Why Women “Redo” Their Breasts: Breast Augmentation Revision

Your breast augmentation surgery probably won’t be your last. We tell all our patients considering breast implants that breast augmentation revision is likely at some point in the future. We’re not trying to scare you away from surgery. We see the benefits of cosmetic breast surgery every day and we know that this procedure has some of the highest satisfaction rates in the aesthetic industry. We believe the risks are well worth the benefits for most patients, however, we do want our patients to be prepared for the possibility of additional surgery later. 

Why would a woman choose to redo her breasts? Why is breast revision surgery needed? Here’s what you need to know about breast augmentation and revision from the aesthetics experts at New Orleans Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery, one of the top plastic surgery practices in New Orleans. 

What Is Breast Augmentation Revision?

Breast augmentation revision, also called breast implant revision or breast revision surgery, has a simple goal, replacing breast implants with new ones. It is essentially a swap out for implants are no longer meeting your goals, for breast implants that will. To ensure a beautiful outcome, breast implant replacement is often paired with other surgeries like a breast lift. Dr. Hendrick performs all breast revision procedures at our practice and will provide details about any recommended complementary procedures to enhance your results. 

There is no specific timeline for revision surgery, and many women will not need it. It may be time to consider revision if you’re experiencing complications with your breast implants or if you are no longer delighted by your breast appearance. If you love your breasts and aren’t having problems, breast implant exchange is probably unnecessary right now. Don’t fix what’s already working!

Top Reasons for Breast Revision Surgery in New Orleans

Our patients choose breast revision surgery for many reasons. These include:

  • Implant Rupture- A leak or rupture in an implant will require replacement. It is easy to spot a leak in a saline breast implant as the affected breast will deflate and change shape. Silicone implants usually require imaging to detect a leak or rupture. Modern breast implants are very strong, making leaks much less likely, especially if you’re using the newest cohesive silicone implants. 
  • Size Change- Are your breasts bigger or smaller than you would like? Breasts that you loved in your 20s may no longer work for you in your 40s. Size changes are one of the most common reasons women choose breast implant revision. 
  • Implant Misplacement or Symmastia- When an implant shifts out of position, it can alter the shape and appearance of the breasts. These shifts can be minor or more significant. Symmastia is a rare, but a disfiguring case of implant shifting. It occurs when the skin and muscle over the sternum lifts causing both implant pockets to combine. This expanded, double pocket is sometimes called uni-boob. Implant revision is needed recreate the breast implant pockets and restore breast appearance. 
  • Capsular Contracture- Capsular contracture occurs when the scar tissue around the breast implant, also called the capsule, contracts or grows excessively. This contraction puts pressure on the implant and causes shape distortion, hardening, and in severe cases, significant discomfort. Revision surgery can remove the problematic capsule and restore breast appearance. 
  • Rippling or Wrinkling- Women with little natural breast tissue often turn to breast augmentation. Unfortunately, if too large of a breast implant is used, there may not be sufficient tissue for coverage. A lack of coverage can cause rippling and wrinkling. We have several options for treating this complication if it occurs including breast implant replacement with a smaller implant or different type, changing the implant to sub-muscular placement, and fat grafting. Underfilled saline implants are also prone to rippling. 
  • Age or Post-Pregnancy Breast Changes- The breasts are always changing, whether they are natural breasts or breasts with implants. Sagging and deflation are two common breast changes, especially after pregnancy or aging. Breast revision surgery restores the breast appearance after these changes. If your breast changes are pregnancy-related, consider our mommy makeover to correct changes to body and breast together. 
  • Unhappy with Prior Results- At New Orleans Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery, our satisfaction rates for breast augmentation are very high. Dr. Hendrick is a skilled breast surgeon and is known for his excellent results. Unfortunately, we often meet with patients that received breast augmentation elsewhere with less than satisfactory results. Always work with a board-certified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic surgical procedures.  

How We Correct Breast Implant Problems

When there is a problem with your breast implants, we can help you fix it. Dr. Hendrick has many tools and treatments available including:

  • Many Types, Sizes, and Shapes of Breast Implants- Implants are not one-size-fits-all. Even after finding your perfect fit, your needs may change in the future. We offer saline, silicone, and cohesive silicone (gummy bear) breast implants in a variety of sizes. Patients can choose from a variety of shapes and projections. If you are unhappy with your breast size or shape after augmentation, it may be time to change out your implants. 
  • Change of Implant Placement- Breast implants are placed over or under the pectoral muscle. Patients that have experienced problems with one placement, may have better results with the other. 
  • Repair or Removal of Implant Capsule- For capsule problems, including capsular contracture and implant malposition, we may need to remove or repair the capsule. 
  • Breast Lift- Breast lift surgery combined with an implant exchange is used to repair the breasts after pregnancy. A lift may be needed anytime there is significant breast sagging including after aging or weight loss.

