Replacement of Breast Implants

When are breast implants replaced?

There are several situations in which replacement of an implant may be required. Today, breast implants are only replaced when they cause problems or discomfort. Implant rupture with leakage of silicone is one of the indications for removal and/or exchange of the implant. A further indication is capsular fibrosis, a physical reaction of the tissue enclosing the implant, which can lead to pain and alteration of shape.

Desired esthetic adjustments such as enlargement, reduction, or alteration of shape can also result in implant replacement – either because of changes in personal body perception and preference, or because of appearance changes of the breast itself over the course of time.

How is the operation performed?

Breast implants are replaced under general anesthesia. The old prosthesis is extracted via an incision along the site of the old scars, the new one is inserted and the skin is closed. Based on patient preference and localization of the old prosthesis this can be performed above or below the large chest muscles. Usually a small cannula is introduced in the corresponding breast(s) to drain wound secretions; this can normally be removed on the following day.

What alternative is there for implant replacement?

The alternative for implant replacement is implant removal, with or without mastopexy. One option is implant removal and injection of autologous fat.

What does follow-care include?

For the first two weeks, the patient wears a chest strap day and night. After approximately two weeks, the sutures are usually removed and a first wound check takes place. A sports brassiere must be worn for a total of six weeks. The scar should be treated with moisturizing cream and massaged for one year, in order to achieve optimal results. It is essential that the scar be not exposed to direct sunlight. As a rule, follow-up examinations are scheduled after two, six, and twelve weeks. 

How long is work disability?

This depends on occupation but as a rule is minimally two weeks. Furthermore, no athletic activities should be pursued for six weeks.

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