Breast Implant Exchange at a glance.
Procedure Time
1-2 hours
Recovery Time
Back to work in 1 week

Breast implants should make you feel beautiful and confident—that’s a top priority when performing breast augmentation in Charleston, South Carolina. In fact, the reason you had breast augmentation surgery in the first place was to look and feel your best. Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures worldwide, and most women are tremendously pleased with their results. Still, even the best-planned procedure may not be the end of the journey.

For various reasons, some patients do not achieve their breast enhancement goals the first time. Others who initially enjoyed a positive outcome may later develop undesirable changes or find that they no longer love their implants. Breast implant revision surgery addresses changing preferences or unsatisfactory results from prior breast surgery.

Is It Normal To Need Breast Implant Exchange?

The notion that breast implants must be replaced every 10 years is a myth. If you are happy with their appearance and not experiencing any complications, your implants may remain in place with routine monitoring to ensure there are no invisible issues. Your breast implants can last many years, even well beyond a decade.

However, breast implants are not lifetime medical devices. Your implants may need to be replaced or removed in a secondary procedure. This is true of any breast augmentation for any patient, regardless of age, anatomy, lifestyle, or implant type. Anyone considering breast augmentation should be informed and accept that additional surgery may be required in their lifetime.

Picture Your Results in 3D

At Crantford Costa Plastic Surgery, we offer the state-of-the-art VECTRA® XT 3D imaging system to capture face, breast, and body images to help simulate your surgical outcomes during your consultation.

When To Consider Breast Implant Exchange

Each patient has unique and personal reasons for seeking breast implant revision. Some common aesthetic reasons women request this procedure include:

  • Unsatisfactory shape, size, or projection
  • Desire to change to a different style of implant
  • Breast tissue changes after pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight fluctuations
  • Improving the natural look and feel
  • Changing lifestyle or aesthetic preferences

Implant revision surgery can also be undertaken for medical reasons, including:

  • Capsular contracture
  • Ruptured implant
  • Rippling, implant malposition, or displacement
  • Muscle flexion distortion
  • Poor scar healing

Whatever the reason, we approach every breast implant exchange with the same dedication to beautiful, satisfying results.

Crantford, Costa, & UlmOur Expert Surgeons

Trust your beauty to the very best Charleston has to offer. Our board-certified plastic surgeons have the skill and experience to elevate your look from head to toe.

Dr. Crantford Dr. Costa Dr. Ulm
Dr. Crantford, Dr. Costa, and Dr. Ulm

Your Breast Implant Exchange Procedure

Breast implant revision is a highly personalized surgery. Some women only need minor adjustments to improve their results, while others require more comprehensive changes. The techniques your surgeon uses will depend on how your initial breast surgery was performed and the aesthetic or medical issues that led you to pursue a revision procedure.

Options may include:

  • Implant exchange
  • Capsulectomy
  • Implant placement change
  • Internal pocket adjustment
  • Correction of asymmetry
  • Correction of a specific deformity

For your comfort and safety, breast implant revision surgery at our Charleston practice is performed under general anesthesia. The procedure will be done precisely and meticulously to restore anatomy as well as possible, create aesthetic improvements, and minimize potential scarring.

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What Is the Recovery Timeline for Breast Implant Exchange?

Recovery from your surgery will most likely be similar to what you experienced following your primary breast augmentation. You can expect some amount of discomfort, swelling, and bruising in the initial stages of healing. You will be advised to wear a special front-closing surgical bra to reduce swelling and support your breasts.

Most patients can resume light activities within a few days. The anticipated time off work is approximately 1 week, depending on the nature of your work. Refrain from strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for 4 to 6 weeks post-operatively. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on when you can safely return to your usual activities.

What Results Can Breast Implant Exchange Achieve?

As with the primary breast augmentation, what you see right after revision surgery will not be your final result. Your implants may look too high and feel too firm until the surrounding tissues relax and the implants settle into their final position. Postoperative swelling may also contribute to your breasts appearing overfull initially. Your incision lines will be pink and slightly raised, but they will fade and flatten with time. 

In most cases, patients can enjoy the full benefits of their new figure within 3 to 6 months. Scars can continue maturing for up to 12 months. Once your final results have emerged, they can last for many years.

What Happens During A Consultation

Because we want to create your ideal surgical results, the consultation is a critical part of the process. Your surgeon will walk you through your options and help you make choices that align with your anatomy and goals. This time will also be used to conduct a thorough medical history and address all your concerns and questions.

You will have another preoperative appointment closer to the date of your surgery. At this time, you will sign the consent forms, have photos and measurements taken, and receive detailed instructions for before and after surgery. Please adhere to these instructions closely as they are instrumental in ensuring your safety and comfort.

Model posing for breast augmentation revision

Breast Implant Exchange FAQs

What Happens During a Breast Implant Exchange Consultation?

Secondary breast surgery is often more challenging than primary breast surgery because surgeons must work with scar tissue and anatomical changes from the patient’s old implants. Due to its delicate nature, breast implant exchange requires a thoughtful, technically exacting approach and must be tailored to the individual patient’s needs. Open communication of expectations during the consultation and preoperative planning stages is essential. Use this period wisely to ask questions, learn about the procedure, and work closely with your surgeon to create the best possible surgical plan customized for your personal needs and desires.

How Soon Can I Have Revision Surgery After My First Augmentation?

If you have recently undergone breast surgery, we recommend waiting at least 6 months before having revision surgery. It can take 6 months to a year for implant settling to resolve and scars to mature. The outcome of your procedure cannot be assessed fully until that point. However, you may visit us for a consultation at any time to learn about your options and plan for the future.

Can I Remove My Breast Implants Entirely?

If you decide you no longer want implants at all, they can be removed and not replaced. Breast implant removal is a relatively straightforward procedure that’s similar to the original augmentation. If possible, the implant will be removed through the original incisions to avoid additional scarring. The capsule surrounding the implant may be left behind, removed after the implant, or removed together with the implant, depending on your concerns and goals.

Can Breast Implant Exchange Be Combined With Another Procedure?

Just like natural breasts, breasts enhanced with implants may lose their perky shape and taut skin over time. A revision surgery that incorporates a breast lift can reverse these changes. A breast lift allows for removing excess skin, reshaping the breast mound, and repositioning the areola. Replacing the old implants with new implants during the same procedure can give your breasts a much more shapely, lifted, and youthful appearance.

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Ready to Learn More?

Why spend another day living with breasts you don’t love? Our team of experienced plastic surgeons shares a commitment to excellence, technical skill, attention to detail, and an elevated aesthetic eye. Together, they bring over 60 years of experience in cosmetic surgery to our Charleston breast augmentation patients. Make an appointment with Crantford Costa Plastic Surgery to discuss breast implant exchange surgery by calling (843) 722-5904 or requesting a consultation online.



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