Breast augmentation remains one of the nation's most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures. While it almost always brings long-lasting positive results, breast revision surgeries are sometimes necessary to correct issues that may arise over time. Dr. Leo Lapuerta is an accomplished breast surgeon who performs a full spectrum of breast surgery including augmentations, reductions, lifts, and revisions at his Houston, Pearland, and Katy practices. This, combined with his years of experience, commitment to patient satisfaction, reputation, and surgical excellence all help make him a frequent choice for patients looking to revise a prior breast augmentation surgery.
After breast augmentation surgery, problems can arise. These complications can be caused by poor placement of the implants by an inexperienced surgeon or simply an unforeseen issue that has risen over time. Some of the most common issues that breast revision surgery addresses include capsular contracture (implant hardening or discomfort), rupture, rippling, deflation or implant displacement. A patient looking to change size or switch between silicone or saline may also opt to “swap out” their implants for a breast implant replacement that better suits their needs.
The ideal candidate for breast revision is an individual who had previous breast augmentation surgery and is now experiencing problems associated with the prior procedure. It could also be a patient who, after breast augmentation, has second thoughts about the look or feel of the implants, or want to have the implants removed entirely. Patients should also be in good overall health and have a strong understanding of the expected results of the procedure.
There are a wide variety of different issues that can arise after breast augmentation, all of which will require breast revision surgery to resolve. While each individual case will vary, there are a few reasons for breast revision surgery that tend to come up more often than others. Below are some of the most common reasons women undergo breast revision surgery.
If a saline implant ruptures, the implant device will deflate due to the leakage of saline, resulting in an obvious deflating of the breasts. While silicone implants will not deflate visibly, a break in the shell may still occur. The only true way to detect a shell break is through an MRI, which is why routine check-ups are recommended throughout the years following breast augmentation surgery.
Breast rippling and/or wrinkling can occur along the side of the breast, as well as underneath the breast. This occurs within saline implants, resulting in an unnatural appearance under the skin. This is most common in women who are extremely thin, as the ripples develop due to thin or weak tissue surrounding the implant.
DOUBLE BUBBLE IMPLANTS
“Double bubble” is a rare complication with women who have breast implants. This occurs when the implant drops down behind the natural breast crease, or it has risen and now over-drapes (double folds) the breast. When this occurs, an unnatural indention will result in a “double” breast appearance. This is usually caused by improper breast placement from the original surgery, making it essential to visit a board certified plastic surgeon expert with decades of experience for any cosmetic procedure. A double bubble complication can also be caused by a severe capsular contracture, which shifts the implant from its position and requires breast implant revision.
BREAST IMPLANT REMOVAL
While not necessarily a complication or issue with the implant, some women may decide later in life they no longer wish to have breast implants in place. Breast implant removal is a procedure that removes the implants and tightens the skin around the breasts to create a natural look.
Some women will be unhappy with their breast size following breast augmentation surgery. They may desire a secondary surgery to replace the implant with one of a different size, texture, or shape. Some women may want to go from saline to silicone, or vice versa, to achieve the results they desire. That is why it is important to have a consultation with the plastic surgeon before any procedure, allowing the patient and surgeon to partner together to determine the best path for the patient to achieve their goals.
Scar tissue that has formed around the implant may create a capsular contracture. When this occurs, excessive tightening of the capsule will result in a hard feel of the breast and often some discomfort. Sometimes, in order to correct this, a capsulectomy must occur. This is the removal of scar tissue from around the implant. In general, silicone implants have a higher incidence of capsular contracture (approximately 10-15% chance) than saline implants (5% chance).
IMPLANT BOTTOMING OUT
In some situations, the implant may bottom out, lengthening the distance between the nipple and the fold, leaving the breast pocket significantly lower than expected. This can occur post-surgery when implant shifts or moves from its original location. This can also occur with aging, changes in weight, gravity, trauma to the chest area, or with excessive scarring.
Patients who wish to have their implants replaced will undergo a procedure where an exchange of one or both implants may occur. These revision surgeries are generally straightforward. If scar tissue does exist around the implant, an additional step will be taken to remove this. Some patients may require a breast lift during the revision surgery. In addition, a tissue matrix device known as an internal bra may be used if added support is needed. The goal of the revision process is to resolve or overcome issues in a way that satisfies the patient’s aesthetic goals.
The ease of recovery will depend on exactly what was being done during the revision process. Most women are able to resume their normal work activities after a full week of rest, but returning to exercise will be a gradual process. In some cases, women can resume working out in as little as two weeks, but, in most cases, full healing can take as many as 6 weeks. All stitches and sutures are strategically placed internally, so there is no need for suture removal. As with most surgeries, patients can expect to see the appearance of the final result in 6 weeks up to 6 months.
Breast revision surgery refers to a wide range of different procedures, addressing various different breast augmentation complications. The cost of some breast revision surgeries can be very different than the breast implant replacement cost. This wide range of outcomes means that the cost for a breast revision procedure will vary greatly. On average, the range is between $5,000-$20,000, with an average of $13,000, but the final cost will depend on numerous factors, including:
– If the breast implants are being removed or replaced
– If breast implant replacement is occurring with a silicone or saline breast implant
– If any additional surgical technique will be needed (i.e. a capsulectomy or a breast lift)
– If the implants were covered by a manufacturer warranty
– If an internal bra is recommended or required
This wide range in the possible breast revision and breast implant replacement cost is why it is so important to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lapuerta. During the consultation, Dr. Lapuerta will partner with the patient to determine the best treatment method moving forward in order to make sure all of the patient’s goals are met.
Dr. Lapuerta has over two decades of experience performing breast revision surgeries, and it is this experience that will allow him to clearly communicate the best roadmap to success. Once a treatment plan is determined, Dr. Lapuerta can provide an accurate quote for the complete cost of the procedure. For patients interested in financing options, Dr. Lapuerta’s office offers several solutions that provide easy monthly payment plans. To learn more, contact Dr. Lapuerta to request a consultation.