What is Breast Implant Replacement? 

Breast implant Replacement surgery is breast surgery that involves removing old breast implants and replacing them with new implants.

This procedure may be done to correct complications or in combination with other procedures, most commonly a breast lift or mastopexy. Implants can also be replaced to change the size or shape of the breasts if your preferences change with time.

Common reasons for Breast Implant Replacement include:

  • Cosmetic reasons, e.g. change size/shape, restore symmetry
  • Complications, e.g. capsular contracture, rupture 
  • Replace old or aged implants
  • Replace PIP Implants
  • As part of combination surgery, e.g. breast lift 

Who is suitable for breast implant replacement?

You might be a good candidate for breast implant replacement surgery if any of the following can be said of you:

  • You are unhappy with the size, shape or position of your implants
  • Your implants are `bottoming out` (lateral displacement)
  • Your implants have become hard to the touch and misshapen (capsular contracture)
  • Your implants have started to move or rotate creating an uneven appearance
  • Your implants have moved to creating a gap between your breasts
  • Your implants are made by PIP and you want them replaced 
  • You are having another procedure and want your implants updated at the same time

How does Breast Implant Replacement surgery work?

Breast implant replacement surgery typically takes place under general anaesthetic and lasts between 1 to 2 hours depending on the size and shape of the new breast implants, the technique your surgeon employs and whether combination surgery is undergone at the same time.

Your surgeon will start the procedure by removing the original implants via incisions made on the original scar site. If the new implant is similar in terms of size and shape, then the existing capsule will suffice and replacement surgery can be quick.

If the new implant is different from the original implant, then surgery is more complex as the capsule will need to be altered (either enlarged or reduced) in order to accommodate the new implant.

Once the new implant is in place, your surgeon will suture the breast along the your existing scarring line to leaving minimal scarring.

PIP Breast Implants

Regrettably, implant replacement has become increasingly popular in light of recent concerns raised around the quality of implants after the PIP controversy, when disreputable providers utilised poor-quality materials in a bid to cut costs.

The Cadogan Clinic is one of the very few facilities to have never used low-quality PIP products - sadly, other clinics have not made the same commitment to these high standards of healthcare practice in the past. As such, we are a trusted source for anyone needing implant replacement with a safe, high-quality alternative. We have built a world-leading reputation for the replacement of implants carried out by lower-end cosmetic clinics, and we strongly recommend that you contact us if you are experiencing any irritation or inflammation in your chest area and think you may have been exposed to PIP implants in the past.

if you have previously had breast implant surgery at the Cadogan Clinic, you can rest assured your implants are of the highest quality and are not PIP implants.

What to expect

CONSULTATION

The first step for all of our implant replacement patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation. At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing anatomy.

Your surgeon will take you through the options available to you, and which is the most preferential for you given your stated ambitions. Having established this, several key measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken.

Some questions you might like to ask include:

  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • What will be expected of me to get the best results?
  • What surgical technique is recommended for me?
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • How can I expect my breast implant revision to look over time?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the outcome?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure?

Finally a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding what to expect in the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.
If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.

Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.

PRE – PROCEDURE

If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure. Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:

If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure. Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:

 

  • In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and complications (see FAQs)
  • In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
  • In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission

DAY OF THE PROCEDURE

On the day of your procedure we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant vitals, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.

The procedure itself takes place under general anaesthetic over the course of one to two hours. Your surgeon will make an incision along your existing scar site, and remove and replace the implants via this aperture in the skin. Your surgeon may need to increase the size of the capsule and the incision site, if a larger or differently shaped implant is being used. Your surgeon will then re-suture along the same scar site once surgery is complete.

POST PROCEDURE & RECOVERY

You should not feel much pain during the procedure, but you may have some for a few days or weeks afterwards. You'll be given painkillers if you need them.

Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between two to three hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.

Once home you will have access to our dedicated on-call nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.

We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process.

We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 - 8 weeks for a final check up.

What can I expect from my surgery?

Why come to the Cadogan Clinic

  • Leading cosmetic breast surgery unit in the country, with a team of 6 renowned breast specialists 
  • Strong heritage of corrective and reconstructive work on behalf of other Clinics
  • Day case surgery, go home the same day 
  • Low infection risk, standalone specialist cosmetic unit 
  • Never used PIP Implants
  • Dedicated 24 / 7 nursing aftercare team to assist recovery  

What are the side effects and risks

Breast Implant Replacement surgery is a safe procedure, but it is common after surgery to experience:

  • bruising and swelling
  • temporary numbness
  • a small amount of scarring 

As with all surgical procedures, Breast Implant Replacement surgery carries some risk and it is possible that you might experience:

  • Nausea 
  • Bleeding or Infection 
  • Poor healing of incisions and scarring
  • a collection of blood underneath the skin (haematoma)
  • death of fat tissue (fat necrosis) or embolism
  • Capsular contracture 
  • Implant rupture
  • ALCL

Your surgeon will discuss these risks comprehensively at your consultation and explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your consultation is designed to be perfect opportunity to ask all the pressing questions that you have to your consultant, ahead of making a decision on surgery. It is vital that you are fully informed before making your final decision, and the consultation is therefore a key part of the education and decision making process.

Some good examples of questions to ask, include:

+ Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
+ Do you think my goals are realistic given my existing anatomy?
+ Will I require a single surgery or multiple surgeries?
+ Can I see some before & after pictures of implant replacement procedures you have done previously?
+ How long will my recovery take?
+ Is it true that Cadogan offers 24/7 on call nursing service?
+ What can I expect in terms of bruising, swelling and scarring?
+ What are my options if I am unhappy with my results?

