woman holding her breasts

woman holding her breastsBreast augmentation remains the top aesthetic surgery performed in the US, and the vast majority of women who undergo the procedure are delighted with their results. With both saline and silicone gel breast implants, optimizing longevity of the implants and avoiding additional procedures depend on close patient follow up and monitoring. Plastic surgeons continuously evaluate outcomes of breast augmentation surgery to finetune the results and provide the most effective post-operative management for their patients.

Ensuring optimal long-term results for breast augmentation patients depends on many factors, including some of the following important considerations:

  • Unlike diamonds, breast implants don’t last forever
    • like all other medical devices, breast implants have a limited lifespan, although in some cases they may remain intact for 20 years or more
    • the newest generation of breast implants is designed to minimize the risk of implant rupture
    • implant “failure” is usually due to rupture of the external silicone shell with leakage of the saline or silicone gel
    • silicone implant rupture may be limited to gel leakage within the capsule around the implant (intracapsular rupture) or it may spread outside the capsule (extracapsular rupture)
  • Regular follow up consultations with your plastic surgeon are essential
    • yearly physical examination by your surgeon makes it possible to evaluate changes in your implants
    • all women should do monthly breast self-exam to assess for new masses or abnormal areas on their breasts
  • Breast imaging studies may detect potential problems with your implants
    • radiologic breast imaging includes mammogram, ultrasound or sonogram, and MRI
    • imaging can diagnose “silent rupture” of implants that do not show clinical signs of implant rupture and in patients who are asymptomatic
    • FDA recently released new recommendations for silicone gel implants which include:
      • first breast MRI at 5-6 years after surgery
      • subsequent breast MRI every 2-3 years
      • ultrasound may be used instead of MRI to evaluate implants for rupture and silicone gel leakage
  • Breast implant removal or revision with implant removal and replacement may be indicated after breast augmentation for any of the following reasons:
    • problems with the appearance or integrity of the implants themselves or of the capsule (capsular contracture)
    • different aesthetics with patients desiring smaller or larger sized breasts
    • newer, better implant options become available
    • changes in the appearance of the breast, skin, nipple, or areola
    • onset of rare disease such as breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) or of nonspecific symptoms as in breast implant illness (BII).
  • Patients may benefit from additional cosmetic breast enhancement surgery due to changes in their breast size or shape from effects of pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight gain or loss, or aging
    • fat injections may help camouflage visible implant edges or add volume to the breasts
    • a breast lift repositions low nipples, reshapes sagging breasts, and removes excess breast skin
    • nipple and areola surgery corrects inverted nipples or reduces enlarged nipples and areolas

Dr. Hutchinson is a board certified plastic surgeon with advanced specialized fellowship training in aesthetic plastic surgery. She is dedicated to ensuring the best and most natural results for her breast augmentation patients, and to providing them with optimal care throughout their breast implant experience. Her cosmetic surgery practice on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is equipped with a fully certified AAAASF Operating Room for the safety, privacy, and comfort of her patients. If you are one of the millions of women with breast implants, are concerned about any aspect of your implants, and would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hutchinson, plesae contact us or call us at (212) 452-1400.

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