Breast augmentation is the most popular plastic surgery in the United States, with hundreds of thousands of procedures performed each year. During the surgery, silicone or saline-filled implants are placed under the skin to instantly augment the breasts, adding volume and shape to enhance a patient’s form and silhouette. While breast enhancement surgery typically produces excellent results when performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, the outcome isn’t perfect one hundred percent of the time. Rarely, some patients experience complications or are simply dissatisfied with their breast augmentation results. This can occur for a number of possible reasons, but fortunately, women don’t have to live with breast augmentation regret. In these cases, the experts at the Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami, FL can help patients turn a disappointing situation around and reach their aesthetic goals with a breast revision surgery.
Why Do Patients Choose Breast Augmentation?
Some women seek breast augmentation to add balance to their curves, while others want to add volume and contour where it is naturally lacking. Breast implants can also correct natural asymmetry and are sometimes placed during a reconstructive surgery following mastectomy for breast cancer treatment. Often, women who have given birth enjoy their new breast size prior to breastfeeding, only to feel less enthusiastic about their breasts’ deflated appearance once their child has stopped nursing. Implants can restore post-pregnancy volume and help moms regain confidence and self-esteem.
Breast Revision Following Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation is a permanent surgery, but fortunately, poor results can usually be corrected with what is known as breast revision or secondary breast augmentation. Since so many breast augmentations are performed each year, there will always be a few patients who are dissatisfied with their surgical outcome. The breasts may appear asymmetric, or the positioning of the breast implants may be too far apart or close together, too high, or too low on the chest wall. In other cases, the body may form hardened scar tissue around the implants that squeezes and distorts them, a complication known as capsular contracture. This issue is characterized by overly firm-feeling breast or breasts. Aside from feeling artificial, the breasts can appear obviously artificial when extra-large implants are fitted into a small breast pocket, leading to rippling of the implant which becomes visible through the skin.
Breast implants may also malfunction or become damaged during or after they have been placed. Ideal patient healing and implant durability is not guaranteed. While breast implants don’t have a set shelf life, many of the older models will eventually require replacement with newer materials, like gummy bear implants, which are composed of form-stable silicone gel that are often superior to earlier silicone implants. Breast revision surgery offers patients the opportunity for a do-over to achieve an improved outcome.
Breast Revision Following Breast Lift or Reduction
Other elective breast procedures, including breast lifts (also called mastopexy) and breast reduction surgeries may also occasionally yield unsatisfactory aesthetic changes. Because the surgeon must remove and reposition tissue on both breasts to result in a uniform look, the chance for error increases. The doctors at Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami can re-operate on the breasts to ensure the best final look.
Best Candidates for Breast Revision Surgery
Women who are dissatisfied with the results of a breast surgery may be approved to undergo a secondary surgery to improve the look and feel of the breasts. In most cases, patients in good health with a viable amount of remaining tissue are the best candidates for revision breast surgery. Candidates should also have realistic expectations for what can be accomplished with revision surgery.
Generally, patients are required to wait about 6 months after their initial procedure to ensure full healing of the area and the settling of tissues before another breast surgery can be performed. In many cases, the surgeon can create incisions over the existing scars to avoid additional scarring of the skin. Sometimes breast revision is performed as part of a reconstruction procedure. There are a number of ways to restore or improve the look of post-surgical breasts.
Patients can visit the clinic for an informative doctor-patient consultation where they will learn about the best options for their individual needs. The doctor will review the patient’s medical history, perform an examination of the breasts, and address tissue elasticity and the patient’s aesthetic concerns, as well as any noted irregularities. The doctor may request patient records from the former plastic surgeon to review the pre-surgical condition of the breasts and the techniques utilized during the initial surgery. Additionally, the doctor may require specialized imaging of the breasts if he or she has any concerns about any of the internal structures supporting the breasts.
A second pre-operative appointment may be necessary once all the information has been gathered and reviewed. The doctor may also describe a plan of action that is subject to change depending on the circumstances. There are sometimes unexpected findings during surgery that must be addressed, especially when another surgeon performed the initial breast surgery.
How is Breast Revision Performed?
