Options for Old Breast Implants
by Cosmetics Expert Mike Dune
Most people are aware that breast implants — even today’s most high-tech versions — don’t last forever. Instead, both saline and silicone implants gradually weaken over time and may even begin to lose their shape. While old implants don’t generally pose any harm to a woman’s health, they may become more prone to rupturing or other complications. Misshapen implants can also affect a woman’s appearance, leading her to feelings of self-consciousness that may prompt her to do something. If your implants are getting older and you’re ready for a new look, explore your options with our quick guide.
Women with breast implants often choose to replace them with new ones once they have outlived their effectiveness or developed a complication. Although the idea is scary, complications related to breast augmentation surgery are often purely aesthetic. For example, the development of excessive scar tissue (called capsular contracture) or the migration of the implant (called “bottoming out”) may cause emotional or physical discomfort — but they aren’t medical emergencies.
Implant replacement is also an enticing option for those on the hunt for the next big thing. As with any other type of technology, the quality of breast implants is always improving. Today’s implants last longer and use technology that reduces the risks of some complications. According to the website of Dr. Arthur Cambeiro, a plastic surgeon who specializes in breast implants in Las Vegas, today’s cohesive silicone gel implants feel much more natural than their predecessors and are less likely to show ripples.
In many cases, breast implants can be exchanged in a single surgery, especially if you and your surgeon have a comprehensive idea of your desired results. For other patients, many doctors recommend undergoing a breast implant removal surgery (called an explant — more on those in a minute) and then a second breast augmentation procedure later on. For the overwhelming majority of women, there’s no medical reason not to replace breast implants. If you’re happy with your surgeon’s original work, it might behoove you to seek out him or her for your replacement surgery. If he or she is no longer in practice, or if you’ve moved away since your first surgery, be sure to pick a board-certified plastic surgeon who focuses on breast revision procedures.
The other option for old breast implants? Removal. Although the decision to remove breast implants is a personal one, many women choose the removal route when they simply feel that implants no longer suit their lifestyles or their bodies.
In most cases, breast implant removal surgery, called an explant, is a fairly straightforward procedure. Some women with saline implants can choose to have their implants deflated prior to removal, a choice which requires a smaller incision and can buy the patient some time before ultimately deciding whether to replace implants or remove them completely.
If you’re considering an explant, it’s important to keep in mind that your breasts won’t immediately go back to their natural size and shape. Often, they’ll retain a slightly “caved-in” appearance for a few weeks before their structure improves and skin and internal tissues bounce back. Some women also opt for procedures such as breast lift at this time to improve their cosmetic results.