Breast implant revision refers to a set of different procedures aimed at rectifying unsuccessful cosmetic surgery. A small percentage of women don't get the cosmetic results they were hoping for after certain types of breast augmentation surgery, and an even smaller percentage of women experience pain or disfigurement. These patients turn to breast implant revision to get the results they initially wanted - or to completely reverse the first surgery.
A breast implant revision is all about giving the patient the breasts they initially wanted when they first decided to have implants. In some cases, changes are required for purely cosmetic reasons, but there are several clinical reasons why a revision might be sought, including rupture, rippling of the skin and defective materials. You should talk to your surgeon about your reasons for requiring breast implant revision surgery. It's also important to discuss the outcome you are looking for. Depending on this conversation, the surgeon may suggest removing the implants altogether - or replacing them. You might simply want to change the size or appearance of your breasts. Or, you may be worried about excessive scarring.
Breast implant revision involves several different techniques and procedures, depending on the issue and your desired results. The simplest cases involve removal or replacement. A general anaesthetic is administered, so you will be unconscious throughout.
The most common approach is to make a large incision underneath the breast. This is a good way of hiding the subsequent scar. The breast implant is pulled out through the opening. If the patient has decided against a replacement, the wound is stitched immediately. Some surgeons prefer to insert replacement implants through a large incision underneath the arm. An endoscope is used to guide the surgeon via the use of a tiny camera and a monitor. This will leave a visible scar, but your arm should hide it from view for most of the time. In rare cases, insertion through an opening around the areola is necessary. Your surgeon will talk you through the procedure in detail. They'll also tell you why this approach is necessary.
If you're unhappy with the scarring you've been left with after breast augmentation surgery, there are a few options. For example, steroid injections can sometimes soften the appearance of scars. There are also some very effective laser treatments available. If your scarring is severe, your surgeon might recommend surgery to physically remove the scar tissue. This type of surgery would usually be done under local anaesthetic.
The removal of breast implants isn't always necessary. For example, if you're unhappy with the location of your breasts, your surgeon may recommend a mastopexy - a breast lift. Fat grafting is another way to change the shape or position of existing implants. Some healthcare institutions use saline implants which are inserted through an incision near the tummy button. Once inside, the implants are carefully guided in place with the use of an endoscope (a thin wire with a camera attached to the end). When the implants are in the right place within the breasts, they're filled with saline - to a level in accordance with the patient's wishes.
Before any surgery will be considered, you will need an in-depth consultation. Your surgeon will want to understand your motivations and goals. For example, are you in pain? Are you self-conscious about your new breasts? What is your best possible outcome? You will probably be asked a range of lifestyle questions at this consultation. A selection of measurements will be taken, and a plan of action will be agreed. The surgery itself is pretty straightforward in most cases. Expect to be given a general anaesthetic. Most procedures take between one and three hours. But you might be in the operating theatre for longer if there are complications. If all goes well, you should be out of the hospital later that day.