How Soon Can I Have Breast Augmentation Revision?

Could you please let me know what are some of the risks of operating on tissues that are not completely healed and settled? I had my Breast Augmentation about 12 weeks ago, and have had healing problems on my wounds. I may need to go for surgery again if the problem persists.

I have read it somewhere in this forum that there are risks when it comes to operating too soon - less than 3 months from the previous surgery... What are some of these risks? And what do doctors normally do to try to prevent problems / further complications when they need to perform surgery to correct the problem? Many thanks for your opinions in advance.

Doctor Answers 11

Wait 6 months for breast augmentation revision

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You, of course, should follow the advice of your surgeon.

The reason we wait for revision is to give the tissues time to heal. Surgery creates inflammation of the tissues, and inflammed tissues do not heal as well. The biggest risks in my opinion are an increased risk of infection and an increased risk of unsatisfactory scarring when you operate too early in acutely inflammed tissue.

After a breast augmentation, a normal scar called a capsule forms around the breast implant. Violating the capsule during the acute healing stage can, in my opinion, increase the chances of a new, thicker capsule following the revision.

I prefer to wait at least 6 months prior to a revision. If however your problem is an impending extrusion or loss of the implant, then I would remove the implants and wait 6 months before re implantation.

If the problem is excess scarring at the incision site, treatment with non-ablative fractional laser resurfacing with the Lux 1540 laser can significantly improve the scars while you are waiting.

6 months, in general.

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You don't say what "healing problems" you have had.

1) If you have open wounds or a possibly infected implant, that of course should be dealt with immediately.

2) If you are all healed, and have a problem with shape, size, symmetry, or hardness, then I would wait another 3 months to let everything settle before re-operating.

It is crucial to have a detailed plan in advance to correct the problem and prevent recurrence. We use temporary, disposable implant SIZERS during surgery to judge size, shape, and symmetry before commiting to a permanent implant. This takes the guess work out.

Sometimes, changing the implant pocket (subpectoral, dual-plane, sub-fascial, subglandular) or changing the implant (saline to silicone, for example) is necessary. Sometimes, modifying the implant pocket with internal sutures helps.

3) If the problem is thick scars, there are several ways to improve them, but I would not do a scar revision for one year.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Wait at least 6 months.

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The period of time immediately following breast augmentation surgery is characterized by rapid change.During this period of time swelling, muscle spasm, inflammation and healing process itself, all contribute to change in the appearance of a woman’s breasts.
For these reasons, we rarely perform revisional breast surgery for at least six months following breast augmentation.When revisional surgery is performed before adequate healing has taken place, the complication rate for this type of procedure increases dramatically.Under these circumstances, the incidence of infection, adverse scarring, wound healing problems and poor aesthetic results increases.
After six months, wound healing dynamics are more favorable and this translates into better clinical results and higher levels of patient satisfaction.

Wait 6 months after all wounds have healed

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Revision surgery can be emotionally and physically difficult. My advice would be to wait at least 6 months until all wounds have healed and all swelling has resolved. There is no up side to operating early and you could end up needing additional revisions.

Operating on tissues that are not completely healed and settled can lead to:

1. designing the wrong revisionary operation;

2. higher rates of infection;

3. additional healing problems with scars and;

4. possible need for additional surgery.

Ask your surgeon for a plan, both on the time scale as well as the actual surgery. Make sure that you voice your specific concerns and make sure that your doctor feels he/she can deliver on those concerns.

There is no harm in seeking an additional opinion or two from board-certified plastic surgeons in your area. Patience is usually rewarded in the end, so hang in there and good luck.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Timing of breast implant revision in patients with intact breast implants

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There are many reasons to undergo breast implant revision.  If you have delayed healing, that is a problem that just requires some patience and wound optimization.  I would begin by consulting with your plastic surgeon about optimizing your scar and then begin your conversation about implant revision. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Wait time for breast augmentation revision!

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In general, revisions are done after 6 months.  With time there may be improvement without the need for a secondary procedure.  With conditions that are not expected to improve with time, (fluid around the implant, infection, implant malplacement, capsular contractures) a secondary procedure is indicated when first observed or becomes problematic.  If sizing is a problem, I think it's best to wait 1 year and reassess.

Robert Sleightholm, MD
Brampton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

It depends upon the surgery

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Early return to the operating room for revision is not usually recommended.  However, if a patient is having a problem such as wound dehiscence, infection, seroma, hematoma, flap loss to name a few may need to go back to treat the problem.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

It all depends on the reason for surgery.

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It all really depends on the reason for surgery. If you are having wound healing issues, then you may need to go ahead and have the surgery. However, if you are just wanting the implants switched out for a different size, then the general recommendation is to wait 3 to 6 months for the swelling to resolve and the tissues to settle. Good luck with your surgery.

Try not to generalize for breast augmentation revision

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Dear IM,

Don't generalize yourself into a category for reoperation. Every patient is different and brings a different set of variables to both the consultation and the operating tables. If by "healing problems on my wounds" you mean bad scars then you should wait as long as one year for the scars to mature. Have trust in your surgeon, who will determine when, if necessary, it is appropriate to reoperate on YOU. Good luck!

I can't answer this

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I really would like to give you a concrete answer, but to do this, I need to know what your wound healing problems are, and what type of correction you are planning. Generally, however, at 12 weeks out, you should be well healed, but not completely healed, and so the risks usually associated with surgery and anesthesia would apply.

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.