As breast augmentation is one of the most common cosmetic operations, changing breast implants or removing them completely is also a very common procedure in plastic surgery. The most frequent cause of an implant change/removal is the so-called capsular contracture. In principle, a silicone implant (from recognised manufacturers) can remain in the body for life.
Since a breast implant is a foreign body, the human body forms a shell/capsule around it within approximately 6 weeks. Should this capsule become increasingly scarred over the years, a so-called capsular contracture can result, which can possibly lead to scarring deformities and pain. Once this stage of capsular contracture has been reached, a change of breast implants is recommended. In addition, it may be necessary to remove parts of the capsule (partial capsulectomy or capsulotomy) or nowadays only rarely a complete capsule removal (total capsulectomy). In general, during an implant replacement it is recommended to choose a slightly larger implant due to the years of pre-stretching of the soft tissue envelope of the breast. If a somewhat sagging breast shape has also developed over the years (age-related, after weight fluctuations or after pregnancy and breastfeeding), a combination of implant change, capsule removal and breast lift is usually necessary (augmentation mastopexy). If the patient completely refrains from inserting a new breast implant, it is also possible to replace the tissue with her own fat or to perform a special technique of breast lifting (autoaugmentation mastopexy or autoimplant mastopexy) in order to achieve a (somewhat smaller) aesthetic breast shape.
Medical term: implant reimplantation, implant revision, capsulotomy, capsulectomy, augmentation mastopexy, implant explantation
Type of Anesthesia: General anaesthesia
Duration of procedure (operation time): 1 to 2 hours
Hospital stay: outpatient or 1 overnight stay
After treatment: non-iron sports bra for 6 weeks
Fit for socializing: after approx. 1 week
Fit for work: after approx. 2 weeks (depending on physical strain)
Recovery time: approx. 6 weeks
Price: from 12.000 CHF
The breast implants are changed or removed under general anaesthesia on an outpatient or inpatient basis. In principle, the breast can usually be opened via the scar of the old surgical access and the implant including parts of the capsule removed, so that no new scars develop. If an additional breast lift makes sense, additional scars may be necessary, depending on the extent of the breast ptosis (the shape of the hanging breast), in order to achieve a long-lasting, beautifully shaped result. In very rare cases a drainage is necessary. If the implant is only replaced by the patient’s own fat, this can be done in the same operation. The fat is removed from another site (tummy, legs, hips) and finally injected subcutaneously (under the skin) in front of the mammary gland tissue and into the pectoral muscle. Again, no additional scars are necessary (except for small incisions at the removal sites).
Serious complications are very rare during this operation. In very few cases there may be post-operative bleeding or infection. In general, an implant change is usually more painless than an initial breast enlargement, as the breast tissue has already been stretched during the previous operation. During the first days and weeks, a temporary loss of sensation or hypersensitivity can occur in the area of the breast and nipple.
During the first 4-6 weeks, the breasts are supported with a well-fitting non-iron sports bra. You will receive this immediately after the operation from us. You can return to your workplace 7 – 14 days after the operation. However, you should wait 4 – 6 weeks after the operation for sports activities and strenuous physical activity.
As with any aesthetic surgery, the cost of an implant change depends heavily on the extent of the surgery, the time required for the operation, the surgical effort and the number of combined operations. The costs for the implants must also be taken into account.
The costs are discussed in detail with the patient beforehand, are to be understood as a flat rate per case and are paid in advance. They include anesthesia, surgery and all other related costs. As a rule, most health insurance companies cover a part of the operation, in which the removal of the implants and the capsulectomy are covered, however the aesthetic part has to be paid by the patient.
Prices for breast implant removal/replacement: from 12.000CHF