Breast implant revision is a common procedure, which is performed for many different reasons. With the number of breast implant related procedures skyrocketing over the last years in Australia; there has been a significant increase in the number of patients needing a revision surgery.
Here are the top reasons patients might need a breast implant revision surgery:
1 – Breast implants use-by date
Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with the surgery itself, but the implants have been used and come to their use by date.
Patients considering getting a breast augmentation need to realise that they are planning not for just one operation, this is likely to be a life-long journey, requiring revision surgery/ies in the future.
Breast implants are man-made devices, which have an expiry upon them, so patients need to factor in that a revision surgery might be needed– even if nothing goes wrong.
Implants these days last 10-15 years. “I have seen cases of them lasting up to 30 years – although they mostly do start to have problems at that stage” – says Dr Michael Yunaev, Oncoplastic Breast, General and Cosmetic Surgeon and the Principal Doctor at Breast & Body Clinic.
2 – The patient is not happy
In some cases, Dr Yunaev sees patients that have had surgery elsewhere, but the results did not match their expectations. This could happen for a number of reasons, including patient and surgeon factors.
For instance, the surgeon expertise and experience may not be adequate to meet the challenges of the planned operation, as well as the ability to individualise the operation for the patient in front of them, rather than using a once size fits all approach. This tailored approach should take into consideration each patient’s individual needs and anatomical variations. A skilled surgeon is able to match the patient’s individuality utilising a superior set of surgical skills and techniques to achieve the expected result.
To maximise the patient’s chances of satisfaction, it is important for people to be careful when selecting the surgeon who will work for their cosmetic needs. A great question to distinguish a fully qualified surgeon who has undergone extensive training is to discuss various surgical approaches. Specialised training means a wealth of knowledge about different options to achieve your goal and which one suits you best. The use of modern techniques should also minimise scarring.
“You should ask your surgeon what technique is recommended, whether there is another approach and how this will benefit your particular case and surgical procedure”, recommends Dr Michael Yunaev.
Patient factors may include variations in patient’s anatomy, breast, chest and skin. Sometimes patient’s expectations need to be addressed directly as not everything may be possible, given their own set of circumstances.
And most importantly patient needs to be properly educated about the post-operative care of their implants in order to minimise complications and maximise aesthetic results.
3 – Actual complication from the surgery
Another group of patients that need to undergo a revision breast surgery are those who have had actual complications from the surgery or from the implants used for the procedure.
Potential complications include, but are not limited to:
Implant Contracture: this is when a capsule is formed, which is basically a fibrous tissue that forms around the implant. It typically forms around every single implant. However, in certain scenarios, the capsule can become firm and filled with calcium, and in fact, it can be quite painful. Additionally, it can also cause mal-position of the implant.
Implant Malposition: this is one of the commonest problems that may occur with implants, whereby over time they may move too much sideways, bottom out (moving too far down), or rotate around within their breast pocket all leading to less than perfect shape and an aging appearance of the breasts.
Implant Infection: breast implants are a prosthetic device, and surgeons should be super careful in how the implants are inserted into the body to avoid an infection getting in. However, nevertheless, there is still a small percentage of cases where an infection could happen. In fact, the infection itself can lead to implant contracture as well as other problems, such as implant extrusion and implant loss.
Implant Rupture: another common complication is that implants can actually rupture with a break in the outer-shelf of the implant, leading to a leak of silicon gel (or saline) contained in the implant.
There are two types of ruptures, one is where it is contained within the capsule, we call this intra-capsular rupture, or a more dramatic scenario with extra-capsular rupture, where silicone escapes outside of that capsule and it is free to deposit itself in the breast tissue or travel to the regional lymph nodes.
“In this case, I do recommend for patients to not wait too long and think about a revision surgery to avoid other potential complications such as granulomas and infections associated with the free silicone in the patient’s body” – warns Dr Michael Yunaev.
Breast revision surgery is often a challenging operation, with much less room for error than in initial setting, which is why it may not always be successful on the first go, and there are cases where women require multiple operations (which is luckily uncommon). It is highly recommended that patients seek a highly skilled surgeon to conduct their breast revision surgery to optimise their results with the least number of interventions.