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Birmingham, Alabama
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

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Breast Implant Replacement

Following placement of a prosthetic breast implant – whether for cosmetic breast enhancement or reconstructive reasons – there may be reason to consider replacement of your breast implants. While it is expected that breast implants will provide years of issue-free function, these implants are an artificial construct that may require revision and replacement procedures at some point. Common reasons for breast implant replacement surgery include deflation or implant rupture, capsular contracture (where scar tissue has formed around the implant), any desire to have a different size implant, and interest in a different style implant (saline vs. silicone).

Note: breast implant replacement surgery is a highly-individualized procedure that may be a good option for you if you are physically healthy and if you have realistic expectations for your surgery and potential outcomes. Breast implant replacement surgery does not correct some drooping breasts issues. If you want your breasts to be lifted due to physical sagging, a breast lift or an alternative revision breast surgery procedure may be required.

The Initial Consultation

The success of your breast implant replacement procedure depends on the quality of your participation in the initial consultation. You will need to be prepared to discuss why you want breast implant replacement surgery, your personal medical history, drug allergies, use of medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs, and any family history of breast cancer, as well as the results of any mammograms or previous biopsies.

Dr. Cohn will perform a physical examination and take detailed measurements of your individual physical attributes, as well as note breast asymmetry that may need to be addressed at the time of your procedure. Photographs will be taken for your medical record. At that point, Dr. Cohn will be prepared to discuss your surgical options, recommend a course of treatment, and discuss the use of anesthesia during your breast implant replacement procedure. The consultation consists of a thorough discussion to get a sense of what an anticipated final appearance might look like. Dr. Cohn is happy to assist with recommendations while using your personal goals to guide final decision making.

Preparing for Breast Implant Replacement Surgery

Prior to surgery, you may be asked to participate in lab testing or a medical evaluation, receive a prescription for certain medications or adjust your current medications, stop smoking well in advance of your surgery, avoid taking any anti-inflammatory drugs or herbal supplements. Some special instructions you receive will cover what to do on the day of surgery, the use of anesthesia during your breast implant replacement surgery, documentation for breast implant registry (when necessary), as well as post-operative care and follow-up.

Breast implant replacement surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient/ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital. If your breast implant replacement procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, you will need to arrange for a ride to and from surgery and someone to stay with you for at least the first night following your implant replacement surgery.

The Breast Implant Replacement Procedure

Note: There have been continual advancements and improvements in every aspect of breast implant technology and plastic surgery. New surgical techniques provide more predictable results today than in years past. With these improvements, breast implant replacement surgery has become an increasingly popular and successful option for women facing a replacement surgical procedure.

  • I. The breast implant replacement procedure begins with anesthesia, where intravenous sedation or general anesthesia will be provided. Dr. Cohn will recommend the best choice for your surgery.
  • II. After the anesthesia has taken effect, incisions are made in inconspicuous areas to minimize visible scarring. You and Dr. Cohn will discuss which incision options are appropriate for your desired outcome. Incisions vary based on the type of implant, degree of enlargement desired, your particular anatomy, and patient-surgeon preference.
  • III. Capsular contracture correction & implant Replacement Procedure: this breast implant replacement procedure is performed to both address scar tissue that has formed around an existing breast implant, as well as replace the implant. After the initial incision is made, the capsule and breast implant may be removed from the pocket and a new breast implant is inserted. In other cases, a fresh pocket/position for the implant is created while leaving the prior capsule behind. Options and recommendations will be made by Dr. Cohn during the consultation.
  • IV. The Deflated or Ruptured Breast Implant & Replacement Procedure: in cases where an existing breast implant has ruptured or lost shape, the breast implant is removed and replaced. In cases where a silicone breast implant has ruptured, the remaining silicone material is meticulously removed from the pocket. Once the pocket is thoroughly cleaned and sterilized, a new breast implant will be inserted
  • V. After the implants are in place, the incisions are closed with layered sutures in the breast tissue, as well as with sutures, skin adhesive or surgical tape over the skin.
  • VI. Following your breast implant replacement surgery, gauze or bandages will be applied to your incisions. The use of an elastic bandage or support bra will help minimize swelling and support the newly-revised breast. A thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluids.

Potential Risks and Complications

The decision to have breast implant replacement surgery is extremely personal and not without risk. Dr. Cohn will fully review and explain the risks associated with your surgery. After you fully understand the procedure, you will be asked to sign consent forms.
Although there are potential risks and complications with breast implants, there is no known health risk to your breast following placement of breast implants. Further, no scientific studies have established any reason to believe that breast implants are responsible for any negative long-term health impact, including autoimmune diseases or other systemic illnesses.

Recovery Time for Breast Implant Replacement Surgery

Although many factors are involved in your recovery time, you will likely experience an initial post-surgical recovery period of a few days. You may also require a reduced-activity period of a few days. During recovery, you will likely experience soreness and swelling for a few weeks. Exercise and normal activity can resume at Dr. Cohn’s direction.

Following all of Dr. Cohn’s post-surgery instructions is crucial to the success of your surgery. Surgical incisions should not be subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during healing. Dr. Cohn will give you specific instructions on how to care for your incisions following your surgery, which medications to take, how to reduce the risk of infection, and when to make a follow-up appointment.

Breast Implant Replacement Costs

As with any elective surgery, the cost of breast implant replacement surgery is a consideration for many patients. Cost may include a surgeon’s fee, hospital or surgical facility costs, anesthesia fees, breast implant cost, prescriptions for medications, post-surgery garments, and any associated medical tests. Cohn Plastic Surgery proudly offers patient financing plans, so be sure to ask if such a plan is of interest to you.

For more information about breast implant replacement surgery in Birmingham, we invite you to call us at (205) 930-1600 – Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm – to schedule an appointment. You may also use the Contact Form page to send us a message.