Over the last 15 years, the quality of breast implants has improved dramatically. The modern implants that are now available are providing women with incredible, natural-looking breast augmentation results that help them look and feel their best. For this reason, many women who have older models of silicone gel or saline breast implants are now opting for implant replacement or breast implant exchange surgery.
Breast implant exchange is also a good option for women who would like to improve the results of a breast augmentation procedure they’ve had in the past or are interested in increasing or decreasing the size of their breasts. Here at The Naderi Center, we are pleased to offer breast implant exchange to patients in northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area at our Chevy Chase, MD, and Reston, VA locations.
Expected results after Breast Implant Exchange
- Larger or smaller breasts depending on your goals
- Improved positioning of breast implants
- A chest size that is more aesthetically pleasing to your body that may have changed with weight changes or pregnancy
- Possible improved confidence and improve their overall quality of life.
Ideal Candidate for Breast Implant Exchange
A Good Candidate for Breast Implant Exchange
- Desires a change in size, larger or smaller
- Desires a more natural appearing implant such as anatomical implants
- Desires a more perkier breast implant with increased upper pole volume
- Desires to go from saline to silicone, or silicone to saline implants
- Desires to correct any asymmetries with breast size and positioning that have developed with time
- Has had a previous complication of implant leakage or rupture
- Has developed excessive scar tissue formation around the breast implant known as capsular contraction
Surgical Technique with Breast Implant Exchange
Breast implant exchange is similar to a primary breast implant surgery. The surgeon will typically reopen the original incisions in order to reduce scarring during implant removal and replacement.
The nature of the procedure may differ depending on the type of implant that has been chosen for replacement. In some cases, the implant will be inserted under the breast tissue but above the muscle, while in other instances it will be placed under the chest muscle.
Our board-certified plastic surgeon will design a customized treatment plan for each patient prior to performing the procedure. The implant exchange will be performed in an outpatient setting under general anesthesia and will take a few hours to complete.
Breast Implant Choices
During a breast implant exchange consultation you will be offered a variety of breast implant choices, not your typical saline or gel. Breast implant technology has come a long way affecting a variety of factors with implant look and feel. Your surgeon will discuss with you the variety of new generation implants available to help achieve your desired breast augmentation.
CHOICE 1: Saline vs. Silicone Fill
The first basic decision that you would need to make is whether you would desire a saline implant or a gel implant.
Saline implants PROs
- Filled with sterile salt water, in case of rupture salt solution is absorbed into the body with no health risks
- Allow for possibly smaller incision because they are inserted empty and filled once they are in place
- Cost effective, usually costs around $600
Saline Implant CONs
- Heavier and firmer than silicone implant
- They may not look and feel as natural as silicone implants
- More prone to wrinkling or rippling, especially in thinner patients with smaller natural breasts
- In case of rupture can have a relatively quick deflation of the implant leaving the patient looking noticeably asymmetric
Gel Implant PROs
- Silicone implants are pre-filled filled with silicone gel. The fluid is sticky and thick, allowing it to hold its upper pole volume when you stand upright
- Lighter and softer than saline implants offering a more “natural” look and feel
- Textured options available to reduce incidence of capsular contracture or excessive scar tissue formation
- Anatomical options available for a more natural “tear-drop” appearance
Gel Implant CONS
- In case of leakage, an MRI or ultrasound is required to confirm
- In case of leakage, surgical replacement will be more complicated as silicone is not absorbed by the body
- More expensive, price ranging $1200 – $2400
CHOICE 2: Size
Deciding on the size of implants can be one of the most challenging parts of planning your breast implant exchange procedure. Factors such as chest width, body size, native breast tissue and anatomy can all factor into selecting the perfect implants for you. The traditional model for selecting breast implant size would be to hand a patient a variety of breast implant sizes and estimate which implant size would give the patient the desired bra cup size. At The Naderi Center, we offer patients 3D imaging technology to help them better select the correct implant size. Photos of you will be taken and then imaged with different implant sizes. This allows you to see through virtual reality what your figure would look like from a variety of angles with the selected breast implants. This technology is so powerful that in many instances, patients will select to deflate their saline implants prior to surgery in order to undergo the 3D imaging.
CHOICE 3: Shape
Yes, there is more than one breast implant shape. Even in the realm of round implants, there exist implants that vary their consistency to create volume in different parts of the breast implant.
Anatomical Shaped or “teardrop-like”
This shape was designed originally for breast reconstruction patients because their downward sloped appearance was more natural appearing. Today anatomical implants are selected by many patients who desire a more more tapered look to the breasts. Especially with thin patients, placing a round implant may appear “fake” or “plastic.” The main concern with these implants is if they rotate within the created breast pocket, causing the breast to appear abnormal. An experienced surgeon with anatomical implants is able to adjust a proper breast pocket to minimize the risk of breast implant rotation.
Round Shaped Implants
Round implants by nature have increased upper pole volume or fullness, thus giving patients a more “perkier” chest. There is no risk of rotation with round implants. Even with round implants, the new generation implants have a more cohesive structure to them that allows for varying levels of gel firmness. For example, the largest manufacturer of breast implants in the United States offers five different types of gel implants, classified under MENTOR® MemoryGel™: Moderate Plus, High Profile, Ultra High Profile, Moderate Plus Xtra and High Profile Xtra.
