Procedures

Removal and Replacement of Silicone Breast Implants

Overview

With hundreds of thousands of women having had silicone breast implants  inserted over the last 50 years, removal of old and sometimes leaking silicone breast implants has become a common procedure.

Many surgeons recommend that silicone breast implants be replaced every 10 years.

Some women choose to have their implants removed and replaced earlier if they have developed signs of silicone leakage, if the breasts have become hard due to fibrous capsular contracture or simply because they are not happy with their size – either too big or too small. Some women dislike the look of their breasts as silicone implants may be situated too high and look fake!

What are my options?

If you decide to have your implants removed, our breast surgeons can offer you a number of excellent options:

 

1. Implant removal without replacement
Some women decide simply to have their old implants removed and for nothing more to be done. It’s important to note that the natural breast tissue would have been compressed by the implant and the ribs of the chest wall are usually indented due to pressure of the implant. Therefore, it may take some time before your breasts return to their normal size.

2. Implant removal and replacement

Some women (including those who previously had very small breasts) choose to have their implants replaced following removal. In this case, we recommend a saline implant placed behind the pectoral muscle. The current generation of saline filled implants are extremely soft and long-lasting.

This procedure can be performed at the same time as your implant removal and offers an excellent result with maximum safety. The greatest advantage of saline implants is that they give you peace of mind. Indeed, there is no doubt that saline implants are safer than traditional silicone implants.

At Avenue Plastic Surgery, we have inserted over 4000 saline implants over the last 20 years and have had only 4 unexplained leaks during this period. We therefore feel that it is reasonable to advise women to expect their saline breast implants to last at least 20 years.

 

3. Implant removal and augmentation via fat transfer

Thanks to our expertise in breast surgery, we are now also able to offer our breast implant removal patients re-augmentation via fat transfer. Fat from other areas of your body (such as your hips, thighs and abdomen) can be harvested using a special form of liposuction and then, after preparation, injected into your breasts. Most women are able to achieve a 1-2 cup size increase, depending on the amount of fat available. Fat transfer is a wonderful, natural way both to enhance your bust and to lose excess fat from unwanted areas!

Leaking Implants and Capsular Contracture – how we can help

All silicone breast implants have a limited lifespan – the risk of rupture increases over time, with an estimated 10-15% rupturing by 10 years. A rupture may be present without any clinical signs of symptom – MRI is the best imaging method to detect rupture.

In the case of rupture, it is essential to have your leaking implants removed. The aim of surgery is to remove the implant and as much of the original silicone as possible. If the silicone has spread to other parts of the body such as the lymph glands in the arm pits, then a decision must be made as to whether further surgery to remove these glands is required.

Sometimes a scar tissue capsule develops around the implant. This capsular can thicken, harden and even calcify.  In these cases, it may also be necessary to remove the capsule.