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Breast Implant Revision


What is breast implant revision surgery?

IStock 537983539 1Breast revision is a surgical procedure whose goal is to correct unsatisfactory results from a previous augmentation. In revision surgery with Dr. Carpin, the goal is to correct a problem such as capsular contracture or rippling. Also, revision surgery is the term for replacing leaking or ruptured implants. There are a variety of reasons a woman would choose to have revision surgery.

Generally, revision procedures are easier than the original augmentation because Dr. Carpin can enter through the original incisions.

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How can I tell if my breast implants need to be replaced?

If you have saline implants, a ruptured implant will be immediately noticeable, as the implant will empty, and the body will absorb the sterile saline solution. That breast will flatten to the extent the implant increased the original size of the breast. This takes only one to two days to occur.

With silicone implants a rupture isn’t obvious. This is especially true with today’s more cohesive silicone gels. If a rupture occurs, the gel tends to stay within the silicone outer shell. These can be referred to as “silent ruptures.” You may notice a change in breast size and/or shape. There may be some pain and tenderness, swelling, or changes in sensation.

The MRIs that are recommended every other year in women with silicone breast implants are the usual way these ruptures are detected.


What are other reasons beyond a rupture that women have revision surgery?

Beyond an implant rupture, these are the most common reasons for implant revision and how Dr. Carpin handles the surgery for each.

Changing the implant size

When a woman is unsatisfied with the size of her implants, Dr. Carpin will enter through the original incision. If a larger implant is desired, she will increase the size of the pocket, the space in the breast to hold the implant. If the patient seeks smaller implants, she will reduce the size of the pocket with sutures to fit the smaller implants. In cases of reduction, a breast lift may be done in conjunction with the implant revision to remove any sagging tissue and possibly relocate the nipples.

Capsular contracture

The body reacts when an implant is placed. This reaction is called the “capsule” and it is made up of calcified cells and scar tissue. If this capsule becomes very thick and causes the implant to shift or the breast to feel very firm, or if there is pain from the constricting scar tissue, this is called capsular contracture. If the capsule is very calcified, Dr. Carpin will remove it along with the implant. If it isn’t, she usually will leave it in place. If there is a rupture of a silicone implant, the capsule may contain silicone shell fragments, silicone gel, and inflammatory cells that all need to be removed prior to placing new implants.

Implant rippling

Sometimes, particularly with saline implants placed atop the chest muscle, the implants show rippling, and the edges may even be able to be felt. In these cases, Dr. Carpin enters through the original incision and replaces the implants with better muscle coverage. This may involve switching implant types and/or placing them in new breast pockets.

Implant position

Sometimes the implant pockets were created either too far away or too close together and the patient is not happy with the placement. In these cases, Dr. Carpin will use scar tissue from the capsule and will reconstruct new pockets for the implants in better positions.

Implant removal

When a patient decides she no longer wants to have her implants, they are removed through the same incisions. Dr. Carpin will also remove the capsule if it is calcified and thick. It’s likely she will recommend a breast lift at the same time to remove excess sagging skin and breast tissue.


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Can I change my breast implant size or the type of implant with revision surgery?

That is one of the more common reasons, other than necessity, for these procedures. Some patients wish they had opted for larger implants. Others, particularly when getting a little older, seek to downsize a bit.

Also, if a woman has decided she doesn’t want to have silicone implants any longer, she can switch to saline-filled implants. There is a particular option, the Ideal Implant, which has a novel manufacturing process that allows these saline implants to feel more like the natural feel of silicone implants and natural breast tissue.

If a patient wants to change the size of her implants, Dr. Carpin recommends that she wait one full year before doing so. This allows any swelling to fully subside and for the implants to settle into their final position.


How long after my initial augmentation can I have revision surgery?

Dr. Carpin recommends that women wait to have revision surgery for at least one full year after their initial procedure. This gives the implants time to fully settle into their final position, and it allows any swelling to completely resolve.


Can I have my breast implants completely removed?

Female patient choosing implants, Canon 1Ds mark IIIRevision surgery can also be removal surgery. When implants are removed, a breast lift is almost always a necessity to remove the excess sagging skin that stretched when the implants had made the breasts larger. Dr. Carpin can perform the breast lift at the same time as the implant removal procedure.


What will my recovery be like after breast implant revision surgery?

Because Dr. Carpin can usually enter through the same incisions as used for the original augmentation, these are easier recoveries than with the original procedure. Most patients can return to work in just a few days.


Breast Augmentation Revision FAQs

What will my recovery be like after breast implant revision surgery?

Because Dr. Carpin can usually enter through the same incisions as used for the original augmentation, these are easier recoveries than with the original procedure. Most patients can return to work in just a few days.

Will insurance cover breast revision surgery?

That depends. If you have simply decided that you want to change the size of your implants, those situations would likely not be covered. But most other cases of revision surgery would be covered. This is the case particularly with these factors necessitating revision:

  • Overly firm breast implants or capsular contracture
  • Asymmetry
  • Ruptured breast implants
  • Breast deformities after surgery
  • Poor incision healing

Of course, health insurance varies widely between patients and with different providers. If you wonder if your insurance company will cover your revision surgery, it’s a good idea to check the parameters of their coverage beforehand.

What are the risks associated with breast implant revision?

These are typically low-risk procedures. But they are still surgical procedures, so they entail the usual risks of reaction to anesthesia, excessive bleeding, poor wound healing, and the like. These are rare.

The real risk in cases of capsular contracture or implant rupture is not having revision surgery.


Ready to Learn More?

Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Carpin to discuss if you are a breast implant revision candidate, and to review the risks, benefits, alternatives, and expected outcomes of the procedure. Dr. Carpin offers breast augmentation revision surgery for patients in Houston, League City and Clear Lake, TX and surrounding areas, including Friendswood, Pasadena, Kemah, Seabrook, Galveston, & Pearland.
For more information on our services, call our office to make an appointment.

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