CHOICE 4: Textured or Non-Textured
Texturing refers to the outer shell of the breast implant which can be smooth (non-textured) or textured. The textured implants stimulate scar formation to help hold the implant in place. Recently, textured implants by the company Allergan were put on FDA recall for possible linkage to a rare form of cancer. Click here to learn more about concerns with textured implants.
Cost of Breast Implant Exchange
There are a variety of factors that determine the overall cost of your breast implant exchange
- Surgeons Fee: $5,000 – $8,000
- Cost of Breast Implants: $600 – $2,400
- Anesthesia Fee: Depends on length of procedure
- Hospital and Surgical Facility Fees: Depends on length of procedure
- Post-Surgery Garments: Included with surgeon’s fee at The Naderi Center
- Pre-Surgical Medical Clearance and Lab Tests: Usually covered by medical insurance
- Medication Costs: usually Covered by medical insurance
- Follow-Up Visits: Included with surgeon’s fee at The Naderi Center
Preparation for your Breast Implant Exchange
At The Naderi Center we believe the success of any cosmetic procedure can be improved with proper patient preparation. We go above and beyond to make sure that our patients are medically, emotionally, and physically ready for surgery. Your breast implant exchange consultation will most likely include a 3D imaging analysis of your body with the breast implant choice and size that you are contemplating.
Please review our detailed instructions on breast augmentation preparation with the link below:
Recovery after Breast Implant Exchange
After breast implant exchange surgery, patients can expect heaviness in their chest. Pain medication can be prescribed to ease this discomfort, which should subside within a few days. The overall recovery time a patient will need depends on their job and daily activities.
In most cases, however, patients find recovery from breast implant exchange to be shorter than that of their initial breast augmentation. We encourage patients to refrain from vigorous activity for about 2-3 weeks and to take several days off of work.
Please see our detailed post-operative recovery instructions below:
Risks, Safety and Complications of Breast Implant Exchange
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and complications associated with breast implant exchange. A patient’s best defense against any complications is to choose a reputable, experienced, and board-certified cosmetic surgeon as well as following the advised post-operative instructions.
Possible Complications after a Breast Augmentation can Include
- Risk of general anesthesia
- Excessive bleeding or hematoma
- Poor incision healing
- Skin changes or discoloration
- Fluid accumulation or seroma
- Nerve damage or numbness in the skin
- Asymmetric results
- Capsular contracture
- Malposition of implants
- Need for revision surgery
- Unfavorable scar formation
Breast Augmentation Specialist, Dr. Erica Anderson
Our Board Certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Erica Anderson, is highly skilled and experienced in performing breast implant surgery on patients from all walks of life in the Washington D.C. area. Whether you’d like to change the size of your breast implants, improve the results from your previous procedure, or resolve a complication, you can count on our team to help.
We take the time to get to know your particular concerns and desires so that we can design a customized treatment plan just for you. Our goal is to leave you with beautiful, natural-looking results that restore your confidence. Women who are interested in undergoing breast implant revision surgery are encouraged to schedule a private consultation at our Reston, VA office. During the consultation, prospective patients will meet with Dr. Erica Anderson, our breast and body plastic surgeon specialist, to discuss their aesthetic goals and reasons for seeking an implant exchange.
Dr. Anderson will go over the patient’s medical history and will typically ask questions such as, “When was your last breast augmentation?” “When did you have your first augmentation?” and/or “Do you hope to increase or decrease the size of your breasts?”. The consultation is also an ideal opportunity for patients to ask questions about the surgery and recovery process.
Schedule a Consultation for your Breast Implant Exchange
If you’re wondering whether you’re a good candidate for breast implant exchange or have further questions about plastic surgery, it’s in your best interest to schedule a private consultation at our northern Virginia or Maryland offices. Call our office in Reston at 703-481-0002, Chevy Chase at 301-222-2020 ,or fill out our convenient online contact form. We look forward to meeting you!
Breast Implant Exchange Questions to Ask
Is pregnancy safe after breast implant exchange surgery?
Yes, breast implants do not pose any additional risks for pregnant women. However, because pregnancy and nursing can lead to breast sagging, we recommend that women wait until they are done having children before undergoing breast implant exchange surgery.
How long do breast implants last?
Although breast implants may last a lifetime, it is possible though for them to leak over time. In the event that a saline implant leaks, the saltwater will harmlessly absorb into the patient’s body, but will cause asymmetry. Leaks are more dangerous with silicone implants as they can only be detected through an imaging test and the material cannot be absorbed.
What is capsular contracture?
Capsular contracture is one of the most common complications associated with breast implant surgery. It occurs when hard scar tissue forms around the implant. When a patient experiences capsular contracture, their breasts may feel firm or hard as a result of the scar tissue squeezing the implant. A breast implant exchange procedure may resolve this complication.
Can breast implant exchange be paired with a breast lift?
Yes. A breast lift is designed to raise the position of the breasts and to create a more attractive, youthful appearance. It may be a good option for patients who are bothered by sagging breasts following pregnancy, weight fluctuations, or the natural process of aging.