For a woman who has undergone breast augmentation surgery or even a breast lift with an enlargement, it is not necessarily one and done with regard to the implants. That is, there is a substantial likelihood that those aren’t the last pair of implants that she is going to have in her lifetime.
First of all, breast implants are not permanent medical devices and will not last forever if given long enough. At some point in time, they will either need to be replaced (implant exchange) or removed due to rupture or loss of integrity. It has been my experience that most women, even those in their 70’s, elect to have new implants put back in again rather than have them removed permanently. They just don’t want to be walking around without “breasts”.
This is not the only reason for changing out breast implants, a type of breast revision surgery. Some of the other reasons that women choose or need to obtain new implants include:
1) a desire to change their breast size – usually going bigger; rarely do they elect to go smaller
2) switching their type of implant from saline to silicone; the reverse, going from silicone to saline is extremely rare
3) a desire to alter the shape and projection of their breasts such as going to a higher profile implant to obtain more projection
4) to replace very old implants with newer but similar ones
5) to treat hardness or irregularities that have developed around the implants such as significant capsular contracture
6) development of infection (exceedingly rare)
This breast revision surgery is typically associated with minimal initial postoperative discomfort and is a far easier and more pleasant experience than the initial breast augmentation or breast lift with implants. I have found this to be almost universally true in my practice over more than 25 years.
The following patient of mine exemplifies a few of the reasons why women electively decide to pursue breast implant exchange surgery. At age 18 she underwent a breast augmentation that involved the submuscular placement of smooth surfaced moderate profile saline breast implants with 240cc on the left and 265cc on the right (Fig A, C and E). This gave her the shape and “C” cup that she had wanted so that she was very happy with the results.
After several years and experiencing no problems whatsoever, she decided that she wanted her breasts to be even larger and to also switch to the much more natural feeling silicone breast implants. For her breast revision, she had placement of smooth surfaced ultra high profile silicone breast implants with 360cc on the left and 400cc on the right (Fig B, D and F). There was virtually no discomfort following surgery and she went back to work within a few days. The results were just what she had desired and she was extremely happy.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona