Breast augmentation remains one of the nation's most frequently performed cosmetic surgeries. Breast implant revision surgery may be necessary for issues that arise over time, or occasionally to address issues from the original augmentation procedure.
When patients are unhappy with the results of a breast augmentation procedure, or if issues have since come up, a breast revision surgery may help. Dr. Leo Lapuerta has more than 20 years of experience in breast augmentation, reconstruction, lifts, and revisions. Here, Dr. Lapuerta and the Look Younger team have put together key information about a breast revision procedure and what to know when thinking about having one.
After breast augmentation surgery, problems can arise. These complications can be caused by a number of issues. Often, the culprit is poor placement of the implants by an inexperienced surgeon, or simply an unforeseen issue that has occurred 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.
If you’ve previously had breast augmentation surgery, and are now experiencing problems associated with that procedure, whether physical or emotional, you are likely a strong candidate for breast revision surgery.
Breast revision 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. In these cases, breast revision surgery is often the best resolution.
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. This will result 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 slimmer women, as the ripples develop due to thin or weak tissue surrounding the implant.
“Double bubble” is a rare complication which occurs when the implant drops down behind the natural breast crease, or it has risen to 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. 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.
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 choose to switch from saline to silicone (or vice versa) to achieve the results they desire.
A capsular contracture is caused by scar tissue which has formed around the implant. 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 — a procedure which removes this tissue — is required. In general, silicone implants have a higher incidence of capsular contracture (approximately 10-15% chance) than saline implants (5% chance).
In some situations, the implant may bottom out. This lengthens the distance between the nipple and the fold, leaving the breast pocket significantly lower than expected. This can occur post-surgery when the implant shifts or moves from its original location. Events like aging, changes in weight, gravity, trauma to the chest area, or excessive scarring can also trigger a bottom-out.
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. That’s okay — it’s natural for our tastes and needs to change with time! Patients who wish to remove their implants are able to do so surgically. A breast implant removal procedure will both extract your implants, as well as tighten the skin around the breasts to create a natural look.
Breast revision surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia. It typically takes one to two hours, depending on the revisions deemed necessary and if additional procedures like a breast lift are included.
The exact procedure will depend on the ultimate goal landed on by the patient and doctor during a prior consultation. Patients may choose to have the implants replaced with new versions or removed entirely, should they choose to return to their original breast size. If the surgery is necessary because of capsular contracture, the surgeon may need to break up scar tissue. Once the surgery is complete, the doctor will provide compression garments to reduce swelling and a full overview of aftercare for a comfortable recovery.
The ease of recovery will depend on the actual circumstances of one’s procedure. In general, most women are able to resume their normal work activities after a full week of rest. However, returning to exercise tends to be a more 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 six weeks.
All stitches and sutures are strategically placed internally, so there is no need for suture removal. Patients can expect to see the appearance of the final result as soon as six weeks, and up to six months from the date of the procedure.
Patients considering breast revision should be in good overall health – nonsmokers who are at a stable weight are ideal candidates. Going in, the candidate should have a strong understanding of the expected outcomes. Often, they will be seeking this procedure to address concerns they have with their prior breast augmentation. They may not like the shape or size, or the implants may need replacing. For example, a patient may choose a revision procedure for breast reduction if they are no longer happy with the size they achieved with the prior augmentation.
Results from a breast implant revision can last for several years. If implants are replaced, they will usually last as long as the original implants. If the breast revision surgery is due to capsular contracture, there may be recurrences that require additional surgery.
The body continues to age, which could require future procedures to maintain the results of the breast augmentation. Speaking with an experienced doctor like Dr. Lapuerta is always a good idea, as he can help patients understand the long-term impacts and longevity of the procedure.
Breast revision surgery is common after reconstruction in a few different instances. Often, patients that have had breast reconstruction following cancer will need revision surgery. It often takes an additional surgery for survivors to feel good about their breasts. The original results may not be what was expected; a revision can alter the size or shape of implants for a figure they’re happy about.
Occasionally, augmentation procedures will require later revision surgery. Complications can develop from the original reconstruction surgery, such as capsular contracture or an implant that ruptures. For patients that have experienced an infection with the first surgery and needed their implants removed, revision surgery will be required for new implants.
Dr. Lapuerta has over two decades of experience performing plastic surgeries and revisions for the greater Houston community. It is this experience that allows him to clearly communicate with prospective patients 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, and help you prepare for your upcoming treatment.
For patients interested in financing options, Dr. Lapuerta’s office offers several solutions that provide easy monthly payment plans. Get in touch today to set up your free consultation to discuss a treatment plan and our finance options.
An excellent doctor, practice, and team are key to happiness with breast revision surgery – and Dr. Lapuerta and the Look Younger office have all three. Dr. Lapuerta’s office is located on La Branch Street in downtown Houston for ultimate convenience.
Part of the Central Business District near St. Joseph Medical Center, this bustling part of the city is known for numerous landmarks like the George R. Brown Convention Center and is easily accessible via I-45, I-69, and Highway 288. For patients coming from the office, the suburbs, or surrounding communities, our Houston location is easily accessible and centrally located.
Contact us to schedule a consultation to find out if breast revision is right for you.