Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery, Sheffield

Breast implant replacement

Mr Morritt regularly undertakes breast implant replacement surgery. He performs the surgery at the Claremont Private Hospital and BMI Thornbury Private Hospital in Sheffield.

When are breast implants replaced?

Breast implant replacement is most frequently requested for the following reasons:

  • When breast implants break or rupture
    • Breast implants like any manufactured product have a finite lifespan and therefore do not last forever. When breast implants rupture this may cause breast pain, a change in breast shape or size, hardening of the breast, or lumps in the breasts or armpits.
  • To change the size of breast implants
    • This may be to increase the size of the breast implants
    • Sometimes patients want to reduce the size of their implants. In this situation breast implant replacement is frequently combined with skin tightening (breast uplift or mastopexy)
  • Breast implant scares
    • Rarely, there have been breast implant scares such as with the PIP breast implants. Mr Morritt has never inserted PIP implants but has experience in removing PIP implants and replacing the implants with new implants from different manufacturers.
  • When breast implants have been in for a long time
    • Some patients who are not having any problems with their breast implants request replacement of their breast implants for new ones. This is most frequently after the implants have been inserted for more than 10 years.

Breast implant replacement surgery

Mr Morritt performs breast implant replacement surgery under General anaesthetic (the patient is asleep). The old scar from when the breast implants were originally inserted is removed and widened slightly. The implants are then removed. If the capsule around the implant is thickened or hard (calcified), Mr Morritt removes some or all of it (partial or full capsulectomy). If the capsule around the implant is thin, then Mr Morritt only performs capsulotomies (internal releasing incisions which allow the breast to expand). If the old implants are found to be ruptured, any silicone that is visible in the chest is removed. The breast is then cleaned out with antiseptic solution (Betadine) and the new breast implants are inserted. This surgery usually require insertion of drain. The drain is usually taken out the day after surgery before patients go home.

Normally, the replacement of breast implants requires an increase in breast implant size to take up skin laxity. If patients do not want an increase in breast size, an uplift (skin tightening; mastopexy procedure) is often necessary.

Breast implant replacement before and after photos

Case 1. Photos showing appearances before and after replacement of breast implants, breast tissue reduction and breast uplift. This lady was unhappy with the drooping and heaviness of her breasts which had increased in size over the 20 years after her breast augmentation surgery. Her implants were replaced for smaller round silicone breast implants and during the same surgery the breast tissue was reduced in size, breast skin tightened and nipples lifted with a breast uplift procedure. The implant gives more upper breast fullness than would be present after a breast uplift/reduction. By reducing the amount of breast tissue in the lower part of the breast the chance of the patient developing a ‘waterfall deformity’ with time – where the breast tissue gradually droops over the implant is reduced. Thanks to my patient for allowing me to show the images from this complex breast surgery revision case.

Risks of surgery

Breast implant replacement surgery usually goes well and complications are rare. The risks of surgery are very similar to the risks of breast augmentation surgery – click here to see these.

  • Poor scar (thick, red, raised, painful, stretched)
  • Bleeding (requiring a return to the operating theatre)
  • Infection (requiring implant removal)
  • Permanent numbness of nipples or breast skin
  • Chronic pain
  • Asymmetry of breast size, shape or nipple position
  • Stretch marks
  • Visible rippling
  • Palpable implant
  • Capsular contracture
  • Breast implant rupture
  • Can’t promise cup size or shape
  • DVT/PE
  • Death
  • Chronic seroma
  • Breast implant sickness
  • Limited lifespan of implant
  • Drooping of breast/bottoming out
  • Unhappiness with cosmetic outcome