Prior to undergoing surgery, the patient will meet with the plastic surgeon to discuss the procedure. The doctor will create markings to help guide the surgical team through the procedure and enable them to address each issue the patient requests. Next, the patient is laid comfortably on a bed and wheeled into the surgical suite. General anesthesia is administered, and the patient is continuously monitored throughout the procedure. Next, the skin of the breasts and surrounding areas are thoroughly disinfected and prepped for surgery.
Depending on the patient’s needs and the previous procedure, breast revision can be completed in different ways. In the case of breast augmentation, the surgeon may remove the existing implants and place a new set. While accessing the chest, scar tissue may be removed and the existing tissues can be reinforced with biocompatible materials for better results and a tailored placement. In surgeries where fat grafting was used to enhance the breasts, a second liposuction and transfer may be performed, or implants may be added if sufficient volume cannot be achieved through natural tissue alone.
If the surgeon is addressing a previously performed breast lift or breast reduction, other methods may be used. In many cases, revision breast lift is performed after a lot of natural volume is lost from larger breasts, like after a woman has children or loses a substantial amount of weight. Revision breast lift may be performed with or without implants. If a patient’s breasts remain too large following an initial reduction surgery, a revision can be performed to further reduce the amount of tissue.
Breast revision is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, and patients are discharged after they have woken up from surgery. Ice packs, pain medications, and a comfortable, clean home environment should be prepared for the recovery prior to the surgery. Patients will typically be fitted with a special bandage or bra-like garment to be worn for the first few weeks to support the new shape of the breasts.
Drains may also be installed to prevent excess swelling and infection while allowing fluids to be released from the surgical site. The doctor will advise if this measure is necessary, and how long they must remain in place. Patients will be provided with instructions on how to release fluid from the drains and maintain good hygiene. Patients should expect to sleep on their backs with their heads elevated to a 45 degree angle for a few weeks. This ensures the breasts maintain their shape and remain undisturbed during sleep, and allows for gravity-assisted swelling management.
Depending on which type of breast revision was performed, the surgeon may provide more specific at-home instructions for the patient to follow for optimal healing.
FAQs About Breast Revision
Corrective or revision breast surgery is a surgical procedure designed to correct (or revise) problems caused by a previous breast enhancement procedure. The vast majority of problems connected to breast enhancement surgery can be corrected using the proper technique, implants and materials.
The breasts may look and feel unnatural or irregular, and can impact the way one’s clothing fits or cause discomfort during intimacy. The doctors at the Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami understand the physical and emotional toll an unsatisfactory breast enhancement procedure can have on a woman, which is why our doctors specialize in corrective or revision breast surgery.
At the Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami, our doctors specialize in creating long lasting, natural results with corrective breast surgery. While many plastic surgery practices only offer primary breast enhancement surgery, we proudly offer the full spectrum of cosmetic breast reconstruction, making PSI Miami preferred referral from our peers in the industry. Our experience gives us the ability to identify the problem and decide on the best corrective procedure to bring you the best possible results.
In more complex cases, recovery times can be prolonged, while the opposite is true of less-involved breast revisions. A good indication of a patient’s healing is how well they tolerated the effects of the first surgery. The doctor can provide an approximate timeframe for the recovery once a surgical plan is in place.
While the doctor may have to create additional incisions, every effort is made to camouflage any additional surgical cuts. In many cases, the breast tissue can be accessed through existing scars, so there will be no additional marks or indicators of surgery.
General anesthesia is typically the preferred form of sedation and pain relief for this procedure. Patients will be comfortably asleep for the duration of the surgery, with the highest level of care possible during surgery.
Is revision breast surgery safe?
Revision breast surgery is generally a very safe procedure with a high level of patient satisfaction. If patients have specific health concerns, they should notify their doctor during the consultation. Every effort is made to ensure the safest conditions, including a state-of-the art surgical facility, expertly trained staff, and special care for individual patient concerns.
Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami (PSI Miami)
Each of the three featured doctors at PSI Miami are board-certified plastic surgeons who have undergone years of rigorous education and training to earn this status, and specialize in breast procedures.
Learn more about your options for corrective breast surgery by scheduling an appointment with the doctors at PSI Miami. You can reach the practice by filling out the Contact Plastic Surgery Miami form, or by calling the office at 305.446.7700 to schedule an appointment. Women who are dissatisfied with the results of a breast enhancement procedure are encouraged to talk to the corrective breast surgery specialists at the Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami to discover how corrective breast surgery can help.