Breast implant revision is a cosmetic procedure to correct a deformity of the breast after augmentation. This procedure is common among women who have had their implants for many years, those who are experiencing the effects of gravity with age and patients who have had significant weight fluctuations that impact the appearance of the breasts. Breast implant revision can also be performed to remediate unsatisfactory results from the initial breast implant operation. This type of revision may be performed months, or years, after the initial implants are placed. Some of the most common causes for breast implant revision include:
Am I a Good Candidate for Breast Implant Revision?
GOOD CANDIDATES for breast implant revision are:
The following patients are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for breast implant revision:
How is Breast Implant Revision Performed?
Breast implant revision depends on the reasoning for the revision. Breast implant revisions are outpatient procedures usually performed under general anesthesia. Most revision procedures involve the surgeon using the original incision so no additional scarring will occur. Some of the most common techniques for breast implant revision are:
What is the Cost of Breast Implant Revision?
Breast implant revision can cost more than the initial breast augmentation depending on the issue. The higher cost is due to the fact that the procedure usually takes longer and is more complex than the initial placement. Breast implant revision can range from $3000 to $8000 but this does not include hospital fees. Some surgeons may offer to correct their work without charging a fee, depending on the length of time from the original surgery. However, there will still be anesthesiologist fees and facility fees. While breast augmentation is typically considered cosmetic, and is not covered under health insurance, some implant complications pose a health risk and certain insurance companies may cover at least a portion of the cost.
Recovery and Downtime
During the RECOVERY from a breast implant revision, the incisions will be covered with a bandage and drainage tubes may be attached to the breasts. Patients are often fitted with a compression garment to help control swelling and support the implant placement during healing. Patients can expect to feel the same level of discomfort as the initial breast surgery. The extent and duration of discomfort is contingent on the size and placement of the implants. If a breast lift is being performed in conjunction with implants, the recovery can take a little longer. On the contrary, if the implants are being removed completely, the recovery time may be brief.
Patients should take it easy for the first few days after surgery. However, it is important for patients to take short walks around the house to improve blood circulation and speed healing. The patient should sleep with their head and back elevated during the first week to help minimize swelling. External stitches will be removed at a follow-up appointment in about one week. Patients can usually return to light duty work within seven to ten days. However, it can take several weeks or months for all of the swelling to diminish and for the implants to settle into place. Numbness and/or tingling at the incision site can continue for weeks but will usually subside on its own. Full activities can usually resume after six weeks.
The results can be seen immediately and will continue to improve over a three-month period as the swelling subsides. The final results are usually long lasting and the new breast shape should remain stable if the patient does not have significant weight fluctuations or become pregnant. However, the weight of the implant can affect the shape of the breasts over time. To maintain the results, patients should consider wearing a bra with an underwire to properly support the implants and breast tissue.
Limitations and Risks of Breast Implant Revision
LIMITATIONS of what can be accomplished with breast implant revision result from the patient’s current anatomy and they can include:
The RISKS involved with breast implant revision that patients should be aware of include:
Listen to the Doctor
Revision breast surgery requires a plastic surgeon with experience in the entire spectrum of breast procedures. The surgeon should be board-certified and able to present “before and after photo” of his, or her, own breast implant revision patients. Patients should keep in mind that the amount of change that can, or should, be done during breast implant revision surgery may be recommended or limited for a reason. Therefore, patients should listen to the recommendations from their doctor for obtaining better-shaped breasts.