Breast Augmentation Revision With Breast Implants

Reviewed by Richard A. Baxter, M.D.


Breast augmentation is one of the most popular forms of cosmetic plastic surgery in North America, Europe and Australia. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that there were more than 300,000 breast augmentations performed by its member surgeons in 2009, making breast augmentation the single most popular surgical plastic surgery procedure. With the popularity of breast augmentation surgery, it is inevitable that there will be some women who want or need a revision.

The most common reasons for breast augmentation revision surgery are to modify your appearance by changing implant size, shape or placement and to correct capsular contracture. For example, if you have little breast tissue, sub-glandular placement and saline implants, you may have rippling. Your plastic surgeon might recommend changing to silicone implants placed partially below the muscle to improve this. Other reasons for having breast augmentation revision surgery include replacing a ruptured/deflated breast implant and correcting other issues around implant placement such as asymmetry, bottoming out, general breast implant malposition, and symmastia (bread loafing). Whatever your reason for undergoing breast implant revision, the results should make you look and feel your best. An open dialogue with a plastic surgeon experienced at breast augmentation revision is critical to this process. Please read on to learn more about the procedure.

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon for Breast Augmentation Revision

Breast augmentation revision is generally more complex than primary breast augmentation and should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with appropriate experience. Not all plastic surgeons have adequate experience with breast augmentation revision and some will not even take on the very complex cases. If you think your plastic surgeon may lack the necessary experience, consult with another plastic surgeon to get a second opinion. You can find plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in our directory of plastic surgeons. Many of these plastic surgeons have extensive experience with breast augmentation revision. You can determine this by viewing their websites, asking their office staff and asking to see photos of their patients at your consultation. A second revision after the first attempt didn’t work out is even more difficult, so it is important to pick a plastic surgeon for your revision carefully.

Up-Sizing Tip

One of the most common reasons  for undergoing breast augmentation revision is to increase the size of your implants to give your breasts an even fuller appearance. If you are considering this, you must be wondering how much larger implant you will need to achieve your size goal. Implants come in very small size increments, especially at the small end of the range. Many breast implants come in increments of 25cc (for example, 200cc, 225cc, 250cc, 275cc, etc.). It is likely that up-sizing by only 25cc or 50cc will make the difference hard to see. However, upsizing from 300cc to 400cc will make the difference noticeable. Keep in mind that one of the main reasons for problems requiring revision is breast implants that are overly large. You should spend time in your consultation discussing your size goals with your plastic surgeon so that he can recommend the size breast implant that will give you the look you desire.

The Cost of Breast Augmentation Revision

The cost of breast augmentation revision is generally higher than for simple breast augmentation surgery. That is because the revision process is more complex and may take longer than the initial breast augmentation surgery. The more complex the revision is, the higher the cost will be. A simple change of implant style or size with no change in placement might be close to the price for a primary breast augmentation. However, breast implant revision surgery that corrects capsular contracture and moves the implant placement from sub-glandular to sub-pectoral will be more involved, will take longer, and will cost more. Other, more complex, revisions can be even more expensive.

There is a very wide range of costs for breast augmentation revision surgery because of the wide range of reasons for having the surgery. You should consult with your plastic surgeon to get a better idea of what it will cost in your case. If you need to find a new plastic surgeon to perform your revision, you can find a board certified plastic surgeon with breast augmentation revision experience in our surgeon finder.

Breast Augmentation Revision Procedure & Recovery

If you are thinking about changing your breast implants, you’ve been through primary breast augmentation surgery already and have some idea of what the procedure is like. The revision procedure has many similarities, but also many differences. For example, you will need to spend time discussing your case with your plastic surgeon to make sure that the revision gives you what you want and/or properly corrects any problems. This information sharing is critical to the success of the surgery so you need to have a good working relationship with your plastic surgeon and feel confident telling him/her everything. You will be well-served to write all of your questions down to make sure they are all answered to your satisfaction at your consultation. You may have to choose new breast implants, decide again on size, filler material (saline or silicone), shape, texture, placement, etc. You will need to go to an accredited surgical facility for the procedure. You will need to have some form of anesthesia and, finally, you will have to take time to recover.

The differences in breast implant revision surgery arise from the complexity of your specific case. A simple case of exchanging existing implants for implants with a different fill, size, profile and/or texture, can be quite straightforward. In this case, if your plastic surgeon doesn’t need to perform any major work on the existing pockets, your surgery may be fairly quick and recovery may be quite fast, similar to or even faster than primary breast augmentation surgery. On the other hand, if your surgery is complex, the procedure will take longer, you will be under anesthesia longer, and your recovery may be more involved.

Examples of more complex breast augmentation revisions include correcting capsular contracture, symmastia, bottoming out, changing to a smaller implant, correcting stretched or loose breast tissue, and implant malposition. In each of these cases, your plastic surgeon will need to perform some corrective surgery in addition to the implant exchange. Correcting capsular contracture may involve completely removing the capsule (capsulectomy) and moving the implants from the current position above or below the muscle to a new pocket. Correcting symmastia and bottoming out or changing to smaller implants can involve extensive work to the existing pockets to ensure that the implants remain where they are supposed to as you heal. Revision surgery may also be combined with breast lift surgery (mastopexy) to give you a more lifted and youthful appearance. The more complex your breast augmentation revision, the more important it is to choose a plastic surgeon that has specific experience correcting problems like yours.


This site has many women who have undergone breast augmentation revision participating in the discussion forums. These women can give you the patient’s perspective on why they did it, what it was like, and whether or not they were happy with the procedure. You do not always have to travel to another city or state to find a qualified plastic surgeon but you owe it to yourself to see one experienced at breast augmentation revision.

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