These are only a few of the techniques and tools available to us. After we examine your breasts, we can help you find solutions to create your ideal breast appearance. 

Do I Really Need to Replace My Breast Implants Every 10 Years?

How long do breast implants last? Many of our patients have heard that 10 years is the magic number for replacing older implants.  We’ve heard this many times, and always tell our patients that mandatory replacement every 10-years is a myth. If your implants are working and you’re still happy with your breast appearance, they probably don’t need replacement just yet.  

On the other hand, if you’re having problems with your implants, but only had them placed a year or two ago, you may need surgery much sooner than 10 years down the road. Function and aesthetics are more important than the calendar for determining the timeline of breast implant replacement. 

Where did this 10-year number come from? We have a few ideas. 

  • Length of Breast Implant Guarantee- Most of the breast implants we currently use come with a lifetime warranty for implant replacement due to leaks or ruptures. This guarantee means that if your implant does rupture and revision surgery is needed, you won’t have to pay for new breast implants at any point, even many years later. Many implants offer additional funding to cover some surgical expenses, but this coverage may be limited to the first 10 years. The 10-year coverage that comes with many breast implants could be a reason why implant replacement is common around the 10-year mark. 
  • FDA Study- In 2011, the FDA published a study of breast augmentation outcomes over a 10-year period. The study found that approximately 1 in 5 women required implant revision during the first 10 years with their implants. While 20% did need revision, don’t forget about the 80% that did not. 

Talk to your plastic surgeon for advice on timing your breast implant replacement. Breast implants don’t last forever, but modern implants are strong and long-lasting. 

Breast Implant Removal

If you’ve loved your implants but are ready to return to your natural breasts, it may be time for breast implant removal. This surgery removes breast implants, scar tissue, and silicone leakage if needed. 

When your breast implants were first placed, your breast tissue and skin expanded to accommodate the size of your implant. When the implant is removed, your breasts may look empty and deflated. We often pair breast implant removal with breast lift surgery to reform and reshape the breast tissues, achieving a better breast shape. Larger implants typically impact breast shape after removal more significantly than smaller implants. 

Avoiding Breast Implant Revision Surgery- Our Tips for Reducing Additional Surgeries

If you have breast implants, there is always the risk of additional surgeries. Be aware of this risk when you get your implants and be prepared if the need does arise. You can’t always avoid revision surgery, but a little prevention can reduce its likelihood and frequency.  

Here are our best tips for reducing unnecessary breast implant revision procedures:

  • Choose an Experienced, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon- We always recommend working with a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience performing your desired procedure. Dr. Velargo specializes in facial surgeries and Dr. Hendrick performs hand and body procedures. This division of responsibility allows each surgeon to hone their skill on a specialized type of surgery, while our practice offers a full range of services. Both of our surgeons are board-certified. 
  • Carefully Consider Breast Implant Size- Size changes are one of the biggest reasons for implant exchange. Sometimes these changes happen many years after the initial breast augmentation when needs change and the previous breast size no longer works. Sometimes they occur much sooner when a woman chooses implants that are too large or too small initially. Take your time choosing your implant size. Size is a decision you don’t want to rush. Dr. Hendrick will help you choose appropriate breast implants for your anatomy and appearance goals. Make sure you clearly communicate your ideal breast appearance prior to surgery. Pictures are always helpful and appreciated. 
  • Have Realistic Expectations- We love helping women love their breasts. Our results are outstanding, but remember, perfection isn’t always possible. There may be limits to your breast appearance due to anatomy and other factors. We’ll help you achieve your best breasts, but don’t expect airbrushed magazine cover perfection. Ask Dr. Hendrick what results you can expect and go into surgery with realistic expectations so you’re not disappointed. 

I Think I Need Breast Revision Surgery- What Should I Do?

If you have breast implants that may need replacing, come in for a consultation and let’s talk. Our surgeon Dr. Hendrick has performed many breast implant exchanges on women throughout the New Orleans area. He is experienced with breast surgery and has the skill to address many breast concerns including capsular contracture, symmastia, and implant rupture. 

The first step to fixing the problems with your breasts is a consultation. To figure out the best treatment options, Dr. Hendrick needs to examine your breasts and pinpoint any problems. Armed with this information, he’ll work with you to create a plan and correct your breasts. 

Call us at 504-533-8848 to schedule a consultation and learn more. Love your breast implants again with breast revision surgery.