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Breast Implant Replacement
Breast Implant Replacement Surgery – Gold Coast Queensland
Breast implant removal and replacement is a procedure performed to replace breast implants. This can be done for a number of reasons. If your breast implants have been in place for a long time or you have a concern, a breast implant changeover to newer implants may be a good option. It’s also a great way to remove and change the size of your breast implants if you’re unhappy with the size, shape, texture, or positioning of your current implant.
Breast implant exchange aims to:
- Replace old implants
- Remove ruptured implant/s
- Correct the size, shape or texture of the implant
- Improve breast distortion due to implant movement over time
- Improve Breast Implant Illness symptoms
Am I a good candidate for Breast Implant Replacement?
Breast shape changes for many reasons. Over time, gravity, pregnancy and fluctuating weight can have dramatic effects on the shape of women’s breasts. Because implants increase the weight of the breasts these changes can be more pronounced in women who’ve previously undergone breast augmentation surgery.
These changes can be corrected with a replacement of implants, or sometimes with a breast lift. Speak to your surgeon about your issues and show him what you like or dislike most. Then, you can both determine the right decision for having your breasts corrected.
You may be a good candidate for the removal and replacement of breast implants if:
- You wish to increase or decrease the weight and volume of your breasts implants
- You are unhappy with the appearance of your breast implants
- Have one or more ruptured implants
- Are wanting new implants due to their old age
- Are wanting to achieve a more natural breast shape and look
- Your implants have moved position and are too close together (Symmastia) or too far apart
- Your implants have dropped and your breasts are sagging
- Your breast implants are dropping below your natural boob or “bottoming out”
- You have problems with infection, capsular contracture, asymmetry, displacement or leaking silicone.
- You are suffering from breast implant illness
- Your implants have been recalled
Dr Mark Doyle always conducts a preliminary examination to advise you on the best course of action. This procedure may be subject to Medicare and Health Insurance rebates.
What are the Benefits of Breast Implant Replacement?
There are many benefits of exchanging your breast implants, these include:
- Smaller implants may improve posture and relieve back, neck and shoulder pain caused by heavy implants.
- If your breasts are different sizes or shape, replacing your implants can create symmetry.
- Removal of breast implants and their capsules can reduce the risk of ALCL, a type of cancer associated with capsules of textured breast implants, and the risk of developing breast implant illness.
- Breast implant replacement can attract Medicare and Health Insurance rebates.
Breast Implant Replacement Before and After
What’s involved in breast implant replacement surgery?
Breast implant removal/replacement is performed under general anaesthesia and takes about an hour to complete. It is usually performed as a day procedure in hospital. In most instances, patients may return to work within 2 to 3 weeks. Strenuous exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided for 6 weeks.
What happens during En Bloc breast implant replacement surgery?
The En Bloc Implant Removal technique is one which the breast implant and its surrounding scar tissue (capsule) are removed in one piece. Removing the breast capsule and implant together reduces the risk of any fluid or silicone surrounding the implant (but contained within the capsule) from leaking into your breast tissue. Dr Doyle is an expert at En bloc Removal and can discuss your suitability for this technique.
“My preference is to remove implants in an “en bloc” type of procedure whenever possible as it limits the patients exposure to the implants and its surface and potential silicone exposure if their implants are ruptured,” says Dr Mark.
After the implant and capsule have been removed, they will be replaced by the new implants. This may involve changing the position of the implants from on top of the muscle (sub-glandular) to beneath the muscle (sub-pectoral) or vice versa. From here, internal sutures are often used to help reshape the breasts and hold the new implants in place.
“I have a strong commitment to maintaining absolute sterility at all times. I routinely change my surgical gloves any time I am handling a new breast implant to prevent the risk of contamination,” says Dr Mark.
When you have a consultation with Dr Mark at Gold Coast Plastic Surgery, he will explain your options to you, and happily answer any questions you may have. If you would like to know more about breast implant replacement or to book a consultation with Dr Doyle, please contact us today.
How do I choose the size of my new breast implants?
When exchanging implants, many patients seek to change the size of their implant. Most slightly increase their implant size. When you have a consultation with Dr Mark Doyle at Gold Coast Plastic Surgery, he will explain your options to you, and happily answer any questions you may have.
Dr Doyle uses Crisalix 3D imaging technology in all his breast implant replacement consultations. This allows you to trial different implants sizes and shapes to imagine how they will fit with your body shape.
This 3D before-and-after technology gives you and Dr Mark a preview of the expected cosmetic results from your breast augmentation procedure.
