It’s not uncommon for women who have already had a breast augmentation some years ago to come and consult with us about an implant exchange. Most commonly, this is for reasons of wanting a different size; most often a little bit larger, sometimes a little smaller. People do change their minds about the look they want, compared to their original implant choice, and we understand that.
In situations like these, where the breast is soft (doesn’t have capsular contracture) and the pocket where the implant sits is in good shape, we can do what’s termed a “simple” implant exchange surgery.
This involves helping the patient select the desired new size and shape, and going to surgery to replace the older implants. There’s definitely a skill to selecting the new implant – and we’ve got a few little tricks for this!
With the resurgence in popularity of silicone gel implants, many women who first had breast implant surgery back in the “saline-only” era often consider switching to silicone gel implants. Here at our Orlando practice, four out of five patients who have experienced both types of breast implants tell me that they far prefer the gel implants. Gel implants also help to reduce wrinkle and ripple problems in the slender patient with saline implants. Using a different implant shape can also be a helpful suggestion. This keeps the implant width proportional to the patient’s frame, but allows more (or less) fill up front, where most patients want it.
At surgery, we can typically use the same surgical incision – so there are no new scars. And if the old scar has widened out, we get a chance to revise it during surgery, and hopefully get a nicer looking scar.
Most women are pleasantly surprised: the recovery from a “simple” implant exchange is usually very easy, with little pain, bruising or swelling. Since the pocket for the implant is already present, and only few small adjustments need to be made to the tissue pocket, the recovery is much quicker.
More complex implant exchange surgeries involve the correction of tissue stretch or pocket expansion, or the correction of scar tissue / capsular contracture issues. As the name suggests, these surgeries are much more involved. But that’s a topic for another day. Cheers!!