Breast implant removal and replacement: what women should know

There are a number of reasons why a woman chooses to undergo breast surgery. Four of the most common reasons are:
  • To increase the size of one’s bust
  • To replace a loss of volume (often after pregnancy and breast feeding; breast lifts are also a popular procedure for mums!)
  • To balance unequal breast sizes or shapes
  • For mastectomy patients to restore the body’s contour

Before your surgery, you have no doubt spoken with your plastic surgeon about costs, risks, and the reality that desired results can never be guaranteed.

Before we uncover some important information on breast implant removal and replacement, let’s go back a few years to the day of your breast augmentation: you have read lots of helpful information and have consented to going ahead with the surgery.

Great! You’re booked in, and the day has arrived. You’re feeling a little nervous, but also really excited. We will see you in about an hour…

Breast implant removal and replacement

Immediately after breast augmentation surgery

As you begin to stir, you take a few moments to wonder where you are. Is this a dream? Where are you? You slowly open your eyes and see you’re in a hospital bed. Your friend is waiting just outside for you to wake up.

So, you’ve just had breast implant surgery! Your plastic surgeon was pleased with how surgery went, and now it’s time for you to go home and let your body rest. You’ve already organised a few weeks off work and your friend will be over every day to help you out.

Follow up appointments

It is so important to diligently attend scheduled follow-up appointment(s). Typically, you will have one follow-up appointment with your surgeon, then subsequent appointments with a qualified nurse. It’s all part of the process to ensure your recovery is going well and there are no underlying issues.

Post-surgery advice

  • Ensure you’re eating well and drinking plenty of water
  • Rest (and we mean rest!) during recovery
  • Keep bandages and wounds clean

Contact us if you experience any pain or something doesn’t seem quite right. At the very worst, it’s a short phone call where we can find out how you’re doing! We’d rather you call than have you stressing over something on your own.

10-15 years later: should I be thinking about replacing my breast implants?

Years pass without a hitch and you are loving your new breasts.

You love the new and improved contours of your body and the way clothes sit on you. However, you’ve probably heard the “golden age” at which breast implants need to be replaced is when they are ten years old.

Now that’s not exactly a wrong answer, but there’s no “right” answer, either, to the question “How long do breast implants last?”

Even so, you might be thinking to yourself whether it’s time to chat to your surgeon about the possibility of replacing your breast implants…

Warning signs to look out for

No matter how old your implants are, there are some warnings your body gives you when it’s time to get to your plastic surgeon for a check-up. Don’t dismiss any of the following signs, even though you know your breast implants are only, say, five or six years old:

  • Skin rashes
  • An unusual shape shift (for example, the appearance of deflation might indicate a leak)
  • Breast hardening
  • Pain or discomfort
  • You’re unhappy with your implants

The lifespan of breast implants is a highly debated topic amongst plastic surgeons all over the world.

Some say that if you experience no problems, there is no need to replace implants, while others recommend a general check-up 10 or 15 years after your initial breast implant surgery. Implants are man-made products so aren’t exempt to general wear and tear. As a result, we recommend periodic check-ups, especially if something doesn’t seem quite right.

Regardless, if you experience any of the above (or anything else out of the ordinary) a peace-of-mind check-up will answer your questions and ease your concerns.

Women in their 40s and 50s

Here in Australia, it’s difficult to obtain numbers on plastic surgery procedures and patients as statistics are currently not collected.

However, some further research has found that, according to this survey, the average age of patients who undergo breast surgery is 34.

Based on this statistic (which comes from an American survey, by the way), it now becomes clearer why women in their 40s and 50s are actually removing their breast implants as well as replacing them: based on that average age, women are following up with surgeons 10-15 years after surgery and assessing their options.

Removing breast implants

If you choose to remove your breast implants, you can then opt to replace them with the same size, a smaller size, a larger size, or to forego implants altogether.

Breast implant removal is a lot less complicated if it’s not triggered by a problem (like a rupture, leak, or capsule contracture), which again reiterates the recommendation that you visit your surgeon periodically for general checks.

For whatever reason, breast implant removal is indeed a viable option for women who no longer want their implants.

Breast lift surgery is a popular procedure for women who choose to remove (and not replace) their breast implants, as this can correct any stretching that took place due to the implants.

Many female celebrities have chosen to remove their breast implants, from Sharon Osbourne to Victoria Beckham.

If you’re interested in learning more about breast implant removal and/or replacement, organise your free consultation with one of Cairns Plastic Surgery’s nurses. Enquire about a confidential catch-up here.