For most patients, breast implants are expected to last at least 10 years before they should be removed and/or replaced. The longer a breast implant is inside the body after 10 years, the more likely it is to deteriorate or rupture.
When a breast implant is inserted, the body forms a protective barrier of tissue around the implant known as a capsule. Over time, this capsule of tissue may become extremely firm and distorted in a process known as capsular contraction. In this instance, the capsule and implant will need to be removed.
In addition to implant or capsule complications, there are other reasons why women chose to have their breast implants replaced. These include weight fluctuation, changes caused by pregnancy, and the desire for smaller or larger implants.
Dr Avery has over a decade of experience in plastic surgery and has been performing breast augmentations and replacements in Newcastle since 2013.
Usually presenting as a slow leak, a silicone implant rupture may go unnoticed for a long time and can cause the breast to become misshapen, lumpy or sore. If you notice consistent symptoms such as these, it is recommended that you come in for a consultation, often an ultrasound or MRI scan will be required to assess the integrity of the breast implant.
Saline implant ruptures are generally quite obvious. As the leaked saline is absorbed into the body, the implant will deflate and there will be a noticeable difference in the size and shape of the breast.
A breast implant replacement (or breast revision surgery) has some similarities to the original breast augmentation. In most cases, an incision will be made in the same place as the existing scar, unless additional incisions are required due to additional procedures like a breast lift.
All of our breast implant replacement procedures take place in an accredited hospital, with appropriately trained support staff and anaesthetist. A breast revision surgery generally takes between 1-3 with another 2 hours for recovery before you can go home, although many patients will choose or need to stay in hospital overnight.
For any number of reasons, a patient may choose to change the positioning of the original or new implants. Dr Avery will help you determine the best implant placement technique that is right for you.
Find out more about the different techniques for breast implant placement on our Breast Augmentation page.
Occasionally it is performed as a day surgery with the patient free to go home on the day of the procedure. However if a patient has undergone another procedure in addition to the breast implant replacement, a longer stay in hospital might also be necessary for recovery.
As with any operation, the patient will need to organise somebody to drive them home and it is recommended that they have another adult stay with them during the first night after surgery.
Some bruising and swelling can be expected within the first 1-2 weeks after surgery. A compression garment may be recommended for up to 4-6 weeks to provide support and reduce post-operative pain or swelling.
The full recovery period for a simple breast implant replacement is usually milder than that of the original augmentation, however you may be restricted from certain activities such as work, exercise, and heavy lifting for 2–4 weeks following the surgery.
A customised pain relief program will be created for each patient and issued before leaving the hospital. If circumstances change at any stage during the recovery period, then the pain medication can certainly be adjusted accordingly.
Breast Implant Replacement FAQ's
Also referred to as breast implant revision, it involves the removal and/or replacement of breast implants to correct complications that have occurred after breast augmentation or breast reconstruction surgery.
Breast implants can be replaced after migration or rupture, or because they have gone hard (capsular contraction). Surgery may be required if there is a problem with the implant or if there has been a change in the relationship between the breast and the implant that has a negative impact on the breast appearance or creates symptoms such as pain.
Implant revision surgery will have similar risks to initial implant surgery. There may be additional risks if the revision surgery is more extensive and if additional breast surgery, such as a breast lift, is performed at the same time.
This is performed in an accredited hospital under a general anaesthetic. Revision surgery is usually more extensive than the initial surgery and an overnight stay is often required.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Dr Avery is a member of the two leading professional associations for plastic surgeons in Australia, ASAPS and ASPS. Their websites provide additional information regarding plastic surgery in Australia that you might find useful, please visit ASAPS and ASPS.