American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Six reasons to get your breast implants replaced

six reasons to get your breast implants replaced

Breast implants don't have an expiration date, but they also won't last a lifetime. However, how often you replace your implants and why you decide to change them out will depend on individual factors such as your age, health, personal preferences and the expertise of your plastic surgeon.

Most women won't decide to replace their breast implants within the ten-year mark and will be able to keep their implants in for a few decades. Only one in five women needs a breast replacement within 10 years.

Still, choosing the right surgeon has a big impact on this number and whether you will need to get a breast implant replacement. Typically, the more skilled your plastic surgeon is, the better longevity your breast implants will have. Scheduling follow-up exams and keeping track of your implants with self-exams can also increase their lifespan.

But what specific factors will result in the need for breast implant replacement? Each case is different, but in this post, I'll talk about six of the most popular reasons women decide to get their breast implants replaced.

Why should you consider getting your breast implants replaced?

Breast implant replacement is not uncommon. Many women choose to replace their implants, sometimes even before they're worn out.

You want to change the size of your implants

By far the largest reason for implant exchange is to get larger implants. When you first got your implants, you might have been happy with the results and liked the look of your new breasts.

Many women after a time felt that the size of their breasts could be a bit larger than what they originally had implanted. For this reason, some women choose to change the size of their breast implants. Whether you decide to get larger or smaller implants depends on your own preferences and your lifestyle. Revision surgery is a personal choice. Changing your implant size is not an issue, but it's best to talk with your surgeon about your options.

Your breasts are beginning to droop

Breasts naturally begin to droop with age, even if you have implants. It could take years for your breasts to begin to sag, as implants do lift the breasts and keep them looking perkier. Over time, though, gravity will take its toll and you will see noticeable differences in the appearance of your implants.

Rapid weight loss and even weight gain can also affect the look of your breasts. If you lose or gain a lot of weight all of a sudden, then you may see sagging or stretch marks around your implants.

Pregnancy can also be a major contributor to changes in the breasts as the amount of breast tissue expands during pregnancy and then shrinks after you give birth or you are no longer producing milk. This can affect the shape of your breasts.

Regardless of why your breasts have started to change position, you might want to improve the appearance of your implants and rejuvenate your breasts when they start to sag. Your doctor can perform a breast lift and replace your implants to make your breasts look more symmetrical and perky after they begin to droop.

You have developed capsular contracture

Capsular contracture is a complication that can occur in women who have breast implants any time after the initial surgery. This is caused by the contracture of the membrane that forms around breast implants after they have been implanted resulting in a hardening of the breast as the implant itself is constricted by circumferential compression. Capsular contracture not only causes the breast to feel harder but also makes the breasts look more uneven and sets them higher up on the chest. In some cases, women might feel that their chest has tightened which results in discomfort and some tenderness.

The chances of getting capsular contracture are not high. Only around ten percent of breast augmentation patients develop this complication. If you do end up with this complication, you will typically notice it within two years. Some women notice hardening within six months while others will notice it a few years later. There is no way to predict who will develop capsular contracture or when it will occur.

To address capsular contracture, your breast implants will need to be replaced and a capsulectomy will need to be performed to remove the scar tissue that is squeezing the implant.

The exact cause of capsular contraction is unknown and is probably the result of several factors, the majority of which are not under your doctor's control. We do however feel that bacteria and inflammation play a major contributing role in capsular contracture.

Your breast implants have ruptured or deflated

This is an obvious reason to get your implants replaced. When your saline implants deflate, you will see a visible change in your breast shape and size. Implant deflation usually happens quickly but can occur over time.

You'll want to replace your implants as soon as you can if this occurs. You should visit your doctor to schedule surgery. The sooner you do this, the better.

The rupture of silicone implants can be harder to notice or appreciate because the gel-like material of these implants allows them to keep their shape even when they rupture. You won't be able to diagnose the rupture yourself, and this is why it's important to have your implants checked over annually. An MRI is the best way to find out if your silicone implant is still holding up.

This can seem like a hassle, but you don't want to keep a ruptured implant in, even if it's made of silicone. It's better to replace your implant and deal with this issue quickly.

Your implants have started to ripple

Rippling is another possible reason you might want to get a breast implant replacement. Saline breast implants that have been overfilled when placed can start to visibly ripple on the edges of the implants. Ripples can be noticeable on implants, especially in patients with thin tissues.

For some women, this can create self-consciousness and a lack of confidence. In most cases, rippling happens with saline implants but can also be seen with silicone implants. The newest generation of implants have a more cohesive gel and are filled more fully which has cut down on the amount of rippling that now occurs.

There are some great benefits that come with saline implants, though. You should discuss all your options with your surgeon before getting any revisions done to your implants.

You are unhappy with the results of your breast augmentation

Finally, some women are simply unhappy with the results of their breast augmentation. This is why it is so important to find the best doctor in your area and have a one-on-one consultation with them. With proper communication, you have a better chance of getting the look you are going for and liking the results of your surgery. A board-certified surgeon will also place the breast implant in the correct way which will prevent asymmetry and shifting of the implants.

Many women get breast augmentation surgery to correct existing unevenness in their breasts. Surgery won't make your breasts perfect, but it can help even out your chest and make your breasts more symmetrical if the right implants are chosen.

When a surgery results in more asymmetry or noticeable asymmetry, however, then you might decide to get your implants replaced to correct this cosmetic problem. In some situations, the shape and structure of your rib cage might also contribute to unevenness, so this will have to be accounted for.

Replacing the implant with the correct size can help make the breasts more even and result in better outcomes for patients who are unhappy with their original procedure.

How can you find the right doctor for your breast implant replacement?

Breast implant replacement surgery needs to be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. In addition, you should schedule an in-person consultation with your chosen doctor. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons website can be helpful in finding board-certified plastic surgeon in your area.

If you are interested in learning more about breast implants and breast augmentation surgeries also look through the ASPS website. They have all the best, most up-to-date information about these procedures. You deserve to feel confident and happy when it comes to your appearance!

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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