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Breast Implant Replacement
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix, Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler and Tempe, Arizona
For women that have already had breast implant surgery, we know that eventually almost all of them will need to undergo at least one or more operations for routine implant replacement. As with most medical devices from artificial knees to heart valves, most breast implants simply do not last forever and can require further surgery. Scottsdale breast surgeon, Dr. Corey sees many women who may be in want or need of subsequent surgery for a variety of reasons. There are some plastic surgeons that will not see women that have already had breast implants placed, as the corrective surgery can be very challenging. Dr. Corey does not feel this way. While true that these cases may be more challenging, Dr. Corey thinks that it adds to his being able to offer his patients all aspects of Breast Implant surgery. At times, the term “Cosmetic-Reconstructive” is appropriate.
What are the reasons for Breast Implant Revision?
Breast Implant Leak/Rupture As alluded to above, breast implant deflation is a common reason why women may need more surgery. The devices, whether saline or silicone, may develop a small hole over time. This is most likely to occur between 10-12 years after placement. With saline implants it usually is readily apparent when they leak. As the saline is absorbed by the body the breast becomes softer and smaller. However, when a crack or hole develops in a silicone gel implant, this may not be noticed as quickly. The older implants of the 1980’s which were not the cohesive gel type, had silicone that was more like a syrup, and when broken leaked out of the implant like an egg yolk. In most cases this was self-contained in the capsule of scar tissue that surrounds all implants, and usually detectable by routine mammogram. Some women could tell a subtle change in their shape while others noticed nothing at all. However, with the new Cohesive Gel Implants or “gummy bear type”, the silicone gel is more like a gelatin than a syrup, and when they develop a defect, also at around years 10-12, it may be much harder for the patient to recognize breast implant leak, even with MRI of the breasts.
Change in Breast Implant Size/ Switching Implant Type Besides breast implant deflation, there are other reasons for revision or breast implant correction. Some women just wish to be bigger or smaller and would like an implant exchange. Dr. Corey sees many women in who feel that their original size is no longer proportionate with their body and they simply desire an implant change. Others wish to switch the type of implant, such as going from Saline to Silicone or vice versa.
Change in Breast Implant Appearance Other women may not like the appearance of their implants. They may feel their breast implants never looked “right” and might be too high or low or give their breasts a distorted shape. This may have occurred over time as well. Others feel that their breasts may appear too "fake" and not “natural”. Some may be experiencing unacceptable implant rippling or implant wrinkling.
Hardening of the Breasts/Hard Capsules/Capsular Contracture Breast hardening or capsular contracture is another reason why women may seek breast implant correction or revision. Even though the majority of women with breast implants remain acceptably soft, some do experience more breast firmness, some to the point that even hugging others can be uncomfortable. Some may even have visible distortion or discomfort and are looking for correction.
Symastia, Uni-breast, or Bread-loafing
This describes when breast implants are too close together and have a “bread loaf” appearance on the front of the chest. There is fullness between the breasts and loss of cleavage becomes apparent.
Implants older than 15 years or Mammogram issues concerning your breast implants
If you have implants older than 15 years, it may be a good time to come in for a breast augmentation consultation to Dr. Corey’s Scottsdale office for a breast implant revision or replacement consultation. Sometimes no treatment is needed but it is a good time to at least have the conversation. Also, you may have just had a mammogram and they have indicated to you that there may be a leak, deflation or suspicion of one or both of your breast implants. This too may indicate that it is time for you to replace or revise your breast implants, or at least come in for a discussion of options.
What happens during the initial consultation?
At your first visit to his Scottsdale practice, Dr. Corey will meet with you and take as accurate a history as you are able to provide regarding your previous breast surgeries. If possible, it is very helpful to bring with you as much information as you can to your visit. Dates of surgery, implant size and fill volumes, type of implants (manufacturer, round or tear drop, textured or smooth, saline or gel), possible warranty information, and the implant position (above or below the muscle). These are all very important pieces of information. During the visit, Dr. Corey will review your history along with your expectations and a plan will be formulated. It is critical at this point that the correct diagnosis is made since it is difficult to treat the underlying problem successfully without first understanding what is causing the problem in the first place. Is the implant too big, is the space to small, is the implant too full or is the capsule too hard? These are all things to be addressed.
How do I prepare for surgery?
During your pre-operative consultation, Dr. Corey will review with you the goals and procedure that is planned and examine any new information that you may have found out since your first visit regarding your previous surgery. You will be provided with instructions regarding diet, smoking and medications and you will be given any necessary prescriptions.
How is this surgery performed?
The extent and duration of your surgery will depend on many factors. There may be a simple exchange of one or both of your implants with a possible change in implant type (saline or gel, textured or smooth). There may be an adjustment or removal of the capsule already formed from your previous surgery or a shifting of your implant from its current position (above or below your pectoralis muscle). It is possible that you may need something as complex as a mastopexy (breast lift) with or without new implants or a tissue matrix, such as Strattice, brought in to give you added support. And at times there is a combination of any or all of the above techniques. And in some cases, it will be a matter of getting your breast to look as good as they can, understanding that they may never be as good as you wish.
What is recovery like with Breast Implant revision?
Many breast implant revision patients report their recovery was much easier than the initial breast implant surgery. In simple procedures, there is very little swelling. However, this varies from case to case and Dr. Corey will give you exact instructions on activity and implant massage, if needed. Straightforward breast implant replacement is usually never as uncomfortable as the first surgery and most of Dr. Corey’s breast implant replacement patients recovered in 1-3 days whereas other procedures will need some restriction in activity and almost continuous bra use.
I may need breast implant revision, correction or replacement surgery. What should I do next?
Upon noticing a significant change in the appearance or feel of your breast implants, call Dr. Corey’s practice in Scottsdale for an appointment. At his Scottsdale office, Dr. Corey offers three types of breast surgery consultations: an individual consultation which costs $75, a group consultation (10 to 20 people) which is free, or if you live out of the area, an online consultation which is also free. Before you meet with Dr. Corey, make sure to write down all questions or concerns you have and bring them up with your surgeon. Contact us for more in-depth information on breast implant revision surgery. We happily serve patients in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and surrounding areas.