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Breast Revision, What To Know Before Getting Breast Implants

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Breast Revision, What To Know Before Getting Breast Implants
June 18
20:43 2016

When it comes to any surgery, we all hope we’re in the right hands. Even when you’ve educated yourself on breast augmentation procedures and understand the potential outcomes, there’s still the possibility for breast implant revision—a practical option to obtain the breasts you want.

Breast implant revision is sometimes discretionary, but in many cases – a necessary procedure. With this, you should understand that going under the knife for the second or third time—though not always foreseeable—holds just as much importance as any first-time procedure.

“Although you always start a relationship with a patient having breast surgery hoping that they’re going to have infrequent surgeries, every patient at some point in their life should plan on having another surgery if they’re having breast implants; that’s just because breast implants don’t last forever,” said Dr. Nick Carr, a plastic surgeon at Skin Works.

Capsular contracture is the most common reason women have breast implant revisions. According to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), capsular contracture is the tightening of the scar tissue around the implant. In these cases of breast implant revision, there may be specific post-operative protocols with medications and implant displacement exercises.

In the case of a rupture, each implant type reacts differently. Dr. Carr described saline implants as “inflated balloons,” and when a rupture occurs, the patient will know immediately, as they contract quickly. If there is a rupture, the patient should have the implant replaced in two to three weeks. Gel implant ruptures, on the other hand, are much more difficult to diagnose, as new gel implants are cohesive and the gel doesn’t disperse, often requiring an ultrasound or MRI. Dr. Carr confirmed that even in this case, the patient does not have much to worry about healthwise.

Breast Revision, What To Know Before Getting Breast Implants

Breast Revision, What To Know Before Getting Breast Implants

“That’s really going to be the issue with these modern gel implants: are there better ways of determining rupture? Do we need to be looking for it? Or do we just wait until patients have a routine mammogram and it shows up? That’s the sort of approach that most surgeons are taking now,” said Dr. Carr.

Dr. Carr stated that malposition accounts for a fair number of revisions, and it presents itself in different ways. Sometimes, asymmetry occurs when one implant doesn’t settle properly, and some implants also tend to shift with time, which is common with fluid implants. In these cases, even when an implant is originally positioned properly, Dr. Carr cautioned it may slide lower in the breast within 10 years, as the skin loosens over time.

In some cases, women choose to have breast implants replaced for esthetic reasons—striving for smaller or larger breasts. Also, as some women age, they feel the implants no longer suit their lifestyle, and have them completely removed.

The post-op period for breast revision surgery is similar to their original surgery, except that the scar layer around the implant is often removed or manipulated, and therefore the post-op instructions may be different than for the original surgery. Discomfort is often less with the second procedure.

Dr. Carr stressed that, whether getting a revision for health or personal reasons, women who want to get breast implants should understand that revision might be a possibility. Understanding this may help them come to terms with the operation—emotionally and financially.

“I think the ideal candidate for breast implants is somebody who’s motivated, understands the risks and has the attitude that they’re likely to do well; but in the small chance that they don’t do well, they could accept that they will have the implants removed. I think that sort of realistic attitude is the healthiest attitude.”


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