“I use 3D planning tools on all breast patients to accurately assess breast volume and asymmetry prior to surgery and to allow the patients to have more input into the results they wish to achieve with their surgery. 3D simulation of results using different size implants can be invaluable in making an informed decision regarding breast size,” says Dr Doyle.
When do implants need to be removed or replaced?
There is still a common misconception that breast implants will need to be lifted, removed or replaced every couple of years. This myth has prevented many women from undergoing breast augmentation surgery. This is mainly because they worry about future surgeries and the associated long-term costs.
When undergoing the initial breast augmentation surgery, you may have been told to expect a replacement after ten years. Fortunately, this is not always the case. An FDA study estimated that only ‘one in five’ patients require a revision procedure after ten years following their initial augmentation. This means that 80% of patients are doing fine with their current implants.
If you don’t notice any cosmetic issues immediately, you’re on the path to becoming one of the 80% of women who don’t require an implant replacement over the coming decade.
What is the average lifespan of breast implants?
The average lifespan of breast implants is 20 years—although some have been known to last up to 40 years. About 20% of women who undergo breast augmentation will have their breast implants replaced or repaired within ten years of their first surgery.
Replacing Different Types of Breast Implants
Replacing Textured Implants with Smooth Implants
Textured implants are able to grip and stay firmly within the surrounding pocket, making them resemble anatomical breast shapes. These implants are more likely to wrinkle and pucker and are difficult to remove during revision surgery as they become attached to the surrounding tissue. Studies have shown that patients with textured implants face a higher risk of a rare form of cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Although textured implants were originally designed to prevent capsular contracture, it is now clear that capsules form readily around textured implants. Due to this, Dr Doyle now chooses to only implant using smooth implants. Some patients are seeking to remove their old textured implants and replace them with smooth implants.
Smooth implants usually have thinner shells which means they can move more freely in the breast pocket. They are commonly used to replace textured implants in cases where the textured implant has wrinkled or buckled. Smoother implants tend to last longer than textured ones and have less risk of rippling. There is also no current evidence of patients with smooth implants associated with having BIA-ALCL.
What is the recovery like after breast implant replacement surgery?
Most patients leave the hospital on the day of their surgery. For the first 2 to 3 weeks you should take it easy, with no strenuous exercise or activity. After this time, you should be capable of returning to work. However, we recommend you wait another 3 weeks before recommencing exercise.
How much does breast implant replacement cost?
There is a chance that the cost of your new implants will be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty if your implants rupture or leak. In some instances, a portion of the surgery costs will also be covered by Medicare. For implants that aren’t covered, the final cost of the procedure will vary between patients. Surgeon, hospital and anaesthetist fees will all need to be factored into the final cost of your surgery again. The only way to get a more accurate view of what you should budget for is to schedule a consultation with Dr Doyle.
You can access our list of pricing resources to find about more about the cost of breast implant replacement surgery:
Will Medicare or Insurance cover the cost of my Breast Implant Removal or exchange?
Health insurance policies might cover the cost of breast implant removal when it meets the policy’s criteria for medical necessity. Medical necessity is defined as a leaking silicone breast implant or severe capsular contracture that causes breast hardness or pain.
Replacement procedures will only attract a small Medicare rebate if the removal alone would cause unacceptable deformity or the original implant was inserted in the context of breast cancer or developmental abnormality. Learn more here, Will Medicare Cover Me?
Commonly Combined With
Breast Implant Replacement combines well with Tummy Tuck surgery for total body transformation. The combination of breast and tummy surgery is called a Mummy Makeover and is incredibly popular with women who have finished their families and want to restore their pre-pregnancy bodies.
There are many benefits of combining multiple procedures into one surgery date. These include having only one recovery period, saving on out of pocket costs, reducing anaesthesia related risks and also having more dramatic transformation.
What are the risks of breast implant replacement surgery?
Like any major surgery, breast implant replacement surgery poses a risk of bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to anaesthesia. Other potential complications will be discussed at your consultation, these include:
- Unfavourable scarring
- Poor healing of incisions
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation (temporary or permanent)
- Wrinkling of the skin over the implant
- Seroma (fluid accumulation under the skin or around the implant)
- Capsular contracture
- Implant leakage or rupture
- Development of capsular contracture
- Implant rupture or deflation
- Implant malposition or movement like bottoming out
- Development of autoimmune issues or BII – breast implant illness symptoms
- Potential Risks of developing ALCL cancer – associated with some textured implants
Breast Implant Replacement FAQS
Can my old implants be removed and new ones placed in the same surgery?
Generally, the removal and replacement will take place during one surgery. However, in some instances, two surgeries will be required. If an infection is one of the reasons why your implants need to be removed, you will need to wait a month or two before they can be replaced. Some patients even use this time to see how they would potentially feel with a smaller bust.
