Breast Implant Exchange – Dr. Mackenzie in Santa Barbara

There are many reasons for a woman who already has breast implants to consider breast implant exchange. Some women simply want to change size. More commonly, exchanging breast implants is done to avoid problems with aging implants, or to get a nicer result by exchanging saline implants for silicone implants.

Breast implants can last a long time, but they should not be expected to last forever. I see many patients who had breast implant surgery elsewhere, particularly years ago, who were given the impression that breast implants could last forever and that they would never need to have additional surgery unless they developed a capsular contracture or wanted to get different sized implants. The fact is, as I tell all my breast implant patients at Pacific Plastic Surgery in Santa Barbara, your chance of having additional surgery because of your implants is virtually 100%. It is just a matter of time.

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I believe it is best to be proactive. Breast implant failure on an annual basis is roughly 1-2% per year. This varies slightly between implant manufacturers and styles. Current evidence shows Sientra implants with better capsular contracture and rupture rates than Mentor or Allergan.  Assuming that you haven’t otherwise needed or desired to exchange your breast implants, you should consider doing it between 10 and 15 years after your implants were placed.  MRI follow-up is an FDA recommendation for silicone gel implants and current recommendations include getting a non-contrast MRI of the breasts at 3 years after surgery, and every 2 years thereafter.  For more information on this see our page on Breast Implant Complications and Revision.
Silicone breast implants have been available for primary cosmetic breast augmentation since 2006.  If you had saline implants placed during the silicone implant moratorium between 1992 and 2006, you may be interested in exchanging your saline implants for silicone implants. Silicone implants are generally considered to be more aesthetic, having a more natural feel than saline implants, and less prone to rippling or wrinkling.
Breast implant exchange is often done with other procedures to improve breast appearance, such as breast lift, or to correct problems such as capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is usually treated by replacing the breast implants, as well as removing some or all of the offending thickened or calcified breast capsule.
In this video, Lisa talks about her experience in Santa Barbara with breast implant exchange (saline to silicone) and mastopexy

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