjustment;
- Healing process: The healing process following breast augmentation can vary from one breast to another. Asymmetry may develop during this period due to differences in swelling, tissue response, or scarring;
- Implant placement: Improper implant placement during the initial surgery can contribute to asymmetry. If the implants are positioned differently or unevenly, it can result in visible differences between the breasts.
Surgical Options for Achieving Better Symmetry
Breast implant revision surgery offers various surgical options to achieve better symmetry. These options include:
- Implant exchange: If the asymmetry is primarily due to implant size or shape, Dr. Joe may recommend replacing one or both implants. This allows for better matching of the implant characteristics to achieve symmetry;
- Implant repositioning: In cases where the implant position contributes to the asymmetry, Dr. Joe may adjust the positioning of the existing implants. This can involve repositioning the implants within the breast pocket to achieve a more balanced appearance;
- Combination procedures: Depending on the individual’s unique situation, Dr. Joe may recommend combining implant exchange or repositioning with additional procedures. These can include breast lift, fat grafting, or tissue adjustments to achieve the desired symmetry.
Size change is another common reason why individuals may consider breast implant revision surgery. There are several situations where patients may seek a size change for their breast implants:
- Dissatisfaction with initial size: Some women may feel that their initial implant size does not align with their aesthetic goals or desires. They may desire either a larger or smaller implant size to achieve a more proportionate and desired appearance;
- Change in body shape or weight: Changes in body shape or weight can significantly impact the appearance and balance of the breasts. Women who have experienced weight fluctuations or changes in body composition may seek a size change to restore harmony and balance to their overall figure;
- Lifestyle considerations: Lifestyle factors, such as engaging in physical activities or professional requirements, can influence the desired implant size. Some patients may find that their current implant size hinders their ability to participate in certain activities comfortably, prompting them to seek a size change;
- Evolving preferences: Personal preferences and aesthetic ideals can change over time. Women who have undergone breast augmentation may find that their preferences regarding breast size have evolved, leading them to desire a different implant size to better align with their current preferences.
Surgical Procedures Involved in Achieving the Desired Size Change
Breast implant revision surgery offers options for women seeking a change in breast implant size. The specific surgical procedures involved can include:
- Implant replacement: If a woman desires a larger or smaller implant, Dr. Joe can perform an implant exchange. This involves removing the existing implants and replacing them with implants of the desired size. The surgical approach will vary depending on the patient’s unique anatomy and the specific implant characteristics;
- Breast lift with implant replacement: In cases where women desire not only a size change but also want to address sagging or ptosis of the breasts, a breast lift may be combined with implant exchange. This procedure involves removing excess skin, reshaping the breast tissue, repositioning the nipple-areola complex, and placing new implants to achieve the desired size and improved breast contour.
5. Changes in Breast Tissue
Changes in breast tissue, such as sagging or ptosis, can be a common reason for considering breast implant revision surgery. These changes can impact the results of the initial breast augmentation and may require surgical intervention to restore a desired appearance. Over time, various factors such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations, and the natural aging process can cause changes in breast tissue. The breasts may lose elasticity, resulting in sagging, drooping, or a loss of volume. These changes can affect the appearance and positioning of the breast implants, potentially leading to dissatisfaction with the initial augmentation results.
Surgical Procedures for Correcting Changes in Breast Tissue
- Breast lift (Mastopexy): In cases where the breast tissue has significant sagging or ptosis, a breast lift procedure may be combined with breast implant revision surgery. Dr. Joe will remove excess skin, reposition the nipple-areola complex, and tighten the breast tissue to achieve a more youthful and lifted appearance. This procedure can help improve breast shape, positioning, and symmetry;
- Implant repositioning: In some instances, changes in breast tissue may affect the position of the breast implants. If the implants have shifted or become displaced due to tissue changes, Dr. Joe can reposition them during revision surgery. This procedure involves adjusting the implant pocket and securing the implants in an optimal position to enhance the overall breast shape and contour;
- Implant replacement: In cases where the changes in breast tissue have resulted in a loss of volume or changes in breast shape, Dr. Joe may recommend an implant exchange. This involves removing the existing implants and replacing them with new implants that are better suited to the patient’s current breast tissue condition and desired outcome.
Risks and Complications of Breast Implant Revision Surgery
Breast implant revision surgery carries potential risks and complications. It’s important for women considering this surgery to be aware of these risks and take steps to minimize them, ensuring a successful outcome. Here are some potential risks:
- Infection: There is a risk of infection at the surgical site, which can lead to complications;
- Bleeding: Excessive bleeding during or after surgery is a potential complication;
- Anesthesia-related risks: Anesthesia carries its own set of risks. However, these risks are generally minimal, and you will undergo a thorough evaluation before surgery to ensure your suitability for anesthesia;
- Scarring: Breast implant revision surgery involves incisions, which can result in visible scars;
- Changes in nipple sensation: Alterations in nipple sensation can occur during surgery. Usually, numbness resolves in a few weeks to months, but give it time up to two years until your endpoint is reached.
Factors to Consider Before Undergoing Breast Implant Revision Surgery
Before deciding to undergo breast implant revision surgery, there are important factors to consider.
- Financial implications: Breast implant revision surgery is an elective procedure that is usually not covered by insurance. It’s important to consider the financial implications associated with the surgery, including the cost of the procedure itself, pre-operative consultations, post-operative care, and any potential complications or follow-up procedures.
- Potential impact on future breastfeeding: If you are planning to have children in the future, it’s important to discuss the potential impact of breast implant revision surgery on breastfeeding with your surgeon. While breast implants generally do not interfere with breastfeeding, it’s important to be aware that changes in breast tissue and shape can occur during pregnancy, potentially affecting the results of the surgery.
- Long-term commitment: Breast implant revision surgery requires a long-term commitment to maintaining the results and addressing any potential complications that may arise in the future. Breast implants are not considered lifetime devices, and revision surgeries may be necessary down the line due to issues such as implant rupture, capsular contracture, or changes in personal preferences.
FAQs about Breast Implant Revision Surgery
Is breast implant revision surgery painful?
- Breast implant revision surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so patients do not experience pain during the procedure. However, some discomfort and soreness can be expected during the recovery period.
How long does the recovery period last after breast implant revision surgery?
- The recovery period can vary depending on the specific procedures performed. Generally, it takes several weeks to a few months for the initial swelling and bruising to subside, and for the final results to become apparent.
Will insurance cover the cost of breast implant revision surgery?
- Breast implant revision surgery is considered a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by insurance.
Can breast implant revision surgery fix all complications or aesthetic concerns?
- Breast implant revision surgery can address many complications and aesthetic concerns. The extent of improvement depends on various factors, including the patient’s unique situation, the surgeon’s expertise, and the limitations of the procedure. A thorough consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon will help determine what can be achieved.
How long do breast implants last before revision surgery is needed?
- The lifespan of breast implants varies for each patient. While implants are designed to be long-lasting, they may not last a lifetime. Some women may choose to undergo revision surgery if complications or changes in preferences arise.
Further Reading about Breast Surgery with Dr. Joe
Medical References about Breast Implant Revision Surgery