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Considering a Change? Your Essential Breast Implant Removal Exchange FAQ Guide

Considering a Change? Your Essential Breast Implant Removal Exchange FAQ Guide

If you’re considering a breast implant removal or exchange, crucial questions about the process likely weigh on your mind. How does one decide between removal and exchange? What can be expected during recovery? This essential breast implant removal and exchange FAQ guide gives you straightforward answers to these primary concerns, setting you up to make an informed decision that aligns with your personal health and aesthetic goals.

Key Takeaways

  • Implant exchange or removal is influenced by factors such as aesthetic preference, implant complications, or health concerns, with the decision being very personal and depending on individual circumstances.
  • During both implant exchange and removal surgeries, anesthesia is administered, and the existing incisions are typically used. Recovery times vary, but swelling and bruising are common, with exchange recovery often quicker than removal.
  • Choosing a qualified surgeon is key to successful breast implant revision, and candidates should seek board-certified plastic surgeons with membership in the ASPS, and prepare detailed questions for their consultation.

Exploring Your Options: Breast Implant Exchange vs. Removal

Faced with the dilemma of modifying breast implants, individuals frequently find themselves deciding between replacing or removing them. Given that breast implants have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, this is often when thoughts about altering arise. Reasons such as discomfort or feeling that the size of the implants no longer suits one’s body can prompt reconsideration—weighing whether to opt for smaller-sized implants or complete removal. Navigating through these choices isn’t simple. Understanding why each option might be appealing is essential in discovering which direction to take.

Exploring Your Options: Breast Implant Exchange vs. Removal

Choosing to replace implants can be influenced by various considerations, such as:

  • Changes in aesthetic desires leading to a wish for another size or type of implant
  • The decision to transition from saline implants to silicone implants, or the reverse, motivated by preference for an alternative appearance and feel
  • The need to exchange implants due to issues like leakage or capsular contracture

It’s important to note that when selecting a new implant size, modifications may be required. This involves altering the pockets where the implants are situated so they properly fit the new specifications.

When Removal is the Right Choice

For some individuals, pursuing breast implant removal could be the appropriate course of action. Conditions such as breast implant illness, discomfort related to the implants, or other health issues may lead women to seek relief by opting for the removal of their breast implants. A change in personal taste favoring a more natural appearance might incline someone toward deciding to take out their implants, foregoing an augmented size or shape of their breasts. Deciding whether to replace or extract an implant is deeply personal, and it’s crucial to weigh your specific situation and preferences carefully.

Understanding the Procedures: What to Expect from Surgery

Should you opt for a breast implant exchange or decide to have your implants removed, knowing what the procedure entails is crucial. The surgery begins with anesthesia being administered. Depending on individual requirements, this can be intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.

Utilizing the incisions created during your initial breast augmentation, the surgeon proceeds to extract the old implants and then inserts new ones if you are undergoing an implant exchange. This process usually lasts between one to three hours—an expedient timeframe considering the significant transformation it facilitates.

The Exchange Procedure

Breast implant revision surgery offers a chance to achieve your desired breast appearance. The procedure itself is tailored to your specific needs and goals, discussed in detail during your consultation with the surgeon. This could involve anything from simply replacing the implants to correcting asymmetry or adding volume. Your surgeon will make an incision, often using the same incision as your initial surgery, and then make the necessary modifications to the implants. Following the insertion of new implants, various methods, including stitches, skin glues, medical tapes, or clips, are used by the surgeon to seal these cuts. The procedure typically takes one to three hours and utilizes general anesthesia for your comfort.

After your procedure is complete and you have received your new implants, they may appear somewhat high up and feel unusually hard initially. Over time, they will naturally soften and settle into their permanent position.

The Removal Process

When undergoing breast implant removal surgery, the procedure involves remodeling of both skin and breast tissue to retain an aesthetically pleasing shape in instances where implants are taken out without subsequent replacement with new ones. The surgical process often requires elimination of not only the breast implant but also any thickened scar tissue encasing it, which is particularly crucial if there has been an incident of implant rupture.

Should you have apprehensions regarding potential drooping of the breasts after your implants are removed, a concurrent breast lift can be considered as a strategy to address such issues effectively.

Recovery Realities: Healing After Implant Exchange or Removal

Following a surgical procedure, be it for an exchange or removal, you’ll enter a phase of recuperation. In the initial 24-hour period after your operation, feelings of fatigue and slight discomfort are common. Assistance may be necessary for routine tasks during this time. The first seven days post-operation can include dealing with mild pain and signs of swelling and bruising, which could persist for up to four weeks.

Entering the second week, there should be noticeable relief in terms of pain along with decreases in both swelling and bruising. It’s important to continue steering clear of strenuous activities such as heavy lifting and vigorous exercise at this stage.

