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Breast Revision Surgery Expectations: What You Need to Know

There are many reasons why a woman will undergo breast revision surgery following breast augmentation surgery with implants.  Find out what breast revision surgery entails and what to expect if you’re seeking to undergo the popular cosmetic procedure.

Like any cosmetic surgery, breast augmentation comes with its own set of unique challenges/complications that have the probability of arising at any time during the procedure – or after. For most patients, the breast augmentation surgery will go off without a hitch from start to finish, save for less than 1% of women who will, unfortunately, experience complications linked to their breast implants.  Before undergoing an invasive cosmetic procedure, it’s imperative to know what you’re getting yourself into and that you’re fully aware of all the risks involved with your new aesthetic endeavor.  

Breast augmentation with implants does not come with a lifetime warranty.  Silicone or saline-based implants are manmade medical devices that are not guaranteed to not need replacement.  While some women will have their first (and only) set of implants for the entirety of their lives, most women will need to replace their breast implants every 10 or 20 years.  Therefore, breast revision surgery is a very common cosmetic procedure.

What is Breast Revision Surgery?
Breast revision surgery addresses the revision of the size and/or shape of original breast implants or to surgically replace an implant that has ruptured or caused capsular contracture.  Sometimes the revision is aesthetic, such as an upgrade to one’s appearance, or is medically based, as in a rupture, leak, or capsular contracture.  Breast revision surgery is also performed following the original breast augmentation surgery if the patient is left unsatisfied with the results.  In this case, it is recommended the patient wait at least six months after their initial surgery before undergoing a revision.  Here are some of the most common reasons why a woman would require breast revision surgery:

  • Deflation (loss of volume to one or both implants)
  • Shell leak in one or both implants
  • Alteration of size and/or shape of the implant (most women desire to go up a cup size)
  • Switching from silicone to saline implants or vice versa
  • Implants have shifted from their original position



What You Should Expect from Your Breast Revision SurgeryExpect that your breast implants are not built for life and should be replaced every 10-20 years on average if needed.  However, if you don’t experience any complications with your implants, there is no need for a revision.  Having your aftermarket parts assessed regularly for faultiness will determine if a revision is in order.  While results from breast augmentation or breast revision surgery are permanent, your body will continue to age as normal and the elasticity of your skin will become lax over time.  It’s just the natural aging process.  You may lose weight; you may gain weight.  There’s such thing as wear-and-tear, as well.  Several factors contribute to the probability of requiring a re-do in the breast department.  Be sure to discuss everything upfront with your surgeon, as breast revision surgery may be costlier than breast augmentation surgery due to the possibility of soft tissue support or a breast lift, increasing operating time.  Innovative, 3-D imaging has been proven to be a resourceful tool in managing a patient’s expectations.



If you are seeking breast revision surgery, here are the top need-to-knows:

  • Expect to not shower/bathe for the first 48 hours following your breast revision surgery.  You will have dressings and drains inserted to drain excess fluid and blood that your nurse or doctor will explain how to clean and care for until they’re removed, which is usually a few days following surgery.  
  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after your surgery since you will have a limited range of motion with your arms.  Also, make arrangements for a trusted friend or family member to stop by and help you with cleaning, cooking, childcaring, etc., for the week following your surgery.  If you’re traveling for your breast revision surgery, be sure to have help at the airport with transporting luggage, including on the aircraft when lifting luggage into overhead compartments.  Do not attempt to do this on your own.
  • Expect to take a least one week off from work, up to 4 or more weeks if you have a physical-based occupation.
  • Avoid strenuous workouts/activities for at least 6 weeks following your breast revision surgery to avoid ruptures or shifting of implants.
  • You’ll be prescribed pain medications, if needed, including antibiotics to reduce infection risk during the crucial wound-healing process.
  • Expect to not lift heavy items, including young children, for the first few weeks, and be prepared to have someone assist you with your day-to-day duties, as mentioned above.  By no means should you try to go it alone and risk any post-op blunders.  
  • If you’re undergoing breast revision surgery due to capsular contracture, be advised you’ll be at risk for recurrence.  
  • As with your first breast augmentation procedure, expect pain, discomfort, swelling, tightness, the possibility of implants slipping out of position, and increased pressure on surrounding tissue and around the ribcage for several weeks following surgery.

The protocol for breast revision surgery and what to expect is similar to that of your original breast augmentation surgery.  Though not your first rodeo, you should still be prepared for any/all possibilities and have a plan be in place should something not go as anticipated.  If you experience excess bleeding, pain, or discomfort, contact your doctor immediately.


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