Breast revision surgery is a complex and highly specialized procedure that addresses a variety of concerns and complications that may arise following an initial breast augmentation. As a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in aesthetic plastic surgery, Dr. Vitenas is dedicated to providing patients in Houston, TX, with the highest level of care and expertise in breast implant revision procedures. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of breast revision surgery, its indications, and the recovery process to help you make an informed decision about your treatment options. Let’s begin by understanding what breast revision surgery involves.
About Breast Revision Surgery
Breast revision surgery is a procedure that aims to correct issues or dissatisfaction following a previous breast augmentation. The surgery can involve removing, replacing, or correcting breast implants to address problems, change the shape, size, or style of the implants, or improve the overall appearance of the breasts.
Common Reasons for Breast Revision Surgery
There are several reasons why women may choose to undergo breast revision surgery, including:
- Deflated saline implants: Saline implants can deflate if the implant shell is damaged or leaks, causing the saline solution to be safely absorbed by the body.
- Silicone implant shell leaks: Over time, the shell of a silicone implant may weaken, resulting in a leak or rupture.
- Desire to change implant size: Some women may wish to increase or decrease the size of their implants to suit their body proportions or personal preferences better.
- Implant removal: In some cases, women may choose to have their implants removed without replacement due to personal or medical reasons.
- Capsular contracture: This occurs when the scar tissue that forms around all implants, thickens and contracts causing the breast to feel hard and sometimes painful.
- Implant shifting: Implants can sometimes shift or move from their original position, leading to an unnatural appearance or discomfort due to weakness of tissues.
- Negative effects from weight loss/gain, pregnancy, or breastfeeding: These factors can cause changes in breast size and shape, potentially affecting the appearance of breast implants.
Types of Breast Implant Problems
Breast implant problems that may necessitate revision surgery include:
- Bottoming out & stretch deformity: This occurs when the implant descends too low on the chest wall, causing the nipple to appear too high on the breast.
- Lateral fold malposition: Implants can sometimes move too far to the side, causing an unnatural appearance.
- Symmastia: This condition happens when the implants are placed too close together, resulting in a uni-boob appearance.
- Wrinkling and rippling: Visible wrinkles or ripples on the surface of the breast can occur due to thin skin or insufficient tissue coverage over the implant.
- Capsular contracture: As mentioned earlier, this occurs when scar tissue forms around the implant, causing the breast to feel hard and sometimes painful.
Dealing with Ruptured Implants: Saline vs Silicone
When dealing with ruptured implants, the approach differs based on the type of implant:
- Saline implant ruptures: Saline implants deflate quickly when ruptured, and the saline solution is safely absorbed by the body. This makes it easy to detect a rupture, as the breast will appear noticeably smaller.
- Silicone implant ruptures: Ruptures of silicone implants can be more challenging to detect, as the silicone gel tends to remain within the scar tissue capsule. Medical imaging or a physical examination by a board-certified plastic surgeon may be necessary to diagnose a silicone implant rupture.
Ideal Candidates for Breast Revision Surgery
Ideal candidates for breast revision surgery include women who:
- Are in good general health
- Have had at least one breast augmentation and wish to replace or correct their implants
- Have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery
- Are not currently pregnant or breastfeeding
- Are not planning significant weight loss in the near future
The Consultation Process: Evaluating Current Implants and Issues
In the breast revision surgery consultation, your board-certified plastic surgeon will address your concerns and objectives, examine your medical history, and assess your existing implants and any problems you might be facing. They will also discuss your options for replacement implants, including size, shape, and material, to ensure the best possible outcome for your revision surgery.
Preparing for Breast Revision Surgery
Prior to your breast revision surgery, you may need to follow specific instructions provided by your surgeon.This might include undergoing imaging or lab tests, quitting nicotine products, stopping certain blood-thinning medications, and arranging for transportation and assistance on the day of your surgery.
Techniques and Approaches in Revision Surgery
There are several techniques and approaches that may be used in breast revision surgery, including:
- Implant removal and replacement: If your implants need to be replaced due to rupture, deflation, or a desire to change the size, your surgeon will remove the old implants and insert new ones.
- Capsulectomy: If you are experiencing capsular contracture, your surgeon may remove the scar tissue capsule surrounding the implant to alleviate pain and improve the appearance of your breasts.
- Implant repositioning: If your implants have shifted or moved from their original position, your surgeon may reposition them to achieve a more natural appearance and improve symmetry.
- Breast lift: In some cases, a breast lift may be performed in conjunction with breast revision surgery to address sagging or drooping breasts.
- Resorbable Mesh: The use of resorbable mesh can aid in the longevity of these repairs and in keeping the breast up on the chest.
Recovery and Healing After Breast Revision Surgery
Initial recovery from breast revision surgery typically takes up to a week or two. Most patients are able to return to work within a few days to one week following the procedure, depending on the nature of their job and the extent of the surgery. Exercise and other strenuous activities should be avoided for at least four weeks post-surgery to allow for proper healing.
Swelling, bruising, and discomfort are normal after breast revision surgery and can be managed with pain medication and cold compresses as recommended by your surgeon. You may also be instructed to wear a surgical bra or compression garment during the initial stages of healing to provide support and minimize swelling.
Risks and Potential Complications
As with any surgical procedure, breast implant revision carries some risks and potential complications, although they are generally minimal. These may include bleeding, infection, and scarring. To minimize these risks, it is important to follow your surgeon’s pre- and post-operative instructions and attend all follow-up appointments.