Post-Exchange Recovery

Most patients who have a breast implant exchange will experience a faster recovery compared to their initial breast implant surgery since the surgeon uses the previously created pockets for the new implants. It’s important to note that personal factors can influence this timeline. Patients are able to resume work and light activities about one week following an implant exchange procedure, but should refrain from regular physical exertion for at least four weeks after the surgery.

In terms of visual improvements, you’ll begin to notice changes in your breasts as they heal and swelling decreases post-surgery. The desired aesthetic effects become more apparent over time once this initial swelling has receded.

Post-Removal Healing

After the removal, healing may require wearing a specific support bra or compression garment and possibly utilizing tiny drain tubes to siphon off surplus fluid. You might need over-the-counter pain medication for about one to two weeks as you recover, during which time any swelling and bruising should also subside.

Typically, resuming day-to-day activities is possible within three to five days post-procedure. Going back to work could take anywhere from one to two weeks. It’s recommended that exercise be restricted for two to three weeks with incremental steps towards more strenuous exercises spanning an additional week. For the best recovery outcome, it’s advisable that you sleep in a position where your upper body is slightly elevated on your back, refrain from smoking completely, and follow a carefully outlined aftercare regimen post-surgery.

Are You a Good Candidate for Implant Revision?

If you’re contemplating a revision of your breast implants, you may be curious about whether or not you qualify as a suitable candidate. Essential factors for candidacy include being in robust physical condition, having a consistent body weight, and abstaining from tobacco use. Typically, if the current state of your breast implants leaves you dissatisfied with their look or feel, then it’s likely that you’d be considered an ideal candidate for this procedure.

Age can play a role in the decision-making process regarding either removal or adjustment of breast implants. It is common to see many women who are entering their 60s and 70s exploring these options and questioning whether such procedures would be fitting for them.

Making the Decision: Factors to Consider

When deliberating over the options of a breast implant exchange or removal, you should carefully assess multiple aspects. Your visual aspirations are pivotal. This includes recognizing symptoms indicating your current implants may be aging or wanting to correct alterations in the form and look of your breasts as you age. It’s also vital to factor in any health concerns stemming from complications with previous breast implants when making this choice.

Lifestyle transitions or variations in weight can influence both the volume and configuration of the breast tissue, often serving as a catalyst for making such decisions regarding your implants. If larger implants have previously caused an expansion of skin on your breasts, incorporating a simultaneous breast lift with an implant exchange might better align with what you hope to achieve aesthetically.

Selecting a Qualified Plastic Surgeon

Selecting an adept plastic surgeon for your breast implant removal is a critical decision. Ensure the surgeon you choose holds board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), which assures that they have undergone rigorous training and adhere to stringent ethical and professional guidelines. If a plastic surgeon belongs to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), it reflects their dedication to continuous learning in their field.

To assess the quality of work by potential surgeons, ask to see before-and-after images from past patients who underwent an implant removal procedure with them. This will help you gauge what results can be expected for your own surgery. It’s essential to set up a consultation with such a board-certified plastic surgeon so as to ascertain whether you are well-suited for revision surgery on your breast implants.

Preparing for Your Consultation: Questions to Ask

As you prepare for your consultation, come equipped with inquiries to understand better the expertise and proficiency of your surgeon. Query how often they have carried out breast implant removal or exchange procedures. Discovering how the surgeon has handled complications arising from past surgeries can inform you about their adeptness at dealing with unforeseen results.

Make sure that the surgeon who provides the consultation is also going to perform the actual surgery. This promotes continuity of care as well as accountability. Inquire if there’s a regular surgical team that works in conjunction with your chosen surgeon.


Exploring the terrain of breast implant revision requires awareness and careful planning to ensure that the choices made resonate with your individual desires and aesthetic aspirations. If you’re contemplating an exchange or removal of your implant, it’s vital to weigh your personal situation, engage with a skilled plastic surgeon for guidance, and prepare yourself for the postoperative recovery phase. Each step on this path is leading towards the revamped appearance you seek as part of your transformation journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many individuals consider replacing their breast implants, which have a lifespan ranging from 10 to 20 years.

Patients who undergo a breast implant exchange can resume work and engage in light activities approximately seven days post-surgery. They are advised to refrain from regular physical exertions for a minimum of four weeks following the implant exchange procedure.

Women in their 60s and 70s frequently ask whether it is suitable or even possible to revise or remove a breast implant as they age.

To determine personal eligibility for this procedure, one should seek the expertise of a certified surgeon who can evaluate the individual’s circumstances.

Ensure that you choose a plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and affiliated with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), as this signifies they have undergone rigorous training and commit to maintaining lofty ethical and professional practices in their surgery work.

At the time of your consultation for a breast implant revision, it is crucial to inquire about the surgeon’s level of experience, their strategies for dealing with potential complications, whether they will be directly performing the surgery themselves, and if they maintain a regular team for surgical procedures.

Having this information can significantly assist you in making a well-informed choice regarding your procedure.

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