I had breast reconstruction after a double mascetomy 13 years ago, when should I have them replaced?

Doctor Answers 4

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy, double mastectomy or nipple sparing mastectomy

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In all of these instances the breast reconstruction technique may need to be revised over time.  Implant based reconstruction can become uncomfortable due to capsular contracture, changes in weight and associated chest and should issues from tightness from the surgery itself or other treatments such as radiation therapy.  Skin and fat continue to age so these may need to be adjusted over time as well.

Implant replacement

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Thanks for your question. If you are happy with your implants and there have been no problems, there is no need to have them replaced. If over time you have become unhappy with how they look (no longer even and can't fit comfortably in your clothes) then you may want to consider surgery to make things more even . That may involve just tightening the skin around the implants or it may also include changing the implants as well.

Hope that info helps.

Dr. Z


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If they are not ruptured (MRI can assess this) and they are not bothering you then you don't need to have them replaced.  If you have some concerns and want some revision of the soft tissue envelope then certainly it is reasonable to consider replacing them at the same time.

John Y.S. Kim, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Implant replacement

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I assume you are asking when your silicone or saline implants should be replaced after reconstruction?If you have saline implants it's obvious when they rupture because you will notice an acute change in size. With silicone implants, its more difficult. The FDA recommends that you have an MRI 3 years after your initial implant placement and every 2 years thereafter to screen for silent rupture of your silicone implants. They also state that the "lifespan" of a silicone or saline implant is 10-15 years. This not not automatically mean that you have to have surgery when the lifespan is up. You should probably visit with a plastic surgeon to make sure you and your implants are being monitored and to learn about any updates/advances in implant or reconstructive techniques/technology. 

Tracy Kayan, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

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