Breast Implant Replacement: What to Know

by Trudi Schrieber

Breast Implant Replacement: What to Know

When women undergo breast augmentation, they should know that, eventually, they may need to have their implants replaced. There are many reasons why a woman may need or want to have her implants replaced. The most common motivation is basic aesthetics. As we age, our body changes, and some women choose to alter the size of their implants to fit the changes in their body shape. Some women also simply elect to go larger or smaller based on a change in their personal preferences.

Of course, there are also more medically based reasons for getting breast implant replacement surgery. In rare instances, older silicone or saline implants can begin to leak, and as the breast becomes noticeably smaller, a woman will need to see her doctor about replacing the ruptured implant (it is important to have regular checkups, however, as ruptured implants do not always create visible deflation of the breast). Implants may also start to exhibit a rippled appearance and need replacement. In even rarer, more serious cases, breast implant hardening or encapsulation can sometimes occur, making the implants physically uncomfortable. Other complications, such as infection, are extremely rare but would require immediate replacement or removal of implants if confirmed.

Your doctor can evaluate the state of your breast implants and ensure that your body is accepting them and adjusting appropriately. It is very common for women to have breast implant replacement surgery at least once after the initial augmentation. And, lucky for these women, the replacement surgery is typically far less uncomfortable than the original augmentation surgery, with most patients returning to normal activities within a few days. The length and complexity of your surgery will depend upon your reason for needing/wanting the breast implant replacement. For example, the removal of capsules or scar tissue will typically take longer than a simple replacement. In most cases, sutures are removed 7-10 days after the surgery.

When you elect to have breast implant replacement surgery-- also called “secondary breast augmentation”-- you will be able to decide if you’d like to try a different kind of implant or select something similar to your original implants. It is important to discuss with your doctor the best options for you and your body, as many factors will have likely changed a little since the first surgery (as many women will go ten or more years before needing implant replacement). To find out if it’s time to have your implants replaced, be sure you have selected a board-certified plastic surgeon who will listen to your needs and evaluate your situation—- especially if you were unhappy with your breast implants the first time around. Plastic Surgery Portal can get you started with a personalized consultation today. Our network includes many leading breast augmentation specialists from across the country, so contact us today to get matched with a specialist near you!

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