After your surgery, you will be asked to come in for a post-operative appointment to come back and see our nursing staff at the Clinic between 1 and 2 weeks after your surgery. At this point your incision sites will be reviewed, and your preliminary healing will be assessed.

After 6 weeks your surgeon will personally review your progress – again at the Clinic - and make sure you are recovering as expected. In addition, they will remove any stitches and advise you on the need for further dressings.

Throughout the recovery period you will have full access to our 24/7 on call nursing service, and full access to the Clinic and our post-operative facilities.
Our aim is to make you feel as comfortable as possible during the entirety of your recovery period.

As your anaesthetic or sedation wear off you will wake up in our recovery facilities at the Clinic. You may feel a little drowsy but this often wears off within a few hours. After several hours in recovery, you will eat and hydrate. At that point, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic by our nursing staff.

It is common to feel a little pain and discomfort in the immediate aftermath of surgery. This will wear off in due course. Our 24/7 on call service is open to all patients for any question or query they may have at this time.

You will not be able to drive yourself home after the surgery. You should arrange for someone to pick you up and take you home. In addition, you will need to ask someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours after your procedure.

One of the major benefits of day case surgery and the anaesthetic used at the Cadogan Clinic (TIVA) is that recovery is typically very swift and patients can be back at work and active very shortly after the procedure. Whilst the extent of such activity should be gradually phased in, you should be back at work within a week or two and exercising within four to six weeks.

We always advise that you return to low impact activities first like walking and cycling before you are able to reintroduce more strenuous activity such as lifting heavy weights and doing intense aerobic activities.

Final results are typically first seen six or so weeks after your procedure, with ongoing improvements beyond this point likely as the healing process fully completes over the next 3 months or so.

Your surgeon will be able to give you specific guidance at your consultation.

Certain lifestyle factors can increase the risk of complications during and after your surgery. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, being overweight and taking drugs (for medical or recreational use.)

The most common impact of smoking before your surgery is that it increases your chances of developing an infection and inhibits your body's natural healing processes. We insist that all patients stop smoking and using nicotine products at least six weeks before surgery. Reducing alcohol intake is also strongly advised.

Your doctor will discuss your current BMI and drug use at your consultation and advise you further on this.

A breast implant is a foreign body that does not occur naturally in the human body. When a foreign body is introduced to the human body, the human body recognises it as foreign and organically forms a fibrous tissue capsule around the entire implant. This occurs with a breast implant and is completely normal and expected.

The capsule formation process will be slightly different from person to person, however. In those who form more scar tissue (who 'scar easily'), the breasts develop an excessively hard or high volume of tissue around the breast, which may form with the muscular tissue and cause it to contract.
This is called Capsular contracture, and can cause problems with the appearance of the breast implant, deforming the size, shape and proportions of the breast. The contractions themselves can also be uncomfortable for the individual.

Breast Implant Replacement surgery is effective surgery in which the capsule can be removed (Capsulectomy) and a new implant inserted around which a new, healthy capsule can be formed and the original desired aesthetic restored

PIP implants were cheap silicone breast implants that were found to contain an unapproved silicone gel with potential health risks. They were also revealed as prone to splitting and up to six times as likely to rupture as high quality, approved implants.

PIP implants were largely used by low-cost, chain cosmetic providers due to the fact that they were the cheapest on the market. Almost 50,000 women in the UK received these implants.

Understandably, once this was found out by regulators, many women who had received the PIP implants wanted them removed or replaced, even though no link was ever directly proven to serious health complications.

During this crisis, the Cadogan Clinic became one of the most prominent corrective implant Clinics in the country, since we never used PIP products and enjoy a reputation as one of the leading specialist plastic and cosmetic clinics in the country. We continue to see PIP patients today

It is useful to be aware of the signs of implant rupture. Signs include:

+ swelling or a lump around the breast
+ a change in the shape of the breast
+ redness, pain or a burning sensation

If you have any of these symptoms you should seek immediate medical advice.

Breast Implant Replacement surgery is relatively straightforward surgery.

Most implants can be removed quite easily, even under local anaesthesia. Polyurethane covered implants (Polytech) can be more difficult to extract, if one wants to remove all the foam covering.

Surgery time is commonly no more than an hour or two.

The breast will typically resume a normal shape and volume in the few weeks following surgery.

In some instances, particularly in older patients, there may be some excess skin or tissue caused by the effects of ageing or by stretching during pregnancy or weight gain.

Some patients elect to have a combination mastopexy (breast lift) at the same time to ensure to this loose skin is pre-emptively tightened around the new breast mould or even excised completely. This procedure can also ensure an optimal breast and nipple position is delivered, and that the breasts feel firmer following surgery.

Breast implants do not have an expiration date. It is not the case that implants should be replaced every 10 years. If implants are looking good and feeling good there is no reason to change them.

Breast Implants only need to be replaced in the very rare case whereby they break or rupture, which is usually a result of sub-standard implants or sub-standard surgery. This is not serious or a health risk, but may cause a change in shape or feel of the implant necessitating its removal.

Implants can also be replaced for personal reasons, including wanting to change the shape or size of the implants, breasts change due to weight loss or gain, age or having children.

The Cadogan Clinic has become a well-known provider of implant replacement services as our reputation as a trusted cosmetics provider was enhanced following the PIP scandal that implicated so many of our competitors.

As one of the few Clinics in the country not to use PIP products and insist on higher quality products, we were at the forefront of the replacement drive. It remains one of our most commonly performed surgical procedures at the Clinic to this day.

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