Replacement of Breast Implants

Replacement Of Your Breast Implants

at The Staiano Clinic, Birmingham

FREE Webinar - How To Choose Your Implants For Your Breast Enlargement

If you are considering breast enlargement, join this webinar where Jonathan Staiano will talk about how to go about choosing the breast implants that are right for you to suit your build and give you the result that you desire.

Replacement of Breast Implants in Birmingham

The only plastic surgery clinic in the UK specialising in breast enlargement

These days breast implants are built to last forever and all of the implants that we use here at The Staiano Clinic have a lifetime warranty (see warranty of implants).  However, there are reasons that breast implants may need to be replaced and so you should consider both the financial and physical implications of this when contemplating breast enlargement surgery.

I always advise patients to minimise the number of operations they have on their breasts because every operation will involve more scarring.  Furthermore, while we are always careful to avoid removing any breast tissue, there may be small amounts of breast tissue removed and so it gets more and more difficult to get adequate cover over implants in patients who have had multiple operations on their breasts.

For this reason, you should think carefully before having replacement of your breast implants and make sure that you are likely to gain a significant improvement which will outweigh the potential risks.

* Thank you so much for my surgery, very happy with the results.
On my consultation after the first two minutes of meeting you, I was sure that you were the surgeon I wanted and would not need to look anywhere else. You were caring and supportive, very professional. I would recommend you to anyone at any time.
Thank you very much.
– Words by KM - Replacement of Breast Implants and Lift

Possible Reasons For Replacement Of Your Breast Implants

Replacement of Breast Implants for Capsular Contracture

Capsular contracture is probably the most common reason for requiring replacement of breast implants.

Capsular contracture is hardening of the implants and is something that happens over time.

It usually takes years for capsular contracture to develop and it does not need to be treated unless it is causing you problems.

Treatment involves removal of the capsule (capsulectomy) and replacement of the implants and it is usually best to wait as long as possible before having surgery to replace the implants because a new capsule will start to form around the new implants as soon as they are replaced.

If you would like more details about the treatment of capsular contracture and replacement of your breast implants, please contact us.

You can read more about capsular contracture here.

Replacement of Breast Implants for Rupture

People often worry about implant rupture, but with modern implants the chances of rupturing your implant are quite low. 

In the UK, breast implants are usually filled with silicone gel.  In the USA, there are still saline implants being used, and if the shell of these implants fails, then the implant will deflate with an obvious loss of volume and shape.

The silicone gel within implants is known as cohesive gel, which means that it will not run if the shell breaks (also known as form stable).

Think of it like cutting a jelly baby in two, or as the Americans would call it – a gummy bear.

This means that if the shell of the implant ruptures, you often cannot tell that it has happened because the implant may keep its shape.  This is known as a ‘silent rupture’.  

Do I need a scan to check my implants?

Replacement of Implants for Bigger Implants

It is very common for patients to be happy with their implants, but feel they would be even happier if they were a little bit bigger.

The majority of my patients say this but I am careful not to compensate for this by using bigger implants.

Choosing the right implants in the first place takes care and consideration.

The diameter of your breast has to be measured and an implant of the appropriate shape and projection needs to be chosen in keeping with the dimensions of you breast and your frame (you can watch my webinar for more details about this).

It is not simply about choosing the volume.

This is why I do not advocate that my patients do the ‘rice test’ at home, because all this tells you about is volume.

When patients say to me that they would like bigger implants, they are usually happy with the result of their breast augmentation and would like the same result but a bit bigger.

However, this is not possible.

If you replace your implants with bigger implants, then the bigger implants will be different in some way.

They will either have to be wider than your original implants or they will have to be a higher projection than your current implants.

This means that you will look different to your current result in some way.

You should be aware that most hospital’s aftercare policies will not cover the costs of surgery that is purely to change the size of the implants which is why you should spend time with your surgeon before the operation to make sure you are happy with the implant choice.

This is why we would always rather see you two, three or four times to go over everything before your surgery rather than having and anxieties or regrets afterwards.

Higher profile implants:

If you feel like your current implants are not full enough, then it may be reasonable to replace them with higher profile implants of the same width (assuming that your implants are not already the highest profile).

However, be careful, because higher profile implants do give a different ‘look’ to your breast which you may not like as much and so you need to be comfortable that the replacement will be beneficial.

Wider implants:

If you do not want to have more fullness, particularly in the upper part of your breast, then you can keep the same profile of implant and have a bigger, wider implant.

In my view, the width is the most important dimension of the implant and I take great care to make sure that the width of the breast implants that I use compliment the width of the breast.

I am very careful not to use a breast implant that is too wide for your frame.  If you use an implant that is too wide, then two things can happen – it will stick out too far at the sides, or it will stick out too far across the middle.

If it sticks out too far at the sides (too much side boob) then your arm may rub against your breast.  You may be happy to accept this if you want the maximum size implant that you can have, but it can be uncomfortable and you run the risk of being able to see or feel the implant in this area.

