Many people consider breast implants as one-time procedures, but it is important to understand that another surgery should always be accounted for down the track. Implants often have a lifespan of roughly 10-15 years and should be replaced roughly every decade or so.
This will help to avoid some of the following complications that can lead to a revision such as:
- Capsular contracture (the formation of firm scar tissue around the implant)
- Leakage or rupture
- Breast Implant-Associated Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) a very rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma found around some types of implants
- Implant malposition with bottoming out and implants moving sideways
- Double bubble appearance
- Waterfall deformity due to aging of breast and implant
- Rippling due to implant visibility
- Animation of implant (i.e. ability to move the implant under the pectoral is muscle)
- Breast changes around the implant requiring readjustment and resizing
Breast implant removal or replacement is straight forward, recovery is easier and the cost is lower if the above mentioned complications don’t need to be corrected.
Almost every woman with breast implants will need to have them replaced at some point due to a variety of reasons mentioned above. As an expert in breast augmentation and breast revision procedures, Dr Yunaev explains a couple of primary scenarios that lead to breast implant replacement.
Capsular Contracture is the most common issue with all breast implants. This occurs due to a tightening of the scar tissue that forms around the implant. The scar tissue (capsule) and the tightening (contracture) creates a ‘hardening’ of the breast, which causes discomfort and changes the shape and appearance of the breast.
Dealing with A Ruptured Implant
While implant rupture is rare, especially when considering the technologies used for newer implants, this is the most pressing reason why a patient will need a breast implant revision.
This is made most evident by a “deflation” of your breast if the implants are saline, while silicone implants may have no signs for some time until your body starts to respond to the leak. A rupture is not harmful to your health in most cases, but it will affect the aesthetics of the breast shape. If left untreated, most ruptured silicone implants will form a capsular contracture, leading to increased pain and deformity of the breast, as well as leading to the possibility of silicone spreading beyond the breast and into lymph nodes and potentially causing granulomas, which are hard lumps of silicone surrounded by scar tissue, which can be painful or worrisome and may need removal surgically. Therefore, it is important to adhere to your surgeon’s advice about implant monitoring and replacement to avoid some of these complications.
Updating Older Implants
While most current breast implants have a lifetime warranty, it is best to consider them as temporary products. The longer you have a set of breast implants, the higher the risk of rupture or some other complication. It is often recommended that you replace your breast implants around the 10 to 15-year mark, especially if they are showing signs of issues.
If you reach the 15-year point post-op and are not experiencing any complications, it would still be best to undergo an assessment for possible replacement.
Some of the older implants around today have a higher risk profile for the rare Breast Implant associated Lymphoma, so it’s a good idea to have a check up to make sure all is okay.
Aesthetic Revision Surgery
As you age, your breasts will naturally change their shape and position which can lead to many women no longer being happy with their appearance. Other lifestyle factors can also have an effect on the look of the breasts, including childbirth, breastfeeding or weight fluctuations.
Breasts can sag over time, in which case a breast lift may be necessary. If you are undergoing a breast lift to rectify sagging breasts, this may be a good opportunity to also replace or even remove your implants.
Accounting for This When Considering Surgery
If you are considering a breast augmentation, it is important to keep all of this in mind. This is a long-lasting procedure, but it is vital that your account for the fact that they are not necessarily permanent. I discuss all of this with patients during their consultation so they can account for the approximate longevity of the implant type and a revision surgery in the future.
The breast augmentation via fat transfer is another option for those who wish to improve the look of their breasts while avoiding the secondary revision surgery as well, but is not possible in everyone. We can discuss all of this during your consultation to decide which path may be better suited to you.
Are You Interested in Learning More?
For more information about breast augmentations, revisions and implant options contact the team at Breast & Body Clinic for a consultation today. Dr Yunaev is well-experienced in all aspects of these surgeries with expertise in breast and many other cosmetic procedures. Let’s discover which option will be the right fit for you and your aesthetic goals.