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Dr John Di Saia, an orange county california plastic surgeon

Breast Implant Exchange - Larger or Smaller

Breast implants do not last forever. Surgery is sometimes considered to make them larger or smaller. Saline implants eventually rupture and the breast flattens out unattractively. Silicone gel implants slowly leak (or leech) silicone gel into the breast and eventually rupture or harden due to capsular contracture. The options are many....replace with the similar sized new implants, remove smaller implants for bigger ones.....you get the idea. A more complete list of surgical options for patients with older silicone implants is laid out for you here.

Breast implant exchange is one of the simpler options - simply the removal of one or more older breast implants and replacement with new ones. Some women just want a different size. :) On the blogs, there is a common misconception that reducing the size of breast implants is the same as a breast reduction. It isn't. Breast reduction is an operation to reduce naturally large breasts. In a breast reduction, we remove breast tissue. In an implant exchange we remove (and replace) breast implants.

Breast implant exchange like most plastic surgery comes with a set of choices. We can simply remove one implant and place another, but if the implant size changes much the breasts can sag. Larger implants (or exchanging silicone implants for older saline implants) add more weight to the tissues. Smaller implants do not fill out that tissue the way the older implants might have. If the new implant is larger or the old implant is associated with scarring, then some of that scar will need to be opened up (capsulotomy) or removed (capsulectomy), in order for the new implant to fit. The new implant may sit a little differently than the old one did particularly if we exchange saline implants for silicone gel implants or the patient has had implants for many years. Patients with long standing breast implants may have thinner tissues that support implants to a lesser extent than they might have years prior.

Some patients will choose to have additional surgery such as a breast lift in order to improve their look. Simple breast implant exchange is exactly that, simple.


© John Di Saia, MD... an Orange County California Plastic Surgeon       

Serving Southern California since 1997 * (949) 369-5932


Please note that this resource is offered freely to individuals considering cosmetic breast surgery. No rights are granted and it is not to be reprinted or copied without the author's prior written consent. Understand that some of the information presented may be a matter of professional opinion. Although efforts have been made to assure accuracy, no guarantees are expressed or implied.