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Breast Implant Swap/Exchange

Cosmetic breast surgery remains one of the most sought after and satisfying cosmetic surgery procedures in the US and around the world. Whether due to weight gained or lost, pregnancy or simply age, a woman’s breasts change significantly over the course of their lives. Along with these natural changes, often comes significant dissatisfaction with appearance and self-confidence.

Many patients opt for breast augmentation in their younger years and the results are most often excellent and long lasting. But over time, the body changes even if the implant doesn’t and as time goes by our interests may change too, making the previous implants less desirable due to size or positioning. Fortunately, most women have the option to undergo a breast implant exchange or swap.

Why Exchange Breast Implants?

When a woman comes to consultation with Dr. Szymanski looking to swap out her breast implants, we first discuss the reason behind the decision…these may include:

  • Different aesthetic priorities
  • Age related changes in the look and feel of breast implants
  • Changing the type of implant – often from saline to silicone
  • Complications such as swelling or asymmetry, hardening of the capsule around the implant or even rupture
  • Changing from textured to smooth
  • And more…

All of the reasons above are valid circumstances in which a breast implant exchange can be considered. However, the old adage that breast implants have an effective life or “expiration date” of only 10 years is no longer applicable. Patients can often expect their implants to last far longer assuming there are no complications such as those mentioned above.

Exchanging an Implant

Exchanging an implant can be a very simple procedure, often using the existing incision lines to minimize new scarring. We do have to be mindful of several considerations, especially when we are removing a larger implant and downsizing to smaller ones. This is especially true if the initial implant stretched skin and breast tissue due to its size.

We must also be mindful that after any implant procedure, scar tissue forms around the implant. This is known as the capsule. Many times, the existing capsule offers the space needed to exchange the implants easily. However, if the capsule has contracted or if it is too large (if we are downsizing the implant), the capsule will need to be removed along with the old implant.

If the implant was placed long ago, if the patient has been pregnant or breastfeeding since the initial implant or has gained or lost a significant amount of weight, it is possible that the breast has stretched and sagged. If this is the case, a breast lift is often performed alongside the implant swap. The breast lift can offer even better cosmetic results than the implant swap alone.

Making the Decision

Making this decision to exchange a breast implant is a very personal one that must be made alongside your cosmetic surgeon. Your surgical risk profile may have changed significantly in the years since your initial implant procedure and your body may have changed significantly as well. These are all considerations that will be discussed during consultation before we, together, determine that a breast implant exchange is safe, appropriate and will yield the results that you would like. The first step therefore is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Szymanski to learn more about whether a breast implant exchange is right for you.

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