Understanding the Reasons for Breast Implant Removal or Revision

Implants may need to be removed or replaced for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons is breast implant rupture, which can occur due to trauma or a breakdown in the integrity of the implant shell, causing the implant to leak. Other reasons include bottoming out or double bubble formation.

If an implant ruptures, it causes a change in the shape of the breast. However, most implant ruptures are silent and are first detected during a routine breast scan. Capsular contracture is another side effect associated with breast implants, causing the breasts to harden. In the past, there have been various theories about the causes of capsular contracture, but the most common theory is that it’s linked to implant infection or contamination.

There are various stages of capsular contracture, ranging from a mild hardening of the breast implant (and breast) to a more noticeable hardening, pain and distortion of the breast.

A classification system, known as the Baker Classification system, can be used to grade the severity and extent of capsular contracture. Grade 3 and 4 capsular contracture can result in the breast taking on an abnormal shape, leading to noticeable differences between the two breasts.

Here are some of the other reasons why breast implants are removed:

  • A personal decision not to have implants anymore
  • The decision to replace the implants with a natural alternative such as breast fat grafting
  • Eliminate the symptoms associated with breast implant illness
  • The implant contours have become visible due to thin skin
  • The decision to undergo a breast lift or breast reduction

Here are some of the other reasons why breast implants are replaced:

  • The decision to change from textured to smooth implants
  • The desire to change breast implant volume
  • Unwanted visibility of the implant contour
  • A change in implant position
  • To correct breast abnormalities such as double bubble or waterfall deformity

When undergoing breast implant removal or revision, there are various factors that need to be considered, including:

  • The quality of your native breast tissue
  • Degree of sagginess
  • Whether or not you want the implants to be removed and replaced at the same time
  • Placing the implants back into the same pocket or not
  • How the breasts will be affected after removal

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A consultation with Dr Chaithan Reddy can be arranged at any one of his North Shore, Central Coast, and Norwest Plastic surgery clinics to discuss all of the above factors pertaining breast implant replacement or revision surgery.

Breast Revision Surgery: What You Can Expect

The procedure takes approximately 1 – 2 hours depending on your specific requirements. The duration of your surgery will be longer if you are also having a breast lift procedure to restore your breast shape following implant removal, or if you are also having a breast fat grafting procedure to optimise the results of your breast implant revision surgery.

Dr Reddy performs Breast implant revision surgery in fully accredited hospitals in Sydney and the Central Coast region. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. Once you are asleep, the incision will be typically made in the inframammary crease (under breast crease) and the breast implant capsule will be identified. The need to undertake capsulectomies will largely depend upon the state of the breast implant capsules and the reason for the implant removal. Factors that will be considered include the presence of capsular contracture, infection, and the extent of calcification.

If your implants are being replaced, it is generally advisable that the new implants be inserted into a new pocket. This minimises the risk of potential implant rotation, malposition and infection in the future. The type and volume of your new implants would have also been discussed at your pre-operative consultation. In some instances breast fat grafting may be desired or needed to optimise the results of your breast implant revision surgery. In women with rippling or very thin skin, fat grafting can serve as a very effective tool in addressing unwanted implant visibility.

A breast lift (mastopexy) procedure may also have been planned during your breast implant revision surgery. This is because the presence of implants can change the shape of your breasts over time and this is more likely if you previously had larger implants in place. A mastopexy procedure will lift and restore the position and contours of your native breast tissue. The procedure is also more likely required if you have chosen not to have your implants replaced or if you have elected to downsize your implants. This is because the resulting loose breast tissue that follows implant removal will require tightening in order to optimise breast contour.

Breast Implant Removal & Revision Surgery FAQs

AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR BREAST IMPLANT REVISION?

WHAT INCISIONS ARE REQUIRED FOR BREAST IMPLANT REMOVAL OR REVISION?

DO I NEED BREAST CAPSULECTOMY SURGERY?

WHERE ARE BREAST IMPLANTS PLACED?

WHAT IMPLANTS SHOULD I CHOOSE?

CAN I RESTORE BREAST VOLUME AFTER IMPLANT REMOVAL WITHOUT NEW IMPLANTS?

DOES MEDICARE COVER BREAST IMPLANT REVISION OR REPLACEMENT?

HOW LONG WILL MY HOSPITAL STAY BE?

HOW MUCH DOWNTIME IS REQUIRED?

WHAT WILL MY AFTERCARE INVOLVE?

WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO SEE THE FINAL RESULTS?

Breast Implant Revision Surgery

Every patient is unique and results may vary. Surgery and all health-regulated services carry risks, which need to be discussed with your doctor to ensure you are fully informed and have realistic expectations.

If you would like to read more about the link between breast implants and ‘BIA-ALCL’ you can read Dr Reddy’s blog post here.

If you would like to read more about the role of fat grafting with breast implant revision surgery, please refer to our breast fat grafting section.