Florence Mussat, M.D.
680 N Lake Shore Dr. #1030 Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 751-9000

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Breast Implant Removal With Lift vs. Implant Exchange

Breast revision surgery involves multiple options and surgical techniques, which may confuse some patients trying to find the correct procedure to adjust to lifestyle changes or resolve an issue with existing implants. As a breast surgery expert and board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Florence Mussat is familiar with the complex nuances of cosmetic breast surgery. Perhaps more importantly, as a woman, she understands the importance of choosing the right operation.

Two of the most common breast revision surgeries are implant removal with a breast lift and a 1:1 implant exchange. Read on to learn which is better for your aesthetic goals and lifestyle needs.

What Is Implant Removal With Lift, and How Is It Different From Implant Exchange?

Implant removal, or explant surgery, aims to prioritize patient safety. Dr. Mussat can restore your breasts’ original shape by adding a lift to the procedure. For medical and cosmetic assurances, completely removing the implants is critical, especially for women at high risk of experiencing health problems associated with their implants. The en bloc technique is a sophisticated and reliable procedure to protect a woman with implant issues from further complications.

What Is the En Bloc Procedure?

Developed by French plastic surgeons as a thorough form of implant removal, the en bloc procedure carefully removes the capsule and implant as a single unit. For women with ruptured silicone implants, the en bloc procedure is essential to avoid bodily contamination.

Carefully removing the capsule and implant in one piece ensures no foreign material remains. For additional protection, Dr. Mussat may install a drain to discourage the formation of a new capsule and help your breasts regain their original shape.

Why the En Bloc Procedure?

For several reasons, the medical community and many patients prefer the en bloc option. During surgery, Dr. Mussat repairs breast tissues to restore original breast contours. After she removes the implant and capsule, your breast tissues should gradually settle back into their original position on the chest wall, leaving you with beautiful, natural-looking breasts.

Why Add a Lift?

If you’ve had breast implants for years, the overlying breast tissue may have weakened, causing your breasts to flatten or droop. Sagging breasts, medically known as ptosis, may result from pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations, or the natural aging process.

Removing your implants will diminish your breasts’ size and fullness, leading to significant sagging and skin laxity. A lift may be necessary to restore aesthetics, either at the same time as en bloc breast implant removal or in another surgery.

What Is Implant Exchange?

As its name indicates, a breast implant exchange involves removing one set of implants and replacing them with another. Dr. Mussat uses breast revision surgery to help women suffering from complications of a previous augmentation or because they’re unhappy with the size of their existing implants and would like to replace them with smaller or larger ones.

Whatever the reason, Dr. Mussat has extensive experience in primary and secondary breast revision surgeries and can address your concerns following a breast augmentation.

What Happens During an Implant Removal With Lift?

When performing an en bloc capsulectomy, Dr. Mussat must separate the capsule from the surrounding tissues while the breast implant is still inside. This meticulous and delicate process allows her to remove the entire unit through a vertical incision from the lower breast crease to the areola. This procedure ensures no part of the implant or fluid within the capsule comes in contact with your body. Plus, Dr. Mussat’s method preserves the glandular tissue in your breasts. No drains are necessary.

During a breast lift, Dr. Mussat will use the same incisions to elevate your breasts and achieve a well-contoured and appealing look. Her procedure uses your tissue to create an internal bra to support your breasts. Next, she removes excess breast skin, tightening and reshaping what remains. Finally, she will reposition the nipples to be higher on your breasts. If necessary, Dr. Mussat will trim down your areolas to make them smaller and more proportional to your breasts.

Breast Implant Removal With Lift Recovery

For the first few days after your capsulectomy explantation and breast lift, Dr. Mussat recommends you get plenty of sleep and relaxation to give your body maximum energy for your body to heal.

Dr. Mussat may place small tubes in the incisions. These are for draining blood and excess fluid to help prevent hematomas and seromas. She will remove these tubes within a few days. Because the sutures are dissolvable, you won’t need them removed during your follow-up visit.

For two weeks, avoid high-intensity activities, including bending and heavy lifting. You don’t want any strain on your surgical sites, sutures, and incisions. Eating nutritious foods and drinking plenty of water are crucial for a successful recovery.  

