My motivation for my 1st surgery (breast augmentation 1992):
If you are getting larger breasts because you like breasts, when given the choice by your Plastic Surgeon, when in surgery if there is a question between a smaller size or larger size, what should they do, go larger. It is the first thing you wish you did post surgery :) and my motivation 22 years later for my exchange. My first surgery was is 1992 the day before Dow Corning Silicone Implants were banned. I had done my research and was confident I still wanted my surgery. I went through with the surgery and loved them. I had a great PS and really had no recovery issues what so ever. It was a very painful surgery I will not lie. I was 22 and had not yet had children so my breast tissue had never "stretched out" so to speak. I was a small B cup and went to a full C cup 300 CC's. As the years went by I always believed that after about 20 years I would want NEW implants, to be larger for one reason and because I believe our own body parts do not last forever so the "fake" probably won't either. My opinion only, not my PS's. Needless to say I wanted larger breasts from the day my swelling was completely gone. I erred on the side of smaller, hindsight should have been bigger!
My motivation for exchange surgery (2014): In 2005 I had my only child and of course pregnancy changed the shape of my body just a bit, lol. The one major change my body went through was my ribcage. It expanded about 2 inches-literally and never went back. Based on that my current breasts never seemed the same. They seemed a bit too small for size. I am 5'4" tall and approx 135lbs. The change in my ribcage became a motivator to investigate what I would do…I met with my PS in 2010 for a consultation and estimate. For many reasons I did not end up scheduling the surgery at that time but I still didn't let go of wanting larger breasts. This past November I became a bit obsessed (my husbands words) with having the surgery, I scheduled a consult late Nov. and then scheduled the surgery for January. My exchange would be to go from a C cup to a FULL D. I didn't want to have to wear push-up bra's to achieve the fullness I wanted. We estimated the right size would be between 485-550 cc's and this time I erred on the size of larger. Just like my first surgery I researched pictures of breasts until I found women with my chest shape and size breast I was looking for. I took them into the office and worked with the team to define what size I considered too big and what size wasn't big enough.
The Exchange surgery experience: My surgery ironically took place on the same day 22 years later with the same surgeon. I had my upper eye lids done at the same time as my exchange. The breast surgery was by no means as painful the second time around. In fact aside from the swelling and bruising the pain was minimal. It felt like I had a hard workout and lasted about a week. The first time I felt like I had broken ribs and was run over by a bus. Once again the shape while swollen was exactly the look I wanted. I was hopeful they were not overly swollen and would remain this size. I did know better, they would get smaller.
At my 1st post op visit my PS explained on my left breast there was heavy scar tissue from the 1st surgery and I would probably experience more bruising and pain in that breast. This was true, it was definitely sorer. Additionally my right implant had ruptured. I nor my surgeon knew this going into surgery. He explained there was no cause for alarm as it seemed very recent and was contained.
Ladies please know this, I did have a mammogram 8 days prior. The rupture was not visible on the mamaogram. We do not know if the rupture happened before or after and there is no way to tell. Ironically it seems I made the right choice to get the exchange done when I did. Timing is everything.
At my visit I was told we used 485cc moderate silicone implants. I asked why he did not go larger and it was explained that with the expander this seemed the right size.
A week later my stitches were removed and all was great. I did have one spot on my left breast that seemed a bit irritated. I watched the spot and about a week later it seemed to get worse. I returned to my PS and he said it seemed like the spot was having issues healing and to give it time and it would improve. I returned again about 3 weeks later to look at the spot again. It had not improved much but I was told to keep an eye on it. At this visit I also explained to my PS that the swelling had gone down significantly and I was not happy with my size. I loved the size when I was first swollen but I knew they would get smaller and was concerned they were not what I wanted. I was not a FULL D. Maybe a fuller C but not full D. I am a bit disappointed with this specifically (I feel I paid for full D's) but I am still happy overall that they look as good as they do.
On my next visit my spot had improved but was still an issue to be monitored. The tissue under my breast has become extremely thin and rippled . I can feel the implant and I am worried it will not hold up under stress (exercise, etc). My PS recommends I wait and see if it heals or if I choose I can get the scar re-done. I haven't yet made up my mind. I am not sure if I am more worried about fixing the issue or creating new ones. My breasts are not perfect but have always been very natural looking even the 2nd rime around. I feel lucky. A friend once said, "The enemy of good is better".
My body does not handle surgery well, as I have many drug allergies and it is a challenge for the surgeons during surgery and me post op. I often end up with 3-6 months of chronic hives at the least, not fun. This surgery proved the same.
My recommendation on exchange: I feel my opinion is only relaveant for those going larger, not because they don't like their breasts but because they do and truly just want larger / re-shaped breasts from what they currently have. If that is the case, then even given my circumstances, I would recommend getting an exchange. Given the opportunity to do it again, I would.
The surgery is definitely less painful. Just make sure you are adamant about the size and shape you are looking for and ask questions as to the things they can encounter with an exchange, risks etc.. Don't let that scare you just make an informed decision. I did and I have no regrets.