Women have had breast augmentation surgery for a multitude of reasons – for self confidence, to restore breast shape after having children, or to correct asymmetry. However breast implants change and deteriorate with time and can rupture, migrate or become hard (called capsular contracture). Other women have experienced pain, or other problems from the original surgery causing them to be unsatisfied with the result. Alternatively the breast shape or tissues may have changed, and the nipple position may have dropped requiring revision surgery.
- Breast implant revision surgery is therefore an effective solution to
- Change a ruptured implant
- Correct implant malposition (where it has moved to far up, down, or out to the side)
- Correct breast asymmetry
- Correct breast droop (or ptosis)
- As treatment for capsular contracture (when the implant has gone hard)
- Improve implant rippling
It should be remembered though that information pertaining to the original surgery can be very helpful in planning revision surgery – such as information about the implant size, manufacturer, shape, pocket (subpectoral or subglandular), date of insertion, and the surgeon who performed the procedure. If you have these details on hand (or as many as possible) then it is useful to bring these with you to a consultation.
Am I a candidate for breast revision?
If you are suffering due to poor aesthetic outcomes of your primary breast augmentation surgery or your implant has ruptured or changed in shape over time, you are likely to be an ideal candidate for an effective breast revision cosmetic surgery procedure.
You may not be a good candidate for this revision procedure if you have certain medical problems that can negatively impact the outcomes of the surgery. These can include smoking, diabetes, being on blood thinners, or being significantly overweight. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot undergo the procedure. However, discuss your plans with the surgeon who can help you to understand what to expect from the surgery.
How soon after breast augmentation can you get a revision?
Most surgeons would recommend waiting at least 6 months (Ideally 12 months) before seeking a revision surgery. It can take this long for the tissues to soften and relax, allowing your implants to drop and settle. Once you have fully healed and your final results are evident, then you and your surgeon can decide whether you should have a revision procedure.
It is important to also be clear from both the surgeon and patient to agree to the reasons for revision, and the realistic goals that could be achieved from surgery, as revision surgery is often harder than the original procedure to achieve the ideal aesthetic. The challenges would be discussed with you during a preoperative consultation.
Will I get new implants with breast revision surgery?
In general, yes. It is imperative to not to handle implants (as in be placed in and out of the body) for reasons of contamination, infection and a rare disease called ALCL. Overall while implants contribute to additional cost it is imperative that implants are of the highest quality, are sterile when inserted, and ideally not handled further once placed inside the body. Also modern generations of implants are much more cohesive than the older generations, meaning they are unlikely to ‘leak’in the event of a rupture. They probably also last a lot longer (upwards of 15 years), and have less rates of capsular contracture.
Breast revision usually involves a combination of removing or replacing the breast implants, altering the size or type of implant, eliminating scar tissue and/or lifting the breasts. Revision surgery is usually more complex, more time consuming than the original surgery, and sometimes there can be surprises for the surgeon which are only realised during the surgery. However your surgeon will best try to anticipate these, and discuss any potential challenges with you during a preoperative consultation.
Does breast revision include a lift?
Breast revision doesn’t always include a breast lift by default, but the surgeries can be combined to better address any drooping of the nipple position. If you are having your implants removed, switching to a smaller size, or experiencing sagging, you may want to consider adding a lift for the best possible results.
Will my breast revision scars be worse than my primary surgery?
Dr Shagun Aggarwal may be able to make improvements to the appearance of the scars from the primary breast procedure. In most cases, we would utilise incisions under the breast for access to implants, but if a lift is required then additional scars would be needed around the nipple.
Does breast revision hurt?
Although the surgery can be more challenging for the surgeon, breast revision recovery can be quicker and more comfortable than breast augmentation recovery because the space for the implants already exists, and your body has already adjusted to having implants in place. However this of course depends on what other steps are being performed – such as capsulectomy, or lift that could add to the discomfort or introduce a need for a drain (generally avoided for most revisions). As with any procedure, we’ll provide guidance as to any medication, garments, or aftercare instructions that may enhance your comfort.
Is breast revision surgery recovery more complicated than my prior breast surgery? Do I need to take more extensive time off work? If so, how much?
Breast revision surgery is often more involved than the primary surgery as it involves correction of implant position, resizing them, adjusting internal pockets, and possibly doing a lift or other manoeuvres such as fat grafting.
In general Dr Aggarwal will try and avoid drains if possible but these are sometimes needed especially if a lot of capsule work is being performed. If needed, we would endeavour to remove drains in 1-2 weeks from surgery but it would depend on how much fluid is being produced by the body during recovery.
If you are working in an office setting, you will likely require at least one (preferably 2) weeks of leave from work. You should not lift, strain the upper body or exercise aggressively for around six weeks after the surgery and diligently follow the surgeon’s guidelines during the recovery phase.
What is the recovery period after breast implant revision surgery?
The recovery period after breast implant revision surgery is often similar to your recovery after a breast augmentation, but be prepared if it turns out to be more difficult. You can discuss how your individual recovery might progress with your doctor, as well as learn about any restrictions after the operation.
How long do the results last?
Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, your new breast implants should remain fairly stable. As with natural breasts, the effects of gravity and aging will eventually alter the size and shape of your breast implants but this is a slow process over 10 plus years. Breast implant revision surgery aims to restore your breasts to a more perky and youthful appearance.
Will insurance help cover the cost of breast implant revision surgery?
In general, because it is an elective cosmetic procedure, the cost of breast implant surgery is not covered by insurance. However, exceptions do exist under certain circumstances. If, for example, a breast implant revision surgery is needed in the context of breast cancer reconstruction then it is likely to be covered. In some cases implant removal alone due to complications such as capsular contracture or implant rupture, may be covered by Medicare and a health fund. We would discuss your costs and if there are any rebates, during consultation.