Breast implants may last you a lifetime. Sometimes, however, women may need to replace their implants after a short or long number of years due to complications or because they feel that their results are not up to par.

The goal of breast implant revision surgery — also known as corrective breast augmentation — is to replace old implants with new ones. In some cases, this surgery involves a change to different-sized implants or a switch from saline to gel implants and vice versa. A surgeon may also need to perform a breast lift and implant pocket repositioning to create the best results.

Whatever your reasons for requiring an implant revision, you need an experienced, highly skilled and qualified surgeon.

In plastic surgery, revisions are more challenging than regular procedures, which is why skill is a top priority here. Dr. Lowenstein has extensive experience and knowledge in implant revision surgery. Less than 5% of his patients require a revision, and many of his implant revision patients come from other centers. If you are looking for a qualified surgeon that you can trust with your implant revision surgery, contact us today at Montecito Plastic Surgery in Santa Barbara.

breast implants surgery patient

Why Do Women Need Implant Revisions?

Women want or need to replace their breast implants for a number of reasons:

  • To resize the breasts
  • To switch to a different implant
  • Because of a capsular contracture
  • Because of implant rupture or migration

Additionally, some women are dissatisfied with how their implants turned out. Many of Dr. Lowenstein’s revision patients have asked for “natural appearing” augmentations from other surgeons but found their surgeon has placed larger implants than they had wanted. Because of Dr. Lowenstein’s reputation for proportionate and natural breast enhancement, these patients eventually seek his help. Other women find that their breasts are starting to droop, sag and change position. Their natural breasts may have changed size, so they may seek implant resizing to match the new situation.

While implant revision is something you want to avoid, it can become necessary. In that case, you absolutely MUST seek out a board-certified surgeon who is trained and experienced in all types of breast surgery, including implant revision. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons explains that because implant revisions are NOT standard or routine procedures, not every surgeon can perform them well.

Women in need of an implant revision seek out Dr. Lowenstein for these very reasons. He has experience both in breast augmentation and other aesthetic procedures as well as revision surgery. Conveniently located in Santa Barbara, Montecito Plastic Surgery has cared for many local breast implant revision surgery patients. We have also had patients from nearby Ventura, Bakersfield, Santa Maria, Thousand Oaks, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills as well across the United States, Europe and the Middle East.

Capsular Contracture

The most common reason for breast implant revision is capsular contracture. Our bodies react to foreign objects — like implants — by encapsulating them in scar tissue.

cosmetic breast patient

The scar tissue that forms around an implant is normally soft and supple. But in some cases, it becomes hard and rigid. This is known as capsular contracture, a problem that can cause hardening, deformity and pain in the breast. It also puts you at risk of silent ruptures (implant spilling), or can occur because of unrecognized implant rupture.

It is possible to reduce your risk of developing capsular contracture. Dr. Lowenstein does so by using specialized techniques that further reduce your risk, particularly involving the incision, the pocket position, and the use of specialized tools to place the implants with minimal manipulation (the Keller Funnel).

Capsular contracture often causes pain. But sometimes, the only sign is one breast being positioned higher than the other. If you are worried you might have this problem, please contact us at Montecito Plastic Surgery. We will perform a physical examination to establish a diagnosis, even if you have performed your initial breast augmentation at a different center.

With capsular contracture surgery, the entire capsule or scar tissue usually has to be removed along with the implant. At our Montecito Plastic Surgery center in Santa Barbara, our focus is on minimally invasive approaches whenever possible. That is why we use capsule manipulation in some cases as an alternative to removal. This procedure has a high success rate. To see if this less invasive operation is right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Lowenstein today.

Breast Implant Rupture

The second most common reason for breast implant revisions is breast implant ruptures. Breast implants become prone to ruptures as time progresses. This can mean different things to different women.

Saline-filled implants deflate within hours or days after leaking. The body quickly and safely absorbs the saline, causing one breast to become noticeably smaller. If left alone, the tissue surrounding the implant will contract, collapsing on the pocket which originally held your implant. This is why it is important to try to have a leaking saline breast implant evaluated sooner rather than later. Dr. Lowenstein recommends operation on patients with leaking saline breast implants within 2-3 weeks of noticing the problem.

With silicone implant ruptures, the body cannot absorb the silicone gel filling since it is a synthetic material, unlike saline. Silicone gel also leaks out at a much slower rate. That is why it is harder to detect silicone implant ruptures and why the FDA recommends MRI evaluations for women with these implants.

The risk of ruptures is higher with older versions of silicone implants, which used liquid silicone that often leaked throughout, and sometimes outside, of the implant pocket. Newer implants use cohesive silicone gel, also called “gummy” gel. In Dr. Lowenstein’s extensive experience in secondary breast surgery, leakage from older implants is the leading factor contributing to the development of capsular contracture. Women with leaking old silicone implants present with hard, deformed breasts that require not only removal of the ruptured implant but significant amounts of scar tissue.

abdominoplasty patient


Will an implant revision correct my capsular contracture?

In short, yes. Capsular contracture is one of the main reasons Dr. Lowenstein sees patients that got their breast augmentations at other centers. Besides correcting your capsular contracture, Dr. Lowenstein may also change the pocket for the new breast implant.

Do I need to replace my implants?

Breast implants usually do not need to be replaced unless there is a problem with them. If you notice significant deflation in one breast and you have saline implants, chances are you will need a replacement. If you have silicone implants, an MRI check done every two years can help you know when and if you need this procedure. If you do not like how your implants look or if you are experiencing capsule contracture, Dr. Lowenstein will revise your breast augmentation.

Will you reuse my old implants?

Usually not. In most cases, we replace old implants with new ones during breast revision surgery. But if your implants are in good shape, there may not be a reason to do so. Most of our patients request a new set of implants, nonetheless, and we are happy to comply.

Am I too old for a revision of my breast surgery?

Some women believe implant revision is only for the “young.” That could not be further from reality. At Montecito Plastic Surgery in Santa Barbara, Dr. Lowenstein has performed revision surgeries on women well into their seventies. Health is more of a limiting factor than age when it comes to implant revisions; a 30-year-old with multiple medical problems is less likely to be a candidate for breast surgery revision than a healthy 70-year-old.

I want to permanently remove my implants. Is this possible?

Complete removal of your breast implants is possible but may require additional work. Most often, a breast lift with or without the use of smaller implants is needed to keep breasts looking shapely. This, of course, will depend on your anatomy and ultimate goals. Women who are less concerned about the appearance of their breasts and simply want their implants removed often opt for implant removal without any other procedures. Dr. Lowenstein will explain expectations and outcomes during your consultation.

Can breast implant revision correct breast asymmetry?

Some breast asymmetry is normal, with or without implants. Extreme asymmetry is not. Occasionally, Dr. Lowenstein sees patients from other surgeons where their implants have made their breasts too asymmetrical. Dr. Lowenstein has years of experience in improving breast symmetry with breast augmentation, breast lift and revision of breast surgery.

Can I change implant size or type with an implant revision?

Yes! If you feel that your augmented breasts are too large or too small, you may only need a change of implant size. Other times, we may also utilize manipulation of the breast implant pocket, lifting or resecting extra sagging skin or changing the implant position or capsule around the breast implant to create a more pleasing breast mound.

What if I am unhappy with my current implants?

Botched implants, sagging due to age or weight fluctuations and unfavorable repositioning of the implants are all things that a breast revision can help address. However, you may not need a breast revision but a breast lift or surgical implant repositioning. Address your aesthetic concerns with Dr. Lowenstein, who will assess whether a breast revision or different procedure can help you achieve your goals.

Schedule A Consultation

Schedule Now