The Reasons for Breast Implant Revision

Breast Implant RevisionSometimes a patient isn’t happy with her breast implants. There are a variety of reasons for this, from a desire to change size to the need to address scar tissue. Here are the common reasons why a woman could need revision surgery.

Capsular contracture

This is the most common side effect/complication with implants. Capsular contraction is simply a body process that occurs after some implant procedures and doesn’t in others. When an implant is placed into the body, there is a reaction, as you would assume. This result is called the “capsule, ” and it is made up of calcified cells and scar tissue. If this capsule becomes very thick and causes the implant to shift or the breast to feel very firm, or if there is pain from the constricting scar tissue, this is called capsular contracture. Dr. Kearney seeks to release and remove as much of the old scar tissue or capsule as possible. Other surgeons often simply score or cut the old capsule and replace the implant, but Dr. Kearney believes that removing as much of the scar capsule as possible will help reduce the risk of developing a new capsule around the replaced implant.

Changing the implant size

When a woman is unsatisfied with the size of her implants, Dr. Kearney suggests she wait one full year before opting to make a change. This allows for any swelling to subside and for the implants to settle fully. If the patient still wants to change her implant size, Dr. Kearney can usually place the new implants through the original incision, using the same pockets. If a larger implant is desired, he will increase the size of the pocket. If the patient seeks smaller implants, he will reduce the size of the pocket with sutures to fit the smaller implants. In cases of reduction, a breast lift may be done in conjunction with the implant revision to remove any sagging tissue and possibly relocate the nipples.

Implant position

Sometimes a less experienced surgeon will place the implant pockets either too far away or too close together, and the patient is not happy with the placement. At other times, the implants may have settled unevenly. In these cases, Dr. Kearney will use scar tissue from the capsule and will reconstruct new pockets for the implants in better positions.

Implant rippling

Rippling occurs when the surface skin ripples or the edge of the implant can be felt. This happens more often with saline implants placed atop the chest muscle, and the surgeon hasn’t allowed for enough tissue to cover the implants adequately. In these cases, Dr. Kearney enters through the original incision and replaces the implants with better muscle coverage. This may involve switching implant types and/or placing them in new breast pockets.

Implant removal

When a patient decides she no longer wants to have her implants, they are removed through the same incisions. Dr. Kearney will also eliminate the capsule if it is calcified and thick. A breast lift is often necessary and may be done at the same time to remove excess sagging skin and breast tissue.

While breast augmentation is a life-changing procedure, the results may not be what the patient had hoped for. Of course, expectations need to be realistic. But this is another reason to opt for a surgeon with extensive experiences, such as Dr. Kearney, to perform the surgery. Do your research beforehand, and the odds are you’ll be happy with your results.

If you have questions about augmentation and possible complications that can require revision surgery, call us at 858-677-9352 and let’s talk about them.


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Our office is now open!

Your health (and ours) is our highest priority so we are making a few changes to our reopening so that you can feel safe and confident coming in to see us. We are of course following all federal and local guidelines such as wearing masks and conducting phone screenings prior to your appointment but we are also implementing the following:

      Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sterilization to not only include exam rooms but also the waiting room, restroom, all doors, counters, etc.

      Offering multiple hand sanitizer locations throughout the office

      Reducing the number of appointments per day as well as our office hours, to limit the number of people in the office, including staff members

      Minimizing patient overlap to allow for proper social distancing

      Testing all surgery patients for COVID-19 at their pre-operative appointments

      Asking patients to leave family members or friends at home, unless they are coming with their primary caregiver. Please leave children at home as well


How can you help?

      Come alone to your appointment, unless you need your primary caregiver with you

      Please wear a mask or face covering to your visit and keep it on unless you are asked by Dr. Kearney or an RN to remove it

      Postpone your visit if you have traveled by air or experienced symptoms in the last 14 days

      Use a pen from the holder marked “clean” and put it in the one marked “used” when you’re done

      Use the hand sanitizers in our office

      In the rare case there is someone at the front desk when you come in please take a seat until we call you and maintain proper distance throughout your visit

      Take advantage of our virtual consultations or follow up appointments if it makes you feel more comfortable

Please bear with us as we work to return to our new “normal” and feel free to call or email with any questions. We look forward to seeing you again soon!


Dr. Kearney and staff