The Purpose Behind Breast Implant Exchange:

The good news is that you will not be undergoing breast augmentation on a regular basis. As long as you’re still happy with your results and there is no evidence of rupture or other complications, there will be no reason to replace your breast implants. Most women can expect their implants to last 10-15 years or longer. However, you should expect that you will most likely require a procedure to exchange your breast implants for a new pair at some point down the road.

What Is Breast Implant Exchange?

Breast implant exchange is the process of removing your current breast implants and exchanging them for a new pair. This allows you to change your implants' size, shape, type, or position.

Breast Procedures at Richard H. Lee Plastic Surgery

Dr. Lee conducting a breast consultation with a patient

Breast Implant Exchange With Dr. Lee

Whether you’d like to replace your breast implants for aesthetic reasons or due to a rupture, Dr. Richard H. Lee can help. Dr. Lee is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over a decade of experience performing breast augmentation revision procedures. He will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan to address your unique needs and goals.

You can learn about your options and receive individualized treatment recommendations by speaking with Dr. Lee in person. Please call our office today to schedule your consultation. We serve patients in Newport Beach and throughout Orange County, California.

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Before & After

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Common Reasons for Breast Implant Exchange

There is a wide range of reasons you may want to undergo a revision procedure to replace your breast implants. These include:

Dissatisfaction with your breast appearance 

This can occur for a variety of reasons. Some women were never happy with the cosmetic outcome of their breast augmentation procedure. Others find that their breast appearance has changed over time due to aging, pregnancy, or weight fluctuations.

Interference with physical activity 

Very large breasts can potentially make it challenging to live an active, athletic lifestyle. They can impact the range of motion of your arms during athletic activities. In addition, the extra weight in your breasts can pose challenges when running. This additional weight can also cause back or neck pain in some instances.

Changes in style over time 

Body trends change over time. A look that was considered desirable and attractive ten years ago may not be in style today. While very large implants were popular in the 90s, many women now choose a more moderate breast size when they undergo breast enhancement. Many women choose to undergo a revision procedure to ensure their appearance reflects the current styles and trends.

The desire for a different sized implant 

It can sometimes be difficult to envision how your new breasts will look before you undergo breast augmentation. If you feel that your initial implant was either too large or too small, you can exchange them for a more appropriate size for your frame.

Desire to switch from saline to silicone breast implants

There was a 14-year period where the FDA banned silicone implants. Advances in silicone breast implant technology and extensive testing regarding these devices' safety led the FDA to reverse this ban. Today’s silicone implants are extremely safe, and they usually look and feel more natural. Many women with saline implants choose to replace them with silicone implants to achieve a better cosmetic outcome.

Breast Implant Exchange After a Rupture

The silicone shells used with breast implants are very durable; however, there is still the possibility that they may rupture. In general, rupture rates tend to increase 1% per year, so the risk of rupture remains relatively small even after a decade. When a saline breast implant ruptures, the sterile saline solution filler will escape from the shell, resulting in a deflated breast appearance. This doesn’t present any danger to you since the saline solution is safely absorbed and eliminated by your body. However, you will want to replace the ruptured implant at your convenience to restore a more symmetrical breast appearance.

Modern silicone implants use a cohesive, form-stable material that will remain in the shell after a rupture. As a result, you typically will not be able to notice when a rupture occurs to a silicone breast implant. For this reason, the FDA recommends that you undergo periodic MRIs to ensure that the implant shell hasn’t ruptured. After extensive clinical studies, the FDA has determined that there is no danger to you if a silicone implant ruptures. Since your breast appearance will remain intact due to the form-stable silicone gel material, you can remove and replace the ruptured implant at your convenience.

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Breast Augmentation Revision To Address Poor Outcomes From A Prior Procedure

Breast augmentation complications are extremely rare when working with a highly skilled and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. However, all surgical procedures are associated with some degree of risk, and breast augmentation is no exception. In the event of a complication, you may require a revision procedure to correct the poor outcome.

Dr. Lee may recommend breast augmentation revision to address the following complications:

  • Capsular contracture – This condition occurs when a thick capsule or layer of scar tissue forms around the breast implant, causing it to feel firm and uncomfortable.
  • Rippling – This condition results in visible ripples or folds to your breast implants. Saline implants and very large implant sizes pose the greatest risk of rippling.
  • Implant malposition – Implants can fall out of position in several ways. They can fall out to the side (lateral displacement), sit too low (bottoming out), sit too high, or rest too close together (symmastia). Often, symmastia can result in a “uni-boob” appearance.
  • “Double bubble” – This occurs when the lower round implant edge becomes visible behind the breast fold, creating the appearance of a double crease.

Surgery for Breast Implant Exchange

The surgical procedure for a breast implant exchange varies in price and complexity based on the specifics of your case. In general, these procedures are more complex and take longer than initial breast augmentation procedures due to the following factors:

  • Thinning of overlying tissue
  • The presence of scar tissue in the region
  • Changes in blood supply to the nipple and the skin in the breast region

During your consultation, Dr. Lee will discuss the specifics of your procedure in greater detail after he has evaluated the condition of your breasts and your reasons for undergoing a revision procedure.

Contact Our Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Richard H. Lee is a Newport Beach plastic surgeon who can help patients who are looking to exchange their implants. No matter the reason you are looking to exchange your implants, he is available to help.

Please contact Dr. Richard H. Lee to schedule your breast augmentation revision consultation. We serve patients in Newport Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, and throughout Orange County, California.

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