What Is an Exchange Surgery?

girl posing in bra hands behind head isolated on pink background

Modern breast implants provide women with natural-looking, incredible breast augmentation results. They help women feel and look their best. Do you have older models of saline or silicone gel implants? If so, you may want to undergo breast implant exchange surgery. This procedure is also a great option if you would like to enhance the results of a boob job you had in the past. 


Breast Implant Exchange Surgery


This cosmetic procedure aims to replace old implants with new ones to improve or change the appearance of your breasts. The procedure could include the following:


  • Decreasing or increasing the size, style, and shape of the implants

  • Repositioning the breast implant on the chest

  • A concurrent breast reduction or lift


Should You Get Implant Exchange Surgery?


Modern breast implants are long-lasting. However, they are not meant to last a lifetime. According to experts, breast implants typically last bout 10 years. After that, you need to replace them. However, some women can keep their implants for much longer. 


Eventually, you will need to undergo another surgical procedure. If you are not satisfied with the size and look of your breasts after getting implants, you can choose to have them exchanged. If weight gain, weight loss, or pregnancy changed your implants' texture, shape, or feel, you should consider implant exchange surgery. 


The desire to undergo this cosmetic procedure can also stem from the following reasons:


  • Concern about migration or rapture of the implant

  • Pain and discomfort resulting from capsular contracture

  • A desire to shift from saline to silicone or another type of breast implant


Over time, breast tissue and skin age like the rest of the body. So if you have breast implants, you will probably need to replace them. 


Breast implant exchange surgery is not a routine or standard procedure. Your cosmetic surgeon will tailor the procedure specifically to your desires and goals. Thus, only a well-trained and experienced board-certified cosmetic surgeon can perform this procedure safely and effectively. Your surgeon will listen to your concerns, desires, and goals and develop the appropriate surgical plan. 


How Long Is the Procedure?


A breast implant exchange procedure, typically performed under general anesthesia, takes between one and two hours. In most cases, the cosmetic surgeon will use the original incision site to prevent additional scarring. The surgeon will remove the old implant before carefully inserting the replacement implant. The surgeon will then close the incision using dissolvable stitches.


Recovery Process


The recovery process for a breast implant exchange procedure is like the original breast augmentation. However, it might be slightly more comfortable. To prevent post-op complications, follow your doctor's advice and instructions. 


You can expect to resume doing most of your normal daily activities after about two weeks. Cosmetic surgeons recommend sleeping on your back for the first two weeks following your operation. If you love working out, wait for at least four to six weeks before recommencing your usual exercises. In most cases, full recovery takes about two months. 


Following a breast implant exchange procedure, you can expect smaller or larger breasts depending on your goals and the improved positioning of your implants. Also, you will likely have improved confidence and quality of life. 


Visit Kenneth Bermudez, MD, at our San Francisco, California office for more on exchange surgeries. Call (415) 712-1800 to schedule an appointment.