If your breast implants stick out too far across the middle, then this can obliterate your cleavage and create a condition called synmastia (or symmastia or uniboob).  This is when there is a web between the breasts and there is not a crisp demarcation between the breasts in the cleavage area.  

This is unsightly and difficult to correct and so is best avoided if possible. 

So be careful not to choose breast implants that are too wide for your frame.

Replacement of Breast Implants

Don’t take our word for it!

Replacement of Implants for Smaller Implants

Replacement of breast implants for smaller implants is usually for different reasons to replacement of implants for bigger implants.

Patients who want smaller implants are usually unhappy with their figure and no longer feel comfortable or in proportion.

Large breast implants will stretch the skin of the breast and so if the implants are downsized, then this can leave the breast with excess skin which can hang down and droop. For this reason, it is not uncommon to combine the downsizing of implants with a breast lift to improve the shape of the breasts.

Removal of Breast Implants

For some people, their breast implants have served a purpose in that they have restored confidence and self-esteem for many years and they are now in a stage of their lives where they do not feel that they want them any more.

For others, there can be concerns around the implants making them feel unwell and there have been large studies looking at the medical effects of having silicone breast implants. There is no evidence that breast implants cause any medical problems despite claims that some patients developed connective tissue diseases such as SLE and rheumatoid arthritis after having implants.  There are cases of patients feeling generally unwell with tiredness and malaise, who report that they feel better after they have their implants removed.

Just because there is no medical evidence for an association at the moment does not mean that there isn’t one.

In the same way that downsizing implants can lead to excess breast skin and droopiness that may require a breast lift, so removal of implants can be combined with a breast lift to improve the shape and the cosmetic outcome.  

However, if the cosmetic appearance is not particularly important, then it is perfectly reasonable to remove the breast implants and allow the skin to settle and re-drape. If the result is cosmetically unacceptable, then you can always choose to have a breast lift later.

Replacement of breast implants because they have been in for so long

I see many patients who come to have their implants replaced because they have been in for 10 years and they have been told that they need to be replaced every 10 years.  It is not unreasonable to come and have your implants checked out at 10 years, in fact I offer all my patients a yearly appointment to keep an eye on their implants.  However, the implants do not necessarily need to be changed if you do not have any problems with them.

It may be that at around 10 years, your implants have started to go hard and you could have capsular contracture that would warranty replacement of your implants.  However, I tend to advise patients to leave them as long as they can before undergoing capsulectomy and implant replacement because another capsule comes quicker second time around (see capsular contracture blog post).

It may be that you are worried your implants could be ruptured.  If you have had any changes in terms of a change in size or shape or any lumps appearing, then you should probably have a scan to check it out. However, if you don’t have any symptoms and just want a scan for reassurance, then this can be arranged, but be aware that scans are not 100% reliable.

So you see, I tend to be guided by my patients when considering replacing breast implants that have been in for a long time.  If you have a problem with your implants or are concerned, then we can certainly arrange to replace your implants.  However, if you just want advice and reassurance, then come to the clinic and lets us go through your options with you.

I never imagined my breast surgery would go so smoothly, even the recovery has been amazing. Jonathan is exceptional and has helped me to achieve just what I wanted with minimal fuss. Fabulous surgeon. Would absolutely recommend anyone to go to the Staiano Clinic if they are considering surgery.

– Words by LM - breast surgery patient

What should I do if I am worried about my breast implants?

If you have any questions or concerns about your breast implants, your first port of call should be with the original surgeon or hospital where you had your surgery.  

They are likely to have your medical records with details of your surgery and the implants used.

This is useful information, particularly if you are replacing your implants so that you can plan for any potential in size or shape following your surgery.

The important pieces of information to know prior to replacement of implants are:

The size (volume) of your implants
The shape of your implants – teardrop or round
The profile of your implants – low, moderate, high or extra high
The plane of your implants – above or below the muscle
Details of any other surgery to your breast – such as breast lift

If you are unable to see your original surgeon, then you should look for another surgeon in your area who may be able to help you.

Replacement of breast implants can be challenging surgery, so you should look for a plastic surgeon who specialises in cosmetic breast surgery. You can get a copy of my book ‘Never Accept A Lift From Strangers – how to choose the best plastic surgeon for your cosmetic breast surgery’ for advice and information about how to go about finding the most appropriate surgeon.

If there have been changes in your breast and you are unsure whether it is due to your implants or your breast tissue, then you could visit your GP as he or she will be the best person to advise whether you would need to see a breast surgeon if there are any concerns about breast lumps or breast cancer (you can read in my book the difference between a breast surgeon and a plastic surgeon who performs cosmetic breast surgery).

If you don’t need a face to face consultation at this stage, then you could always tune in to one of my Facebook Live sessions at 7pm on Tuesday evenings. You can ask questions directly or email Laura beforehand using the hashtag #AskJJ.

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