Is Implant rupture or deflation common?
Fortunately, the deflation or rupture of a breast implant is a rare occurrence and only affects a small number of breast implants. Older breast implants have a much higher rate of rupture than the current ones on the market. This is because of the increased quality of implants made today. Today’s implants are extremely resistant to rupture due to the technological breakthrough of high-strength cohesive (HSC) silicone gel.
If your implant does rupture or leak, pain and further complications can arise. The best way to resolve this is with revisional surgery.
Will there be additional scarring after breast implant replacement surgery?
During your surgery, Dr Doyle will aim to use the same incisions sites as your last surgery if it’s possible to do so. This way, any scarring can be kept to a minimum. How visible your scars are will again depend on how well you care for the wounds after surgery. This includes keeping the fresh scars out of direct sunlight.
Will I also need a lift when I replace my implants?
This is mainly dependent on skin elasticity. Age and the weight of your current implants can all have an effect on the breast skin. If your breasts have begun to sag slightly or the nipples are pointing downwards, incorporating a breast lift into your surgery will produce better results.
Will the risks and complications be the same as breast augmentation?
Yes, the potential risks and complications that could occur will be the same as those associated with breast augmentation. Dr Doyle will take you through all of these details again during your consultation, ensuring you know exactly what to expect. He will also take you through the necessary aftercare instructions again too.
What is capsular contracture?
Capsular contracture refers to when the implant becomes encapsulated in scar tissue, causing pain and deformity in the breast. When this occurs, your breast implants feel harder and can change position and/or shape. In this instance, a breast implant replacement (or removal) procedure can alleviate pain caused by the hardened tissue. If the implants have been removed due to capsular contracture, the implants may be placed in a different breast pocket (usually under the muscle) to prevent the recurrence of contracture.
What about if I suffer from BII – Breast Implant Illness symptoms?
Over time, some women develop medical symptoms that they believe are related to their breast implants. These health conditions include chronic fatigue, cognitive issues, and muscle pains. The FDA is yet to find evidence that breast implants are associated with these symptoms, despite that they are described by thousands of women with breast implants.
This, unfortunately, means there is no existing policy that will cover breast implant removal due to systemic illnesses caused by implants. If you feel that your body is reacting poorly to the implant, you should seek removal and not a replacement of the breast implant.
“I see a lot of patients with breast implant illness and I am a firm believer that the condition exists. It can be very debilitating. It’s logical that as everybody is different, some patients will react to the breast implants differently to others. Compared to the number of implants that have been inserted it is an uncommon condition. My personal experience is that the majority of patients with this condition have a significant improvement in symptoms when the implants and their capsules are removed,” says Dr Mark.
What is BIA-ALCL Cancer?
In 2011, the FDA announced that breast implants might cause a rare type of lymphoma called BIA-ALCL – Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. This is a rare tumour that can occur in the scar tissue (capsule) surrounding breast implants.
Some women with concerns regarding the risk of this type of cancer often consider the removal of their implants or consider replacing their implant to one with a lower risk of this tumour developing. This cancer is associated with capsules of textured breast implants only, and not smooth ones.
Keep in mind there’s a lot to consider when deciding whether or not to undergo surgery. The most important decision you make is what surgeon you choose to operate on you. To ensure you’re in good hands, you must choose an ASAPS member. ASAPS members are fully qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons from Australia and New Zealand who are Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS). Ask your surgeon about their qualifications.
Book a consultation
About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plast) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon
Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.
Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing Breast, Body, Face and Nose surgery. As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is driven by an intense passion for helping patients achieve a happier, more beautiful self through advanced cosmetic surgery procedures.
He maintains a strong commitment to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.
Do Your Research
What to Bring to Your Plastic Surgeon Consultation
- Bring a friend or relative for support and discussion regarding your choices
- Take notes and read all provided information thoroughly
- Read about what to expect in your Initial Surgery Consultation
Book Your Plastic Surgery Consultation
- Get a Referral from your GP or specialist – this is advised but not required to book a consultation with Dr Doyle.
- Email us or call on 07 5598 0988 to arrange your consultation appointment.
- Pay your $285 Consultation Fee in advance to secure your consultation.
Please contact us to arrange to book a consultation with our Specialist Plastic Surgeon or to speak with our Patient Care Advisor.
*DISCLAIMER: All information on Gold Coast Plastic Surgery website is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Results can vary significantly and depend on individual patient circumstances. All images on this website, unless specified as real patient images, are stock images used for illustrative purposes only. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your surgeon. Book a consult for details regarding your cosmetic surgery procedure.