Breast implants aren’t usually inserted for life and are recommended (depending on their type and on advice from the manufacturer and also the attending physician) to be replaced after approximately 10 years even if they’re in a good condition. Other reasons for re-augmentation include dissatisfaction with the size, post-pregnancy sagging, weight changes, capsular contracture, rupture, etc. Last but not least, the implants may have become broken or damaged.
Replacement is nowhere near as challenging as the original augmentation. It’s performed under general anaesthesia, and therefore requires a prior pre-operative examination.
During surgery, the original implant is removed and replaced with a new one. After inserting the new implant, the surgical wound is stitched to ensure minimal scarring.
Once implants are replaced, a post-augmentation regimen applies (wear an elasticated brassiere, avoiding physical activities, and looking after the scars so that they soften as much as possible).
Sometimes, capsulectomy is performed alongside implant replacement. This concerns the removal of a so-called capsule, i.e. a fibrous tissue casing around the implant. If the tissue is hard, solid, and compresses the implant, it means that a capsular contracture has occurred, often resulting in breast hardening and its painful deformation. The causes of capsular contractures are unknown but there are ways of minimising their formation, such as using micro-textured implants and placing them behind the muscle.