Breast implants last for a long time, but they aren’t designed to last for the rest of your life. Even if your implants don’t physically wear out, there are a variety of reasons why you might be interested in a breast implant exchange. When you initially have your breast augmentation surgery, your plastic surgeon will review the pros and cons of each type of implant with you and will let you know know when or if you should consider replacing them. Let’s take a look at a few of the more common reasons for breast implant exchange.
You Want to Trade Saline for Silicone
At first, most breast implants were filled with silicone. But concerns about the safety of silicone implants led to them being pulled from the market in the 1990’s. At that point, women seeking breast augmentation had the option of choosing saline-filled implants. After years of review and study, the FDA determined that silicone implants were safe. The implants became available again in the early 2000’s.
Saline implants have several benefits, mainly that they can be filled after insertion, meaning the surgeon can make a smaller incision during the surgery and can adjust the size of the implants to a patient’s specifications. They are also less expensive than silicone. But, saline implants have a number of drawbacks too, and if you have them because you didn’t have any other option at the time of your surgery, you might now want to trade them in for silicone.
One of the big advantages of choosing silicone over saline implants is that silicone implants typically have a more natural feel than saline. They are also less likely to cause rippling beneath the skin and many come with a lifetime warranty.
Your Implants Are Leaking
If your implants become damaged, you should replace them. Implants can start leaking if they are subjected to a great amount of force. For example, if you trip and fall or if someone accidentally elbows you in the chest, there is a chance that the implant can rupture. How noticeable a leak is depends on the type of implant you have.
In the case of saline implants, the saline solution will quickly seep out when the implant ruptures, causing the breast to appear to deflate. The silicone in silicone implants is unlikely to seep out, since it is so thick. If you have silicone implants and have been hit in the chest area, it’s a good idea to have imaging done to evaluate the state of the implants.
The Implants Have Developed Capsular Contracture
After breast augmentation, it’s normal for the body to form scar tissue around the implants. But, there are cases when too much scar tissue forms. The scar tissue can tighten around the implant, squeezing it and causing the breast to become firm and deformed. Known as capsular contracture, the condition can be painful, depending on how far along it is.
Capsular contracture is divided into four grades. In Grade 1, the breasts appear normal and are soft to the touch. In Grade 2, it’s possible to feel the implant and the breast begins to feel less soft. In Grade 3, some distortion or asymmetry of the breast is visible, the implant can clearly be felt, and the breasts are harder than usual. By Grade 4, there is a severe deformity, the breast is painful, very hard and feels tender to the touch.
To correct capsular contracture, the surgeon will need to remove the implant and the scar tissue surrounding it. If the implants are going to be exchanged, your plastic surgeon will be very careful when positioning the new implants, to reduce the chance that capsular contracture will occur again.
There are several things a surgeon can do to minimize the risk of contracture occurring again. For example, positioning the implant beneath the muscle, instead of on top of it, can help reduce the risk for capsular contracture.
Breast Implant Exchange to Replace Too Big or Too Small Implants
In some cases, you might decide to have a breast implant exchange because you’re no longer happy about the size of your implants. Perhaps you first got the implants in the 1990’s or early 2000’s, when very large breasts were trending. Now that there’s more of a demand for smaller but perkier chests, you might want to trade your implants for a smaller size.
It could be that you got implants that were smaller than you wanted and have wanted to go up a size or two for some time, as well. Alternatively, you could be completely tired of having implants and want your plastic surgeon to remove them and not replace them at all.
Is it time to replace or exchange your breast implants? That’s something for you and your plastic surgeon to discuss and decide. Breast implant exchange will require another surgery, to remove the old implants and position the new ones. That means you’ll want to make sure you have the time to commit to recovering from the surgery and can bear to go through with a second procedure. Your plastic surgeon will also review your health and medical history to make sure you’re currently healthy enough for a breast implant exchange surgery.
No matter what you decide, it pays to work with the best surgeon possible. Based in Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas is one of the highest rated plastic surgeons in the country. He’s well known for his unique techniques that produce natural and beautiful results. Call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today.