Surgery isn’t a perfect science. The human body can heal in different fashions with different people.
Breast augmentation isn’t immune to variables. There are times when a patient comes to Dr. Kearney for breast implant revision surgery. Sometimes another surgeon may have placed the implants either too close together or too far apart and the patient isn’t happy. Other times, the patient has decided she would like larger implants. The scar tissue surrounding the implants could have hardened. Whatever the reasons behind the need for revision, these procedures are generally easier for the patient than the original surgery. This is because Dr. Kearney can usually use the original incision locations.
Here are some reasons Dr. Kearney has performed revision surgery, and the approach taken for each.
Besides possible rupturing of the implant, this is the main side effect of breast augmentation. When an implant is placed into the body, there is a reaction, as you would assume. This reaction 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. When this occurs, surgery is usually required. If the capsule is very calcified, Dr. Kearney will remove it along with the implant. If that hasn’t happened, he may leave the capsule. If there is a rupture of a silicone implant, the capsule may contain silicone shell fragments, silicone gel, and inflammatory cells that all need to be removed prior to placing new implants.
Changing the implant size
Sometimes a woman decides she would like a different size implant. This isn’t a decision that should be made soon after surgery, however. Dr. Kearney advises patients to wait one full year before making this decision, as this will allow the implants to fully settle into their final position, and any residual swelling will have passed by then. If the patient still wants to change her implant size, Dr. Kearney will enter through the original incision. If a larger implant is desired, he will increase the size of the pocket, the space in the breast to hold the implant. If the patient seeks smaller implants, the size of the pocket is reduced 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.
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. In these cases, the scar tissue from the capsule can be used to reconstruct new pockets in better positions.
Implant rippling is usually a result of saline implants that have been placed atop the chest muscle. There isn’t enough skin and tissue to cover the implant, and rippling occurs. Sometimes the edge of the implant may even be able to be felt. Dr. Kearney enters through the original incisions and replaces the implants with better muscle coverage. This may involve switching implant types and/or placing them in new breast pockets. Saline gel implants have less occurrence of rippling.
When a patient decides she no longer wants to have her implants, they are removed through the same incisions. Dr. Kearney will also remove the capsule if it is calcified and thick. In most cases, he will recommend a breast lift at the same time to remove excess sagging skin and breast tissue.
It’s important to remember that breast augmentation is major surgery; this isn’t something to trust to discount pricing or fly-by-night practitioners. Dr. Kearney is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery as well as General Surgery by the American Board of Surgery. Do your research beforehand and the odds are you’ll be happy with your results.
Do feel as if you may need implant revision surgery? Call Dr. Kearney at (858) 677-9352 and set up a consultation.