Most women who choose to have breast augmentation are very happy with their results and enjoy their increased breast size for years. But in some cases, a woman may not like how her breasts look or feel after surgery, or may be having second thoughts, and starts to consider whether breast implant removal or replacement is a good solution.
I always encourage patience after any plastic surgery procedure, particularly breast augmentation. While your breasts will certainly look larger after surgery, your results can take several weeks before being fully visible. Skin and tissue in the breast area will need to repair itself, incisions will need to heal, and most importantly, the implants will need to “settle” into place.
For these reasons, it may be too soon within the first few weeks to seriously consider breast augmentation revision surgery. In all likelihood, once you are fully healed, any initial concerns you may have had will go away and you should be very happy with your result.
Still, there are certainly reasons why a breast augmentation revision procedure may be warranted soon after the initial surgery. A revision procedure is designed to address cosmetic concerns after the initial breast implant surgery and/or eliminate discomfort or other symptoms that may be occurring. The exact technique used will depend on what your plastic surgeon is focused on correcting.
Why Might You Need a Breast Revision?
For women considering revision surgery very shortly after their initial procedure, the biggest reason is personal preference. That is to say, there’s usually nothing “wrong” with their implants nor are they experiencing considerable discomfort. The patient may feel that her implants look too big, too small, or her breasts aren’t the shape she had envisioned.
Again, when it comes to personal preference, I usually counsel patients to give themselves time to get used to their new look. If they still feel that they want to make a change after 6 or more months following surgery, it’s worth a follow-up visit to discuss options.
Besides personal preference, there could be some complications that warrant a revision breast surgery sooner rather than later. For instance, while it’s very unlikely, a saline implant may rupture and need to be replaced.
Another complication that might occur is capsular contracture, a condition in which the thin layer of scar tissue that naturally develops around the breast implant tightens and constricts the implant, creating an unappealing look and possibly leading to discomfort. In some cases, implant massage techniques can minimize the effect of capsular contracture and avoid the need for a secondary surgery if begun in a timely basis and performed regularly.
While it is certainly possible, complications such as these very soon after a breast augmentation surgery are very uncommon.
If You Still Want to Make a Change
If you’ve given yourself time to get used to your new look but you’re still unhappy with the outcome, it’s time to get more serious about the possibility of a second surgery. Depending on your comfort level, you can consult further with your initial surgeon or choose to be evaluated by another plastic surgeon.
Generally speaking, revision breast surgery procedures require a higher level of skill and experience than an initial implant surgery. The plastic surgeon who performed your initial procedure may be comfortable performing a revision, or may encourage you to seek another plastic surgeon with more specialized experience in this area.
If the revision is being done based on your personal preference, be sure that you feel you are communicating well with the surgeon you choose to perform the revision procedure. Talk in-depth about your goals and the new look you envision.
For instance, if you feel your initial surgery resulted in implants that are too large, work with your plastic surgeon to understand how different implant sizes will affect your results. Imaging tools such as Vectra XT can help frame this discussion.
What to Expect During Surgery
A variety of techniques can be used when performing breast augmentation revision surgery. The surgery may involve revising the tissue around an implant, replacing one or both implants with a different size, shape or type, or using fat grafting to improve breast shape.
As with an initial breast augmentation, the surgery can be performed in an outpatient surgical facility or hospital setting. In most cases, the procedure will take longer than your initial implant surgery, typically between 1 to 4 hours. In terms of risks, a secondary procedure is comparable in terms of number and types of risks during and following surgery.
Recovery may be more involved following your revision surgery, depending on what surgical steps were taken. The plastic surgeon performing your revision will be able to prepare you for what to expect and walk you through any post-surgical steps you can take to help the healing process.
Dr. Davis completed his residency in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford University Medical Center and is proud to be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. After practicing for many years in the Bay Area, Dr. Davis has chosen private practice to allow him to provide the most personal and individualized patient care. Dr. Davis grew up in New England and graduated magna cum laude from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. He then moved to Rochester, NY to attend medical school at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where he was in inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society.