Breast augmentation is a dream come true for many women who are dissatisfied with the shape and size of their breasts. Luckily, most women who undergo the surgery are pleased with their final results. However, not all breast augmentation procedures have a happy ending. A small percentage of women who undergo the procedure will be dissatisfied with their results or have complications in the years following.

A number of different problems that can occur following a breast augmentation, which might ultimately prompt a revision surgery, include:

  • Dissatisfaction with size and appearance of the implants
  • Dissatisfaction with the feel/material of the implants
  • Rupture of the implant
  • Rippling of the skin covering the implant
  • Capsular contracture (scar tissue forming around the breast implants)
  • Poor aesthetic results

Revision surgery may remove or replace implants, address excess scar tissue, or simply adjust the appearance of the breasts. Whatever the reason a patient seeks revision surgery, it is important for patients to take their time before deciding on the second procedure. This will ensure that the revision surgery will keep risks to a minimum while providing optimum results.

Breast Augmentation Revision Consultation

If you are dissatisfied with your breast implants, or are experiencing complications, schedule a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon at Emory Aesthetic Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Experts in breast augmentation revision, our physicians will assist in planning the ideal procedure, tailored to address your individual needs.

During your consultation, our surgeons will talk about your goals, and evaluate your implants to determine the most appropriate techniques for repair. This is your opportunity to get to know our surgeons and decide which approach is best for you. Come prepared with your questions, as a consultation with our surgeons is an excellent learning opportunity.

Breast Augmentation Revision Candidates

If you have had a previous breast augmentation and are currently displeased or experiencing problems with your implants, you may be a good candidate for revision surgery. Patients should be in good health, understand the breast augmentation revision process, and hold reasonable expectations for their surgical results.

Breast Augmentation Revision Procedure

A variety of techniques may be utilized during the breast augmentation revision procedure, depending on the specific patient and the reasons for the surgery. In some cases the procedure may be simple, such as removing implants and replacing them with ones of a different size. Sometimes it is required to remove scar tissue around the implants or to adjust the implant pocket prior to replacing the implants. A breast lift (mastopexy), fat grafting, or additional procedures might also be used. Most often, the surgical procedure will be performed under general anesthesia, taking from one to three hours. A revision procedure will often take longer than the initial surgery to complete, but not always.

The exact type of incision that will be used will depend on the specific procedure being done, as well as where the original breast augmentation scar was placed. Typically the implants will be removed, either temporarily or permanently, during the procedure. If capsular contracture is present, the scar tissue will be carefully removed at this time. Our surgeons will then replace or reposition the implants as needed. Once the implants are in place, and the desired corrections are complete, the incisions will be closed with sutures.

Breast Augmentation Revision Recovery

Breast augmentation revisions are typically performed on an outpatient basis, so patients can return home shortly after surgery. Patients will need to arrange for a ride, however, as they will not be allowed to drive home after their revision procedure. For several weeks, patients may be instructed to wear a special bra to protect and support the breast tissue during the healing process. In the first few weeks following surgery, there will be mild to moderate pain and discomfort. This is generally well controlled with prescribed medication for the first few days then by over-the-counter medications.

Your surgeon may instruct the patient to limit certain activities during the first few weeks after breast augmentation revision surgery. Strenuous exercise or lifting should be postponed for a few weeks following the procedure depending on what procedure was done. Most women are ready to return to work within 2 weeks. All post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon should be followed as closely as possible to help promote proper healing and prevent complications.

Breast Augmentation Revision FAQs

While it is easy to become anxious about your results soon after your initial augmentation surgery, keep in mind that it takes longer than just a few weeks to see the true benefits of the procedure. The swelling will subside over four to six weeks; then you will see the implants begin to settle. The final results from a breast augmentation may take up to six months to evolve following the procedure. Additionally, it will take time to adjust to your new look. It is recommended that women wait at least six months before considering a revision procedure.

As with primary breast augmentation surgery, there are some risks associated with revision surgery. You can minimize these risks by choosing the right surgeon and following all instructions. Risks of breast augmentation revision include:

  • Poor aesthetic outcome
  • Loss of sensation
  • Excessive scarring
  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Need for additional revision

When it comes to revisions, the fewer the better. However, if there are legitimate complications, more revisions are sometimes necessary. Cosmetic revisions should be performed as infrequently as possible, as this can make further surgery for any complications more difficult.

It depends. While ideally the same incision site would be used, this is not always possible. You will be able to discuss this with your plastic surgeon during your consultation, as the answer to this question varies from person to person.

If you are just trying to have the implants repositioned, it is sometimes unnecessary for replacements. However, if your surgeon has any doubts about your safety related to the implants, they will probably need switched out. Older implants, that have a higher chance of rupture, are also likely to need replacement. Discuss this with your surgeon prior to surgery.

As with any surgery, the cost depends on the individual needs of the patient, the complexity of the procedure, the region, and the surgeon's individual fees. The only way to know for sure is to get a specific quote is at your plastic surgeon's office. Financing is typically an option.

That depends on the type and manufacturer of the implant. Many companies will cover new implants for a number of years, as well as some of the surgical costs for the replacement. However, it is important to fully understand your warranty and how it applies to you when considering a revision augmentation.

If the problem is due to the breast implants "bottoming out" and sinking to the bottom of the breasts, revision surgery to reposition the implants may be able to fix the problem. However, if the sagging is due to other factors, such as pregnancy and breastfeeding, a breast lift is probably a more appropriate surgery. A breast lift may be done with implant replacement (larger or smaller), or in some cases the implant will no longer be necessary and will be removed. You will be able to get custom recommendations during your consultation with our expert surgeons.

All surgery produces scarring, and breast augmentation revision is no exception. If the same incision sites will be used and no additional skin needs to be removed, you will not have additional scarring in along that area, although the scar will be red again at first and will need to fade over time. A successful revision surgery will often require additional incisions to be made.

Going back to the same surgeon for your revision can be a good idea, and is encouraged. Surgeons want to help their patients be happy with the results, and in many instances your surgeon may perform breast revision without a new surgical fees (although typically anesthesia and operating room fees will apply). Start your consultation process by returning to your original surgeon, but consider a second or third consult, as well, to be fully comfortable with the plan.