Breast Procedures » Breast Implant Revision and/or Replacement

Seattle Plastic Surgeon likes Strattice for some breast implant revisions.

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Breast Implant Revision and/or Replacement

Breast implants are not forever and they usually need to be replaced at least once over a woman’s life. Reasons for replacement include rupture or leaking of the implants, hardening in the scar layer around the implant and desire for a different type or size of implant.  Sometimes the implants are fine but the implant pocket has an issue such as too tight or too loose, too high or too low.

I have been in practice since 1991 and have a lot of experience with implant revision.  Most of my revision patients had their initial surgery elsewhere, but I also see patients I have operated on who are experiencing problems.  I have presented talks at plastic surgery meetings on this topic over the years and won a best presentation award a few years ago.

Breast Implant RemovalQuick Facts about Breast Implant Revision and/or Replacement

Implant Removal & Breast Lift

  • Costs: All over the place depending on what needs to be done.  Lowering of  implants with local anesthetic:  $1500 – 3000 depending on the extent and length of surgery.  Implant replacement with major pocket modification:  $10,500 – $13,000 depending on type of implant and extent and length of surgery and the need for acellular dermal matrix. 
  • How much it hurts: With implant replacement and no pocket work, not much.  With implant replacement and major pocket modification, quite a bit.
  • Time off work or school:  2 days – 2 weeks depending on procedure performed and occupation.
  • Time until driving again: 2 – 7 days or until you are off narcotic pain meds and Valium.
  • Time in post-operative bra: 3 weeks.
  • Time off the gym:  usually 4 weeks.
  • Time off the slopes:  usually 4 weeks.
  • Time off the kite board: usually 6 weeks.
  • How long it “lasts”:  usually 10 – 20 years before implant replacement is needed or wanted.
  • Patient satisfaction : high.

Vocabulary lesson

  • Capsular contracture:  the presence of a tight and often thick layer of scar tissue around the implant.  This results in a “hard implant”. 
  • Capsulotomy:  cutting open the layer of scar tissue either to loosen it up or to change the position of the implant.
  • Capsulorrhaphy: putting stitches into the capsule to either tighten it up or to raise the implant.
  • Acellular dermal matrix :  a sheet of collagen that controls position on the implant and may prevent recurrent capsular contracture.  Two types I use are Alloderm and Strattice.  Think of this as an internal bra.
  • Synmastia a.k.a. uniboob:  implants that are too close together. 
  • Implant malposition:  implants that are too high, too low, too medial or too lateral.
  • Double bubble: a condition that occurs when the implant stays put but the breast sags as it ages and falls over the implant. 
  • Bottoming out:  a condition that occurs when the implant settles too low and/or is too loose.


  • Please take the time to read about Strattice, an acellular dermal matrix.  It is becoming my “go to” procedure for difficult breast implant problems.  Here’s my Strattice Blog.  

The fine print:

There are many factors that determine how extensive revision and/or replacement surgery will be. These include the size and type of current implants, whether they are above or below the muscle, if the implants are leaking or ruptured, if the implants have a lot of scar tissue and if significant sagging has occurred in the breast. I take all of these factors into consideration at the time of consultation and determine what I think will be the best approach.

It is extremely helpful to have the operative report and other patient records from previous surgery. This provides me with information about the previous surgery that may not be obvious on examination. Most surgeons keep their operative reports for many years. Please call your surgeon and try to obtain a copy of these records.

Breast implant revision and/or replacement is done either in our state-of-the-art Madison Tower Surgery Center or at Seattle Surgery Center which is located a block away. Either local anesthetic with intravenous sedation or a general anesthetic is used. Most patients take about a week off of a desk job after this procedure. The cost depends on the extent of the procedure, the length of the procedure and what type of replacement implant is used.

If you are seeking a female, woman or lady plastic surgeon in Seattle, I certainly qualify. I understand “breast issues” and know how challenging navigating the lingerie department can be! I think my part time job after retirement will be the nice older “bra lady” at Nordstrom!

Check out my blog on this topic.

If would like to schedule an appointment with a very, very experienced breast implant revision surgeon with a few gray hairs (that would be me), please give my office a call at 206 467-1101.

Interested in an out-of-town consultation?