Breast implant exchange or removal has been performed on women who experience dissatisfaction with the results of previous breast surgery or for those whose implants have reached their expiration. In recent years, however, Dr. Baker has noticed an increase in breast implant exchange amongst younger patients who are interested in downsizing or upgrading their implants. Whatever the reason for this change, breast implant exchange or removal restores and enhances breast appearance and patient comfort after an initial breast augmentation.
Reasons to Undergo Breast Implant Exchange/Removal
- To adjust implant size or material
- To replace aging implants
- To fix complications after previous breast surgery
Breast Implant Exchange or Removal Candidates
Women desire implant exchange or removal for many reasons. Implants are not designed to last forever. They generally have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, after which a new implant is often required. If complications arise before that time, such as implant rupture, capsular contracture, bottoming out, or asymmetry, then implant exchange restores the aesthetic appearance and comfort to the breasts. Other patients choose to undergo implant exchange or removal as an elective procedure. It can be challenging to know the specifics of your implants before your initial surgery. For patients who decide that their original implants are either too small or too large, or for those who desire to change the shape, texture, or material of the implants, implant exchange can increase result satisfaction.
All candidates for implant exchange or removal are physically healthy, non-smokers, and have realistic expectations of their results.
Breast implant exchange or removal is an outpatient procedure that is generally performed under general anesthesia. In some circumstances, Dr. Baker may be able to use the same incisions as the previous augmentation to minimize the extent of scarring. During this procedure, Dr. Baker first removes the implant from the breast pocket. If complications, such as rupture or capsular contracture, were the cause of implant dissatisfaction, the ruptured material or contracting scar tissue will be removed as well. From here, a new implant is inserted into the breast pocket. This implant can be a different material, size, shape, or texture from the previous implant. Incisions are closed, and you are wrapped in a compression garment.
Not all patients who undergo implant removal desire a new implant. For patients who are undergoing implant removal without replacement, the surrounding tissue and skin will be tightened in a breast lift before the incisions are closed.
Following surgery, your chest is wrapped in a compression garment. This garment will reduce swelling, help promote circulation and aid in the recovery process. Bruising, swelling, and minor discomfort are expected after breast implant exchange or removal. Oral pain medication remedies this discomfort in the initial days of your recovery. Most patients return to work and their regular schedules within one week as this procedure is often not as invasive as their original breast augmentation surgery; however, patients should refrain from upper body activity or strenuous exercise routines for four weeks.
The results of your breast implant exchange or removal will become apparent as soon as the bruising and swelling subside. While this generally happens within the first couple of weeks, it can take upwards of three months for all of the residual swelling to disappear. Once healed, you can enjoy restored confidence and satisfaction with the appearance of your breasts.