Better To Replace Breast Implants
Yes, it is possible to get a lift without exchanging your breast implants, however I recommend you get them changed anyway. Your implants are quite old and are not the new generation of implant models, which have a more resilient structure and more natural feel.
Breast lift can be done without replacing implants
Yes, you can. It all depends what is your ultimate desire.
Here are your possibilities:
1. Keep your implants if they are properly positioned and lift the breast over the implants. Consider changing implants while you are going for surgery. They are 17 years old and the chance of leakage increases with the implant's age.
2. If you think that your breast size has increased as it usually does with age and pregnancies you may have the implants removed and get a Mastopexy (lift). in this case your breasts should look more natural but they may be hollow above the nipple area, in which case a smaller implant could be added to fill that area.
You need a good consultation with your plastic surgeon to discuss all these issues.
Masotpexy (breast lift) without implant exchange.
Your implants are a minimum of 16 years old. At this point in time, I would strongly urge you to consider replacing the implants while you are in surgery. It would be the most likely method to eliminate the "waffling or wrinkling look" you describe.
It would seem somewhat ironic if you did not do this and your implants ruptured a year from now. Clearly there are many details such as the type of implants, location, and previousl incisions that may influence this decision.
However to answer your question, yes a lift without implant exchange can be performed.
Old implants and breast lift
I would recommend exchanging your implants at the time of surgery. They have been in a while (over 15 years) , why not start "fresh" with new generation implants such as silicone as well as your breast lift. I think you will like your result better.
You can get a breast lift with your current implants, but new implants might be in order
If your implants are saline, then you could consider a breast lift, repositioning your breast tissue back on top of the implants. The wrinkling you are experiencing might be improved, but would best be corrected with a change to silicone implants. If you already have silicone implants, it is probably time to replace them. The likelihood of a leak increases with time, and this is the perfect time to update.
Breast lift without changing implants
While true, that you can do a breast lift without changing the implants, it is not recommended in your case. Your implants are 16 years and likely near the end of their lifespan. It should add little to the overall cost of the procedure and it would be recommended by most plastic surgeons. Also, if you have saline implants now, then changing to silicone would likely decrease the rippling of the implants that you are experiencing. Good luck.
If the implants are giving you no problems, then you shoud be fine. Your doctor will be determine if the implant pockets need to be worked on or not.
Change the breast implants along with breast lift
Technically, the implants would not need to be removed for a breast lift. However, if they are that old, the likelihood to have long term problems with the implants would be greater. I would change the implants as well.
Consider replacing 16-year-old breast Implants
The wrinkling you are seeing / feeling are the folds in the implant shell. Folds are MORE prominent with saline filled than with silicone gel filled implants and become more noticeable when there is not enough breast tissue cover to act as a roof covering the implants.
While SOME breast implants last over 20 years, most do not. If you are going to have a breast lift you SHOULD consider changing your implants at the same time. Silicone gel implants would be lighter and less ripply than saline. I would also suggest that you may want to go with smallest (lightest) implants you would be happy with to reduce the breast sagging that occurs with time.
To learn more on this topic, follow the link below -
Dr. P. Aldea
You don't have to replace the implants during breast lift
If the only problem is regarding the skin over your implants it would certainly be possible to simply tighten the skin with a breast lift and not touch the implants. As my colleagues have suggested, this might be an ideal time to consider an exchange possibly to move to silicone to minimize the lateral rippling you describe. But you really can consider these as separate issues. By only performing the breast lift you will correct the sagging breast shape and minimize your cost.