Breast Implant Revision Reality
Over 300,000 women have breast augmentation surgery every year in the US, and practically all of them will need or want an implant revision at some point. This may be fairly common knowledge these days, but there is still a fair amount of confusion and miscommunication about when and why patients have breast revision surgery.
Breast implants don’t expire. Patients often ask if their implants need to be changed out after 10 years. The answer is no, not unless you are unhappy with the way they look or they are giving you problems. I routinely see women who have had implants for 15 or more years without significant issues, but I also see women who develop capsular contracture or implant rupture two or three years after their primary augmentation. If your implants are intact and you like the way they look then enjoy them until that changes.
Breast implants do rupture. Both silicone and saline implants can rupture. If your saline implant ruptures, especially if its a large saline implant, you will know it. Your body will absorb the saline in less than 24 hours and you will notice a marked deflation in your breast. Silicone implant ruptures are typically not so dramatic and are harder to detect. An MRI can often confirm a ruptured silicone implant, but many patients self-diagnose based on feel or appearance changes.
Breast implants have warranties. All major implant manufactures offer implant warranties. For both saline and silicone, manufacturers provide replacement implants in case of rupture. Some manufacturers also cover capsular contracture and revision surgery. I encourage all my breast implant patients to review the manufacturers implant warranty and to keep a copy of their implant card and surgical record.
Breast implants aren’t the only option. If you are unhappy with your current breast augmentation you have options. The most popular are an implant exchange or fat transfer implant exchange. If the patient is open to fat transfer and has enough fat to liposuction, I usually recommend fat transfer. Many implant exchange patients can maintain their implant breast size in a single fat transfer. They have a ready made pocket to receive the fat transfer, and love the looks of their combined liposuction and fat transfer.
If you like the look of implants, go with an implant exchange. Fat transfer provides beautiful, natural feeling breasts and body contouring liposuction, but it’s not going to produce a rounded “implant” looking breast. If your goal is a rounded breast with full projection and lots of upper pole fullness, I recommend implant exchange with silicone implants. There is no right or wrong answer. Implant exchange and fat transfer exchange both produce excellent results.
Breast implant surgery consistently ranks as the number 1 or number 2 surgical procedure in the US every year. Every one of those implant patients will want or need a revision procedure at some point. When it’s time for your revision we’ll help you pick the one that’s right for you.