What You Need to Know About Breast Implant Revisions

by | Jun 19, 2018 | Breast Implant Complications, Breast Implant Education Center, Breast Implant Revisions

What are Breast Implant Revisions?

Are you considering revision surgery for your breast implants? Board-certified plastic surgeons perform Breast implant revisions for a variety of reasons including breast implant complications, size changes, and switching from silicone gel to saline or vice-versa. Whether you currently have breast implants or are thinking about getting them, educating yourself on breast implant revisions will help you make informed decisions regarding your own plastic surgery journey.

A breast implant revision includes any surgery to fix a problem that arises after your initial breast augmentation. Problems that require additional surgery can include any of the following:

  • Cosmetic Issues: asymmetry, sagging breasts, rippling, size change (wanting larger or smaller implants)
  • Breast implant complications: implant rupture or malfunction, capsular contracture, other less common complications
  • Other: implant removal, switching implant types (saline vs. silicone or turning to newer technology)

If you are currently researching breast implants before an initial augmentation, it is important to know that the younger you are, the more likely you will need a revision in the future. The FDA categorizes breast implants as temporary devices and notes that “the longer people have them, the greater the chances are that they will develop complications, some of which will require more surgery.” However, if you do not experience any complications and you feel happy with your body, there is no reason to replace your breast implants after a certain period of time.

Common Breast Implant Complications that Lead to Revisions

Some things will affect how your implants look over time including weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and aging. When cosmetic issues like these arise, it is up to you and your surgeon to decide if a revision is right. However, there are some medical complications such as capsular contracture and rupture that may require surgery, and certain implants are at a higher risk of these complications. In cases of rupture and capsular contracture, the FDA recommends removing the implant. Knowing the statistical risks associated with each breast implant brand will help you weigh the pros and cons of this crucial decision. See the following tables with statistics on implant rupture risk and capsular contracture risk from some of the top silicone gel implant brands and the IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implant.

Brand Name Rupture Risk for Primary Augmentation*

Allergan gel

Mentor gel

Sientra gel






*FDA Core clinical trial results for primary augmentation; 7-year for IDEAL IMPLANT and Allergan; 6-year for Mentor and Sientra since 7-year results not published.

Brand Name Capsular Contracture Risk for Primary Augmentation*

Allergan gel

Mentor gel

Sientra gel






*FDA Core clinical trial results for primary augmentation; 7-year for IDEAL IMPLANT and Allergan; 6-year for Mentor and Sientra since 7-year results not published.

When to Ask About a Cosmetic Revision

How do you know it is the right time to talk to your board-certified surgeon about a revision? If you feel unhappy with your breast augmentation at all, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your surgeon. Your surgeon can explain non-surgical solutions if they are available, or what kind of surgery you need to get the results you want. Your surgeon can talk through the pros and cons of surgery, and whether you are healthy enough for surgery right now. Every surgery comes with risks, and your surgeon should fully explain these to you before moving forward. If your implants are rippling or feel unnatural, your surgeon may recommend replacing them with a newer or different type of implant. Many women decide to replace their implants because they don’t like the look or feel of their current implant. It is essential to know about different types of implants and their pros and cons before you choose to replace yours. Here is a brief explanation of the three types of breast implants available.

  • Silicone gel: these implants consist of a silicone shell filled with thick silicone gel. Women like these implants because they have a natural feel with less rippling. However, if the implant ruptures, silicone gel sticks to the surrounding tissue and usually requires a complicated operation to extract all of the silicone gel and the surrounding capsule.To detect a rupture, an MRI is needed, which is why the FDA recommends women get MRIs three years after surgery then every two years for the life of the implant.
  • Saline: saline implants have a silicone shell filled with sterilized salt water (saline). Women like these implants because they do not require the same maintenance as silicone gel. If a saline implant ruptures, the saline is naturally absorbed into the body, and your surgeon will only need to remove the shell.
  • IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implants: the IDEAL IMPLANT is a saline-filled implant with a silicone shell and baffling inside to control the flow of saline. The result is a stable, natural feeling implant that does not require maintenance like a silicone gel implant. If this implant ruptures, there is no need for an MRI to detect it, and the body naturally absorbs the saline. Women like the peace of mind that comes with the IDEAL IMPLANT as well as the natural look and natural feel.

Medically Necessary Breast Implant Revisions

If your implant has ruptured or is causing pain, make an appointment with your surgeon as soon as possible, especially if you have silicone gel breast implants. Pain can be a sign of breast implant complications such as rupture or capsular contracture. The silicone gel needs to be removed from a ruptured silicone gel filled implant and often the surrounding tissue capsule must be removed as well. According to the FDA, “it may be difficult or impossible to remove silicone gel that has traveled to other parts of the body.”

Peace of Mind and Breast Implants

A recent survey of over 900 women found that 98% of women would feel somewhat to constantly concerned about the possibility of a silent rupture in their silicone gel implant. Peace of mind is important when you consider that your breast implants could be part of your body for 10, 20, or even 30 years. Breast implant revision needs can happen to anyone with an implant, but knowing which implants are at a higher risk of complications such as capsular contracture and rupture will help you make an educated choice and be prepared for the future.

How to Find a Doctor for Your Revision

Finding a doctor you can trust is an integral part of your plastic surgery journey. If you aren’t happy with the results of your previous surgery you may want to find a new surgeon. Look for a surgeon who offers the IDEAL IMPLANT® Structured Breast Implant, so you know you have all three options if you need to replace your implant. The IDEAL IMPLANT is only offered through select board-certified plastic surgeons around the country. These surgeons have decided they want to provide all three implant options, so their patients don’t have to compromise natural looking breasts with peace of mind. To find one near you visit the IDEAL IMPLANT surgeon finder.

Education Is Key

Learning about breast implant complications and why women seek out revisions is a smart step to take in your breast augmentation journey. Some of the most important things you can do for yourself include:

  • Knowing what a revision is
  • Warning signs of a complication
  • Understanding common risks and complications and how often they happen
  • Learning about the difference between different implants so you can make an educated choice when choosing one
  • Finding a surgeon you trust who doesn’t force you to compromise between beauty and peace of mind

For more information on breast implants, you can read through FDA recommendations. To learn more about the IDEAL IMPLANT, including must-know statistics and where to find a plastic surgeon in your area, visit our website.