Whether placed for cosmetic breast augmentation or for breast reconstruction, unfortunately, implants can cause problems or not look and feel as one wants them to. Whether an unsatisfactory or failed implant breast reconstruction is the result of a “botched” breast surgery, or issues inherent to the use of breast implants, there are options to correct or considerably improve even the most disappointing results. We have helped a large number of women who felt devastated because they had previously been told there was nothing more that could be done to improve a disappointing result or relieve chronic pain.
The goal of breast implant reconstruction revision is to improve the overall look and feel of a previous implant breast reconstruction. Revision may be desired when an initial effort at reconstruction was simply unsatisfactory, or because an initially acceptable breast implant reconstruction changed over time. Animation or dynamic deformity—when the breasts move unnaturally with physical activity—is another reason many women seek implant revision surgery. Breast implant revision surgery is not a single or standard procedure but a precisely tailored surgical procedure developed specifically to account for a patient’s preexisting anatomy, her goals and objectives.
Revision reconstruction often includes one or more of the following:
For women who no longer wish to live with implants or who have already had an implant removed, breast reconstruction with one’s own tissue can be an excellent option. Many women who have had discomfort with their breast implants report significant reduction in breast pain, and even the elimination of breast pain altogether, after their implants are removed and replaced with natural tissue. Studies have repeatedly shown that radiation increases the risk of complications and poor aesthetic outcomes for women who have implant-based breast reconstruction. Our experience mirrors that reported in the medical literature, so in our practice, for women who have had radiation as part of their treatment, we almost always suggest replacing an unsatisfactory implant reconstruction with a natural-tissue breast reconstruction.
Problems with breast implants are not unusual, and rarely do they reflect underlying issue with a person’s overall health or body.
A common myth suggests that breast implants need to be changed every ten years. While there is no need to routinely remove and replace breast implants regardless of how long they have been in a person’s body, problems with implants that require additional surgery including implant removal, occur increasingly the longer an implant has been in place. Though almost never life threatening, amongst the problems leading to unplanned surgery are: ruptures, deflations, capsular contracture, infection, implant migration, pain, unnatural or unsatisfactory appearance, rippling and asymmetry.
Data collected on breast implants by the Food and Drug Administration shows:
The FDA has several excellent publications on their website highlighting the more common problems that occur in the breast or chest area following implant placement; these include photographs documenting implant complications.