Breast Implant Revision – Why is it necessary?

According to a 2011 report by the FDA, one in five patients needed a replacement or revision procedure after ten years of having implants. This means that many women will enjoy their implants for even longer, or some might choose to have a replacement sooner. Here are a few reasons why a second breast implant revision procedure might be necessary.

Implant Rupture

Ruptures are rare for both silicone and saline implants however the possibility is still there (about 1% per year). This is one of the few reasons that someone would “need” to have a revision surgery. With a saline implant, a rupture would be more apparent as the implant would visibly deflate. A silicone implant rupture is more difficult to detect because the cohesive gel filling tends to keep its shape and remain in place – a so-called ‘silent rupture’. No matter what implant type you have, I will ask you to follow-up annually to detect any issues, including the first signs of a rupture. If you have silicone implants, an MRI may also be required if there are concerns for a rupture. If a rupture is detected, a revision procedure will need to be done to remove the old implants and place new ones.

Capsular Contracture

Scar tissue is a natural part of the breast augmentation healing process. The body forms a scar around the implants to secure them in place and “separate them” from the surrounding tissues. However, when scar tissue tightens and contracts it is known as a capsular contracture. The earliest stages of this condition restrict implant movement and alter the aesthetic appearance. As the condition progresses it can result in a misshapen, hard and occasionally painful implant. To fix the issue, a revision procedure would need to be performed to remove the capsule and replace the implant.

Dissatisfaction with Implants

Whether it’s a previous surgery that didn’t give you the results you expected, or you’ve just changed your mind about your implant type or size, dissatisfaction with breast augmentation can occur. Many women decide at some point after their initial procedure that they would like to change the size of their implants, have their breasts lifted or otherwise have their implants adjusted. The only way to do this is with a revision procedure that would be customized to correct exactly what bothers you.


This is a big reason in the US, not so much in Canada yet, but breast implants come with a 10-year warranty that covers against rupture and capsular contracture. In the US it is a trend for women to have a simple implant exchange just before the 10-year mark to get new warranty coverage for an additional 10 years. The thought behind this is that it would be less expensive to do a straight implant exchange at that point rather than cover the costs of a revision surgery later if they develop a capsular contracture or have a rupture.

While your implants aren’t meant to be lifelong devices, they can last a long time unless you experience one of these issues. If you do develop an issue with your implants please don’t hesitate to contact our office to book a consultation to discuss what I can do to help you love your look again!

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