Want to Go Bigger or Smaller? Maybe You Need a Breast Implant Exchange

Breast augmentation with implants is the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the U.S. and the one with the highest patient satisfaction ratings. But another growing trend is to have implants exchanged after the original augmentation — to increase or decrease breast size.

You might consider breast implant replacement for various reasons, but the most common goal with this procedure is to exchange the original implants for a different size. (It’s also possible to switch the material or shape of your implants.)

A breast implant replacement is a personal decision, based on how you feel about your body after breast augmentation. It might be a choice you make soon after the procedure, once the tissue has healed and settled into its final form. Or, you might want to have your implants replaced years later, based on lifestyle changes or new ideas about what constitutes a balanced body. As you begin to consider an implant exchange, it’s essential to consult with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon who can help you make a realistic, safe choice that will feel right for you for many years to come.

Going Bigger

About 90% of implant exchanges aim to increase breast size after the initial augmentation. That might be a result of caution when choosing the implant size for the first procedure. Once you know how the original implants make your breasts look and feel, you can make a more informed choice the second time around.

In a procedure to insert larger implants, the surgeon opens the breasts along the original incision lines, removes the old implants, and inserts the new, larger implants in the same breast pockets. While it sounds simple, the procedure is more complicated than the original augmentation surgery. It requires paying special attention to the scar tissue from the first surgery and the capsules that have naturally formed around the implants. It’s an art and a science to replace the implants with minimal scarring and an attractive, natural shape and feel.

Going Smaller

If you’re unhappy with your larger breasts after augmentation, you can exchange the implants for smaller ones. You might be unhappy with overly large implants if you become more physically active and find that large breasts interfere with higher-impact workouts. Larger implants can also cause chronic neck and shoulder pain and can make it more challenging to find clothes that fit correctly. Whatever your reasons for wanting smaller implants, a talented plastic surgeon can explain your options to you.

The procedure to exchange large implants for smaller ones is similar to the surgery to get larger implants, but may require some additional steps. Because the smaller implant won’t fill the breast pocket, it’s usually necessary to remove the capsules that have formed around the original implants, so a new capsule can form to hold the smaller implants in place. It may also be beneficial to combine the implant exchange with a breast lift to tighten stretched skin and form the breasts into an attractive shape.

Other Options

You also have other options when changing implants. If your surgeon placed your original implants within the breast tissue, you might wish to replace them with implants placed beneath the chest muscle. This positioning can minimize scarring and give your breasts a more natural look. In some cases, your surgeon may place supportive tissue in the breast to hold the new implants in place. Or, you could choose to remove the implants without replacing them, possibly with a breast lift to correct any drooping or hollowness.

Learn More About Breast Implant Exchange in Los Angeles

Dr. Stephen Bresnick, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Encino, CA, is an expert in breast augmentation and revision surgery. He has earned a reputation for his compassionate approach and superior artistry. Call us at (818) 981-3333 or contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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