Dr. Frank has many new patients come see him seeking a revision procedure for their breast augmentation. There are various reasons why a patient may seek revision surgery. Here are the main issues to be addressed with these procedures.
When an implant is placed into the body, there is a reaction, as you would assume. This reaction is called the “capsule” and it is made up of calcified cells and scar tissue. If this capsule becomes very thick and causes the implant to shift or the breast to feel very firm, or if there is pain from the constricting scar tissue, this is called capsular contracture. If the capsule is very calcified, Dr. Frank will remove it along with the implant. If it isn’t, he usually will leave it in place. If there is a rupture of a silicone implant, the capsule may contain silicone shell fragments, silicone gel, and inflammatory cells that all need to be removed prior to placing new implants. This is especially the case with silicone implants older than 15 years.
Changing the implant size
Sometimes a patient comes to Dr. Frank unhappy with her choice of implant size. The first thing he advises is to wait one full year before opting to make a change. This allows for any swelling to fully subside and for the implants to settle. If the patient still wants to change her implant size, Dr. Frank will enter through the original incision on each breast. If a larger implant is desired, he will increase the size of the pocket, the space in the breast to hold the implant. If the patient seeks smaller implants, he will reduce the size of the pocket with sutures to fit the smaller implants. In cases of reduction, a breast lift may be done in conjunction with the implant revision to remove any sagging tissue and possibly relocate the nipples.
Sometimes a less experienced surgeon will place the implant pockets either too far away or too close together and the patient is not happy with the placement. In these cases, Dr. Frank will use scar tissue from the capsule and will reconstruct new pockets for the implants in better positions.
Implant rippling is usually only a problem that occurs with saline implants. It happens when the implants are placed atop the chest muscle, and they show rippling or even the edges of the implants can be felt. In these cases, Dr. Frank enters through the original incision and replaces the implants with better muscle coverage. This may involve switching implant types and/or placing them in new breast pockets.
When a patient decides she no longer wants to have her implants, they are removed through the same incisions. Dr. Frank will also remove the capsule if it is calcified and thick. In most cases, a breast lift will be recommended because the skin has stretched with the implant size. A lift will remove this excess skin and breast tissue and bring the smaller breasts back up higher on the chest.
While breast augmentation is a life-changing procedure, the results may not be what the patient had hoped for. Of course, expectations need to be realistic. But this is another reason to opt for a board-certified surgeon with extensive experience, such as Dr. Frank, to perform the surgery. Do your research beforehand and the odds are you’ll be happy with your results.