Sleep on your side or your back to take undue pressure off your breasts and increase your recovery rate. Dr. Mussat will give you a surgical support bra to wear 24/7 for at least four days.  She may ask you to apply silicone gel or tape to your incisions to help in the healing process and reduce your downtime.

During the initial stages of your recovery, avoid exposing your breasts to sunlight. If you need to go outside, liberally apply sunscreen liberally to the area. Please do not go on long trips for the first few weeks after the procedure. You will need to get up and move every few hours. Staying immobile for long periods increases the chance of developing deep vein thrombosis.

What Does an Implant Exchange Entail?

Revision breast surgery is much like your original breast augmentation procedure. It’s an outpatient surgery requiring general anesthesia.

If medically appropriate, Dr. Mussat will use the original incision sites for the revision procedure. Next, she will remove your implants – according to your surgical plan, she will substitute new ones or proceed without replacements. Next, she’ll re-close the implant pocket using internal sutures before closing the incisions with external sutures. Dr. Mussat then dresses the breasts with soft bandages and a compression bra over the top. This surgical bra minimizes swelling and supports the tissues during the healing process.

As with the primary procedure, some of the aesthetic effects of revision breast surgery are noticeable immediately following the operation. However, the full results become apparent after a few months, when the new implants settle into their natural position, swelling subsides, and your body heals completely.

Breast Implant Exchange Recovery

Healing from a breast implant exchange is similar to recovering from the initial breast augmentation. However, the side effects might be more pronounced, as secondary surgical procedures are typically more complex.

You may experience moderate to significant discomfort during the first four or five days following the revision procedure. The treated area might be bruised, tender, swollen, or numb. You can relieve these symptoms by applying cold packs and taking oral pain meds as directed by Dr. Mussat. In addition, you could experience changes in nipple sensitivity, including a tingling sensation, temporary or permanent numbness.

If you’ve undergone revision breast surgery, expect to take at least a week away from your work or daily routine. During this downtime, you should rest often and avoid direct breast stimulation and any rigorous activity, like heavy lifting. Dr. Mussat will advise when you can resume your usual activities, including your exercise routine.

What Are the Benefits of Implant Removal With Lift vs. Implant Exchange?

If you have your implants removed without replacement and get a breast lift, you will enjoy multiple positive outcomes. Here are some lifestyle benefits you can expect from implant removal with a lift:

  • Mammograms are clearer.
  • You will not have the discomfort associated with capsular contracture.
  • You’ll enjoy less neck, back, and shoulder pain.
  • Removing ruptured implants can improve your health outcomes.
  • Your breasts will have a more uplifted contour, with youthful-looking nipples.
  • You can exercise more comfortably.

Conversely, if you’ve decided to exchange your implants for newer, more advanced devices, here are the potential advantages of that choice:

  • A change in breast size – from smaller to larger, and vice versa
  • A more age-appropriate breast appearance
  • Fuller breasts for better0fitting clothing
  • Resolve the effects weight fluctuation or pregnancy has had on your breasts

Which Option Is Right for You? Factors to Consider Before Making a Decision

When your current implants cause issues with your health, appearance, or lifestyle, you must consider several factors to determine which procedure will serve you better.

Though breast augmentation remains one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries among women, lifts have become increasingly sought-after, especially among women who have had larger breasts due to implants.

Questions to ask yourself before deciding your breast surgery consultation include:

  • Will I be happy with smaller breasts after removing the implants?
  • Do my implants now seem excessive as I move into a different stage in my life?
  • Do I value comfort over aesthetics or vice versa?
  • Do my current implants prevent me from comfortably exercising?

Typically, women who choose a breast implant exchange enjoy the firmness and volume breast implants provide. They may be happy with their current size or wish to go larger, but don’t want to return to their natural breast size.

Women who decide to get implant removal with a lift no longer enjoy their implants for the reasons we’ve already touched on – discomfort when exercising, valuing comfort over aesthetics, or wanting their breasts to be perkier and sit higher on their chests.

Start Your Breast Transformation Here

Whether you need more information about breast surgery or already know what you want, call (312) 751-9000 or contact us online to improve your lifestyle and appearance with Dr. Mussat’s advanced techniques.