It’s unfortunate but true… nothing lasts forever, and the same can be said for a breast augmentation, even when it’s done to perfection. While Dr. Lowenstein’s re-operation rate on his own breast implant patients is less than 5% for any reason, the average rate of re-operation in the United States approaches 15%. There are several reasons that a woman might want her breast implants replaced. Women from all over seek out Dr. Lowenstein for his experience in breast implant revision surgery because while it one thing to create a beautiful breast, it is another all together to improve the look or feel of a breast that has undergone capsular contracture, deflation, malposition, or drooping. Breast implants can be subjected to several factors that can cause capsular contracture or rupture of an implant over time. Except for the diamond in your engagement ring, everything in the world is subjected to wear and tear, and Dr. Lowenstein thinks it is the responsibility of every plastic surgeon to explain that any woman who gets a breast augmentation may require further surgery down the road. Conveniently located in Santa Barbara, Dr. Lowenstein commonly cares for many breast implant revision surgery patients from Santa Maria, Bakersfield, Ventura, and Thousand Oaks.
The normal tissue around the breast implant is usually soft and supple. When capsular contracture occurs, this tissue surrounding the implant becomes tight, firm, and sometimes thick. The breast can then become firm or hard, and capsular contracture patients can often see ripples or deformity in their breast. Sometimes the only sign of contracture is that the implant on one side seems higher than the other side. Capsular contracture can manifest in many ways, and although it is not completely understood, there are some particular maneuvers Dr. Lowenstein uses to achieve his low contracture rate. Often patients who have had surgery elsewhere will present to Dr. Lowenstein for his help in rectifying their situation. Capsular contracture surgery has historically meant that the entire capsule or scar tissue surrounding the breast implant had to be removed, but new techniques have found a high success rate by manipulating the capsule rather than removing it all together. To see if this less invasive operation is right for you, a consultation with Dr. Lowenstein can inform you of the best way to achieve a soft, natural appearing breast once again.
Breast Implant Rupture
Breast implants can rupture over time, and this can mean different things to different women. Breast implants filled with saline, when leaking, will deflate causing one breast to become smaller than the other. Because your body is mostly salt water to begin with, the saline from the inside of the breast implant simply gets absorbed by your body while the volume of the implant decreases. If left alone, the tissue surrounding the implant will slowly contract, collapsing on the pocket which originally held your implant. It is important to try to have a leaking saline breast implant evaluated sooner rather than later, as achieving excellent symmetry with the opposite breast becomes more difficult once the tissue around a leaking saline breast implant begins to significantly contract. Dr. Lowenstein tries to operate on patients with leaking saline breast implants within 2-3 weeks of noticing the problem in order to maintain the best opportunity for a fantastic outcome.
Silicone breast implants are different from saline implants in several ways. One of the main factors is that the silicone in these implants is NOT absorbed by the body, and so it may be more difficult to detect a rupture or leak in a silicone implant. This is the principle reason that the FDA recommends MRI evaluation of silicone breast implants after 3 years and every other year thereafter. While newer breast implants have silicone gel in them that is highly cohesive, older breast implants used a more liquid type of silicone that often leaked throughout and sometimes outside of the pocket where the breast implant was placed. In Dr. Lowenstein’s extensive experience in secondary breast surgery, the leakage of liquid silicone from these older implants is the most significant factor contributing to the development of capsular contracture and excessive scar tissue. Women with leaking old silicone implants can present with hard, deformed breasts which require not only removal of the old ruptured implant, but significant amounts of scar tissue which often contains hard calcium deposits surrounding collections of free silicone. Dr. Lowenstein’s advanced techniques allows for removal of both free silicone and problematic scar tissue to restore a soft and natural appearing breast shape in these cases as well. Newer cohesive breast implants are thought to have less problematic complications as compared to the older liquid silicone implants, and current breast augmentation patients can be much less concerned about such problems.
FAQs: Breast Revision
What if you just don’t like the way your breast implants look?
Perhaps the most frequent reason Dr. Lowenstein performs secondary breast enhancement procedures is because of breast ptosis, or drooping of the breast- nobody escapes the effects of father time. Surgery to rejuvenate breasts such as these may or may not require new implants, and may or may not require changing the pocket in which the original breast implant was placed. Additionally, a breast lift or mastopexy might be recommended to reposition the breast tissue to it’s proper position and create an aesthetic and proportional breast shape. These patients are so often thrilled by their renewed breasts as many of them had not realized the opportunity for such significant improvement until their consultation with Dr. Lowenstein.
As a women ages, your breasts can grow with changes in your body associated with pregnancy or weight fluctuations. Previously small breasted women who have undergone breast augmentation may then find that their breasts are now larger than they wish. Such patients may ask for smaller implants, or for their previous implants to be removed and their breasts rejuvenated utilizing their own breast tissue alone. Here again breast lifting may be helpful in conjunction with revision or removal of the breast implant itself.
If you have questions regarding your previous breast surgery or breast implants, a consultation with Dr. Lowenstein will provide you with a wealth of information. If secondary surgery is required, your plastic surgery consultation will result in an individualized plan to provide you with the breast shape and size that bring you aesthetic satisfaction for many years to come.