For years, many breast augmentation patients were told that they had to have their implants removed and replaced every ten years to safeguard against wear and tear. While some patients are as dedicated to changing their implants as they are to changing their oil, not all patients have to have this surgical maintenance on such a strict schedule.
Patients that need to have maintenance removal and replacement surgery typically have experienced a situation that would prompt such surgery. Typical situations include a leaking saline implant or the rupture of a silicone gel implant, the buildup of scar tissue in which the body forms a physical scar tissue barrier between the implant and the body, or the implant simply no longer looks good.
Saline Implants. When a saline implant leaks, the implant deflates quickly. Results are noticeable, and most patients will have a significant size difference between their breasts. Patients in this predicament should have a consult with their plastic surgeon, who will likely schedule surgery pretty quickly for a replacement. Some patients choose to trade in their saline implants for silicone gel when this situation arises and should discuss their desire to switch with their surgeon.
Silicone Gel Implants. When a silicone gel implant ruptures or leaks, it is not as noticeable as a saline implant leak. The silicone gel used in modern implants is formulated not to seep out; the appearance of the implant often remains normal, even though there could be a small hole in the implant bag. Dr. Peterson recommends having MRIs of the breasts performed about every three years after surgery to check the implant for holes.
Scar Tissue Build Up. The body’s natural defense to a foreign object is to form scar tissue around it to protect the body from the foreign object- whether the implant is saline or silicone gel. This scar tissue build up may cause the breast to feel hard, which some patients find painful. As a result, many patients face the surgical removal of the excess scar tissue and need replacement implants.
A New Look. Some patients choose to have replacement surgery to change their implants out because they did not like the appearance of their breasts or want to get a bigger implant. If a patient does not like the appearance of their breasts or wants to switch from saline to silicone gel, they will get a replacement implant of the same size. Some aesthetic reasons patients switch include rippling, sagging or drooping, or other changes due to pregnancy or weight loss/gain.
If a patient wants a bigger sized implant, however, they should discuss their wish with their plastic surgeon in order to understand the complications that may occur as a result of upsizing.
For more questions about breast implant maintenance, give Dr. Peterson a call today at 785-234-9000.