Patients seek to pursue breast implant revision for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is implant age. As the surrounding breast tissue change around the original implants, the previous aesthetic can become undesirable. Patients commonly complain of sagging skin, unshapely areolas, and overall malposition of natural anatomy. Similar changes also typically occur with pregnancy. It is typically recommended to wait until being done having children before considering a breast implant revision. Future pregnancies could negatively affect the aesthetic outcome and require additional surgery.
Another reason implant revision is commonly sought is issues with existing implants. This can present in the form of implant rupture or capsular contracture. There is not necessarily a recommended expiration date for most breast implants. However, if you notice a sudden change in the size, shape, appearance, or feel of your implants – especially accompanied by pain – you should seek a consultation regarding a possible implant revision. Your primary care, OB-GYN, or plastic surgeon may recommend imaging (MRI) to determine the underlying cause and confirm if there is a ruptured implant requiring replacement. Implant rupture is almost never a medical emergency and, rather, should be addressed within several months.
Do implants need to be replaced every 10 years?
It is a common myth that breast implants need to be replaced every 10 years. This is not true. Spontaneous implant failure rate does increase by about 1% per year, after ten years. How long exactly implants will last is unknown and varies from person to person. The expected range is between 10 and 25 years. If your breast aesthetic has changed because of aging, breastfeeding, pregnancy or change in personal desires, then it may be a good idea to perform revisional surgery and use the opportunity to replace the implants. In the absence of any issues, I will advise recommendations for implant exchange, including any urgency and optimal timing. Each of the three FDA-approved implant manufacturers offers some degree of warranty against implant rupture. Providing me with your implant card will allow me to inquire about the warranty on your behalf.
How Soon After a Breast Augmentation Can I Get a Breast Implant Revision?
Depending on the circumstances, there are typically certain time restrictions for having revisional surgery. In the case of breast implant revision without capsular contracture, the time recommended between surgeries is 6 to 12 months. This will allow the body to heal and your surgeon to see the results of the previous procedure before proceeding with any further surgery. In the case of early-onset capsular contracture, intervention may be recommended sooner to avoid further complications such as damage to the surrounding structure or the risk of implant rupture. This would also be the case in the event of traumatic injury with associated deformities or implant rupture.
Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Implant Revision Surgery?
Besides a desire to change the size or shape of the previous breast implants, reasons to seek breast implant revision include:
- Capsular contracture
- Poor placement (too wide, too low, too high, too close together)
- Implant rippling
- Changes in breast tissue due to pregnancy, weight loss, age
- Implant failure (rupture)
- Breast cancer
According to the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons, you are a good candidate for breast implant revision if you have previously had a breast augmentation and are unhappy with the size/shape/feel of the implants, concerned about the integrity or condition of the implants (+10 years or more), and are physically healthy at a stable weight for your height. Ideal candidates for surgery are non-smokers without uncontrolled health conditions. Your plastic surgeon will refer you back to your primary care provider for medical clearance if you decide to have surgery. A series of pre-operative lab work and accompanying health history ensures you are at low risk for complications. If you have a history of certain conditions or surgery, your plastic surgeon may require a secondary clearance from a specialist to proceed with surgery.
Scheduling a Consultation with Dr. Maman
The first step to schedule a consultation would be doing thorough research. There are many ways to find a plastic surgeon. Arguably the best way would be to receive a referral from another physician, such as primary care, dermatologist, or OB-GYN. These providers often see multiple patients with good results and can attest to those by referring their own patients somewhere. Friends are a secondarily good referral source, especially if they are patients themselves. When it comes to advertising, the most essential consideration is the plastic surgeon’s education, board certification ONLY by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and before/after gallery. If those components match your desired outcome, then they would be a good source of information to seek in consultation. You will often come across taglines such as “no downtime surgery” or “no anesthesia required”. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are no shortcuts to SAFE plastic surgery.
The next step would be contacting the office of a board-certified plastic surgeon to find a time to meet them. First impressions last a lifetime, so pay attention when speaking to the receptionist upon calling. Should you decide to have surgery, this is the team you will be dealing with multiple times per month for at least a year. The administrative team is a direct reflection of the surgeon’s ways of working. Another thing to clarify would be a potential timeline for surgery. This is sometimes best done before reaching out to qualified providers because they are booked one to six months out, on average. Knowing well enough in advance will give you adequate time to interview surgeons, get any preoperative lab work done, and feel confident moving forward with your scheduled procedure.