I got my implants in 1995 and have had no problems with them whatsoever. But, they are sagging a bit and I'm wondering if it's possible to have a lift without replacing them if they are in good condition. My second question is why are silicone considered to be a better choice if a leak is harder to detect than saline?
Can I Get a Lift and Keep my Implants?
Doctor Answers (21)
Revision Breast Surgery Options?
Yes, it is possible to leave your breast implants in place ( assuming they are in good shape) and undergo breast lifting surgery. If your plastic surgeon has recommended silicone gel breast implants, he/she may have reasons for doing so ( it will be best for you to discuss this with him/her). Saline and silicone gel breast implants each have their advantages/disadvantages.
For example, some surgeons feel that silicone implants have a more natural look and feel than saline implants because silicone gel has a texture that is similar to breast tissue. Each patient differs in the amount of breast tissue that they have. If a patient has enough breast tissue to cover the implant, the final result will be similar when comparing saline implants versus silicone gel implants. If a patient has very low body fat and/or very little breast tissue, the silicone gel implants may provide a more "natural" result.
On the other hand, saline implants have some advantages over silicone implants. Silicone implant ruptures are harder to detect. When saline implants rupture, they deflate and the results are seen almost immediately. When silicone implants rupture, the breast often looks and feels the same because the silicone gel may leak into surrounding areas of the breast without a visible difference. Patients may need an MRI to diagnose a silicone gel rupture. Saline implants are also less expensive than the silicone gel implants. Other differences involve how the breast implants are filled. Saline implants are filled after they’re implanted, so saline implants require a smaller incision than prefilled silicone breast implants. On May 10, 2000, the FDA granted approval of saline-filled breast implants manufactured by Mentor Corporation and McGhan Medical.
Breast implant replacement at time of breast lift is feasible
Why not replace your current implants with the latest type of silicone implants ? The type of breast lift and sequencing with implant replacement depends in part on where your implants reside in your breast, what type of lift you need, and how thin your breast tissues are. Seek out a good plastic surgeon for this type of revisionary cosmetic breast surgery.
Lift with old breast implants
While it is technically possible to do a lift over your old implants, since your implants are already 15+ years old, the odds are that they will probably leak / deflate fairly soon. Generally, if a patient's implants are more than 10-12 years old, and we are planning a breast operation, I would recommend changing them to new ones while you are under anesthesia. Much less hassle than waking up one day with a deflation!
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Lift without Implant Exchange
You can definitely undergo a lift without exchanging your implants, but this is also the perfect opportunity to exchange your 15 year old implants. The choice of saline versus silicone is your choice. Silicone will look and feel more natural, but as you stated, is more difficult to detect a rupture.
Can I get a lift and keep my 16 year old breast implants?
Over time, the breast as you have seen, can sag a bit off of the prostheses and if you have not had any problems, it is certainly reasonable just to leave them in place and have a small mastopexy alone. But if you are considering replacing the implants then I would suggest silicone primarily because of their more natural appearing properties. That said, I did recently remove saline prosthesis that had been placed in a female physician in the late 1970’s that surprisingly, upon inspection, appeared almost pristine.
Breast lift with prior augmentation
If the breast implants are soft and mobile and in a good position it is preferred to just do the breast lift and leave the old implants in place.
Silicone is not always a better choice it depends on each patients needs and desires. If your old implants are not causing a problem they are better for you.
Using previously placed implants and having a breast lift...
Is definitely possible to keep your implants, however your surgeon should make sure that they are still in good condition and not in need of replacing. You can certainly have a lift without removing the implants. If you or your surgeon wish to exchange the implants during your breast lift, then you would have the option of switching to silicone implants. Silicone implants are more durable now and so far, leakage has not been an issue as in the past. People like to exchange to silicone implants because they feel more natural. Either way saline or silicone implants add a nice fullness after a breast lift surgery.
Breast lift over Implants
It is certainly reasonable to perform a lift over the existing implants. If the implants are are intact, soft and mobile and if you like the size then get a lift . Obviously consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to see if after examination your a reasonable candidate. Concerning leak rate, silicone is not a better choice because if it leaks is more difficult to detect. Silicone has merits of increased softness and less wrinkling.
Yes, you likely can have a breast lift without having to change your current implants. However, a breast lift may unmask a volume asymmetry that may not be corrected without addressing your implants. It is important for you to visit with a board certified plastic surgeon for a formal evaluation to learn more about your options.
Breast Lift with Previous Implants
While there is a not a general answer which applies to all patients, there are many patients that are able to have a breast lift and keep their original implants. However, you would need to be seen in consultation to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.