Can I Switch 25 Year-old Implants from over to Under?

My implants are nearly 25 year-old. I don't have any problems with them. They were placed above the muscles. I'm very fortunate that they're not sagging (I wear support bras every day). For mammography purposes, I want them replaced to under the muscles. Is it possible?

Doctor Answers 10

Can I Switch 25 Year-old Implants from over to Under?

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Can I Switch 25 Year-old Implants from over to Under? Certainly it is possible to accomplish this. You may require a larger implant to appear the same size.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Implant pocket change

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You certainly can have implants changed from over the muscle to under the muscle if you are having problems like rippling.

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

Moving implants from above to under the muscle

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Hi there-

This is absolutely possible, although not all surgeons may be comfortable with the technique.

There are many advantages to under the muscle placement of implants, however, and if it's time to replace yours, I would definitely consider this option.

Be sure to prioritize your safety and happiness appropriately!

Moving implants from over to under the muscle

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The short answer to your question is yes. However, sometimes placement beneath the muscle will require a lift to be completed on the breast tissue; your implant is most likely supporting the tissue and when it is placed under the muscle it will diminish the lift currently applied to your breast and you might see some sagging. A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon will give you a better idea of what's going to work best for your body type and breasts.

Deason Dunagan, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon

Why ask for trouble?

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If your implants are intact, look good and feel good, why rock the boat?  Don't forget, every operation has risks to it and there is a chance that you may have complications or a less satisfactory result, i.e. a worse outcome than you have right now.  In direct answer to your question, yes the implants could be replaced in the under muscle position.  Good luck!

Yes it is possible to move your implants from Over the muscle to Under.

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It is a very common procedure and not difficult to do. We do this most commonly when there are problems with an implant that is in the subglandular position such as capsular contractures, or rippling of the implant. But, this can be done for any one of it's many benefits. It has been reported that it is easier to visualize more breast tissue in an augmented breast when the implant is in the submuscular position compared to the subglandular position.

Some radiologists claim it doesn't make any difference, but if you have one of the radiologists that finds it easier to read with the implant in the submuscular position, then if it were me, I'd rather have my implants under the muscle too. There are many benefits to having your implants in the submuscular position, less rippling, less bottoming out (where the implants slip down too low), fewer capsular contractures, less synmastia (where the implants cross midline), and most importantly better mammograms.

As always, the big question is...... is the risk of surgery worth the benefits of improved mammograms. I think that is up to the individual patient's situation, their cancer risk, implant problems and the patient's desires.
Also, if your implants are 25 years old, even though you do not have any problems, there is the possibility of your implants already being ruptured. An MRI is the best test to look for ruptures, although it is not 100% accurate.

Daniel P. Markmann, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

25 year-old implants from over to unde

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Why not? I have and do this very frequently without any issues. Seek 3 opinions from boarded Plastic Surgeons in your area.


No need to go under for implants over that aren't causing problems.

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From your description it sounds like there are no problems with the implants, but you are concerned about the possibility that mammograms might not be thorough because they are over the muscle. This is more of a theoretical issue than a practical one, and certainly not important enough to justify surgery by itself. At some point it may make sense to replace the implants for other reasons, and you could consider swithching the plane to under at that time.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

25 year old Implants - need to change?

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If you are not having any problems, then you do not need to change the implants at all.  That being said, if you wanted to change the implants to under the muscle, that is a little more involved then someone who is undergoing the surgery for the first time.  Because the implants have been in there for so long, the weight ontop of the muscles will most likely have caused the muscle to atrophy and thin.  Trying to get underneath it can be quite challenging.  You also have to then obliterate the pocket above the muscle be suturing it down, otherwise the implant will flip right back in the old pocket.  For mammography reasons, they should be able to get a good view around your implants as they are now.  There are some radiologists who say it is easier to read when the implants are under some muscle, while others say it does not make a difference.  The chances of causing complications are higher, and there is a chance that the shape of your breasts could change by switching position.  I hope this helps.

Switching Breast Implants from OVER to UNDER the muscle

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Breast implants are usually placed over the muscle because they can better push forward the breast giving more breast height (projection). Unfortunately, in this position they are associated with a higher rate of scarring (capsular contracture) and are more palpable (their ripples are seen ans felt more).

Breast implants are routinely switched from the over to the under muscle position to benefit from muscle coverage (I did one just the other day). An important feature of the operation is to carefully stitch the edge of the muscle to the overlying breast to prevent the implants from returning from the under to the over the muscle pocket.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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.