With an increase in breast augmentations over the past two decades, breast revision surgery has also seen an uptick. Post-surgery complications like capsular contracture or a ruptured implant will quickly send the patient seeking surgical options to fix their aesthetic setback. However, in some cases, it’s not a complication which has women seeking a breast revision, but rather to change the size, shape or projection of their breast augmentation results.
Board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Russell Hendrick, is a highly trained and experienced surgeon who performs all variations of breast revision surgery. He is proficient in understanding what the patient wants according to their aesthetic goals and formulates a surgical plan to help patients achieve their desired results.
It is natural for breast contours to experience multiple changes over time, but when there is disappointment with how your breasts look or health issues because of previous breast surgery, your best option may be a breast revision.
The most common health-related or aesthetic issues that lead women to seek breast revisions include:
- Implant Size Revision: Women not happy with the size of their original breast implants can elect to have breast revision surgery to decrease or increase their breast size.
- Correction of Scarring Associated with Breast Surgery: Excess scarring from breast surgery can be corrected surgically.
- Breast Implant Removal: This procedure is for women who feel they no longer want breast implants, breast revision surgery removes the implants and performs a breast lift on the remaining tissue.
- Double Bubble: This complication occurs when the implant drops below your breast’s natural fold, causing breast tissue to droop or hang.
- Bottom Out: this complication occurs when an inframammary fold appears too low, or the nipples appear too high. This problem frequently occurs in patients who have thin breast tissue causing the implant to pull the breast tissue downward and bottom out.
- Symmastia: If the primary surgery cuts the pectoralis muscle, this may cause the implants to fall towards the center of the chest, creating a “uni-boob” or an unnatural looking cleavage.
- Implant Coverage Problems: A rippling texture will result if the breast tissue is too thin to hide the breast implants properly, causing this unnatural skin-surface.
- Allergy or Infection: Although rare, a woman’s body may reject the breast implants causing an infection or allergic reaction.
- Shifted Breast Implants: When implants shift they can appear asymmetrical.
- Implant Malposition: If the pocket that surrounds the breast implant is too large, it will allow the implant to shift out of position, leading to implant malposition.
- Capsular Contracture: This complication results when scar tissue hardens around the breast implants
- Breast Implant Exchange: This happens for multiple reasons, changing the implant material, changing size, or changing shape.
- Silicone Implant Leak: If a silicone implant ruptures it may leak. An MRI will detect the leak during a regular examination or when the patient suspects something is wrong.
- Saline Breast Implant Deflation: No MRI is necessary if a saline breast implant ruptures because the leak will cause a deflation which will be obvious.
- Breast Volume or Shape Change: Breastfeeding, pregnancy, age, and weight fluctuations may lead to changes in breast shape or volume.
A breast revision is often more difficult than the original breast augmentation, which makes choosing the right plastic surgeon critical. Overcoming challenges like excess scar tissue requires skill and experience with this type of procedure. It is important for your surgeon to utilize the most advanced techniques to minimize scarring and to minimize the risk of future complications.
Whenever surgery introduces a foreign object into the body, whether it be a breast, joint or hip implant, a capsule will form around the object to protect itself for as long as the object remains in the body. While soft most of the time, occasionally the capsule may distort and harden the implant.
The capsule may tighten and shrink to cause the implant to rise and make the breast extremely firm to the touch.
One option to correct this issue is to remove the implant and replace it with a new implant while correcting the surrounding capsule. This swap will ensure any bacteria which has grown on the implant over time is removed with the outgoing implant.
Another option is a revision of the capsule which the body naturally forms around the implant. This option requires a simple procedure where the implant drops and expands to a natural position. Here the surgeon can use the initial incision path to add a slanting incision to the capsule allowing it to open and the implant to drop.
For the more complex capsular contracture problems, your surgeon can remove the capsule in part or entirely, then reposition the breast implant within the pocket. This option will depend on the difficulty of removing the capsule, the thickness of the overlying breast tissue, and the level of contracture.
Lastly, your surgeon may change the type of implants. Technology has provided improvement for silicone implants which look and feel better than their older counterparts. These implants offer better results for patients who have overly thin skin or insufficient glandular tissue. Placing a sling type graft will thicken the skin between the implant and the breast tissue.
Because breast augmentation surgery is the most popular body contouring procedure in the United States, many healthcare professionals are honing in on the market. The best option available is to make sure your first breast surgery is performed correctly by a properly trained, board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience in performing breast augmentations.
Dr. Parker Velargo is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face, nose, eyelids, ears, and neck. Dr. Russell Hendrick is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who focuses on reconstructive and aesthetic surgery of the body, hands, and wrists.