Breast Implant Revision

breast augmentation revision patient

When you decided to have your breast augmentation, you had a vision in mind. You spent hours thinking about how you wanted to look and feel after your surgery. You considered your body type, your lifestyle and the clothing you love to wear. You carefully choose your implants and your plastic surgeon, and eagerly anticipated the day your vision would be reality. Like many women, you may have expected this procedure to be the start and the end of your breast enhancement journey — but even the most well-planned breast augmentation may not be the final chapter of the story.

No matter how much you love your results, you can never be certain how your life may change in the years following your initial surgery. Perhaps your aesthetic tastes will evolve and you’ll want to try a different size or style of implant. Perhaps you’ll become more active and find that breast implants get in the way of your workouts and hobbies. Perhaps the natural consequences of aging, weight loss or pregnancy will change your results. Perhaps your implants will wear out or you’ll experience complications. Wherever life leads you, your breast implants do not need to last forever.

If you are no longer satisfied with the outcome of your primary breast augmentation, you may be a candidate for breast implant revision surgery. Please contact New Image Plastic Surgery Associates at 703-742-8004 to schedule a consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Roberta Gartside.

What Is Breast Implant Revision?

Breast implants are not lifetime medical devices. Eventually, your implants may need to be removed, replaced or upgraded in a secondary procedure. It’s important for patients with breast implants to understand that additional surgery may be required in their lifetime and that secondary surgery is often more challenging than primary surgery. When performing breast implant revision, surgeons must work with scar tissue from the previous procedure or anatomical changes caused by the old implants. These factors can make it more difficult to achieve an ideal result.

Breast implant revision is not a routine, one-size-fits-all procedure. It requires a thoughtful, thorough and technically exacting approach, and must be tailored to the individual patient’s needs and desires. Therefore, it should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive training and experience in all types of breast surgery. Open communication of expectations between the surgeon and the patient is essential. During your Virginia breast implant revision consultation, Dr. Gartside will listen closely to your concerns and give you honest information about your options.

Reasons to Consider Breast Implant Revision

Breast implant revision surgery is undertaken for a variety of reasons, including:

Capsular Contracture

Capsular contracture occurs when the body forms thick, tight scar tissue around an implant. This can cause the implant to move into an unwanted position and distort the appearance of the breast, or make the breast feel unnaturally hard. The tightening of the capsule can be quite painful for some patients. Treatment for capsular contracture is the most frequent revision required after breast augmentation.


The double-bubble deformity creates the appearance of a two-tiered breast with a noticeable dividing line between the implant and the breast tissue. Double-bubble can occur due to normal aging and descent of the breast, or when a breast implant sits lower than the preoperative natural fold (inframammary crease) where the breast meets the chest wall.


Symmastia occurs when breast implants are too close together and meet in the middle of the chest, creating the appearance of a single, large breast. It is mainly a cosmetic issue, but can sometimes cause discomfort or pain in the breasts. Symmastia can be difficult to correct and may require more than one surgery.


Visible rippling can develop for several reasons. Patients who are thin may struggle with rippling because they do not have enough breast tissue to cover their implants. Rippling can also occur if an implant is too small to fill the breast envelope, if the tissue stretches so that it can no longer hold the implant firmly against the body, or if the implant itself folds.

Bottoming Out

“Bottoming out” describes what happens when an implant sinks down to the lower part of the breast. This causes the bottom of the breast to bulge outward and can make it look as though the breast is resting on the upper abdomen. Bottoming out also makes the nipples appear to point up, rather than out. One or both breasts can be affected.

Rupture or Deflation

Saline implants can rupture and leak. While the saline itself is not a health concern (it is harmlessly absorbed by the body), a leak can leave behind deflated, sagging breasts. Rupture is less obvious with silicone implants because the gel-like material does not leak quickly out of the implant shell. Silicone implant rupture is often identified with an imaging test, such as an ultrasound or MRI.

Improving the Natural Look or Feel

Ideally, breast implants will not be placed too high, too low, too close together, or too far apart. The outline of the implant will not be visible through the skin and the implant will not be felt beneath the skin. If one or more of these issues is a concern, revision surgery may be indicated to improve the natural look and feel of the breasts.

Changing the Implant Size, Shape or Style

Over time, your tastes may change, and you may decide that you want to exchange your current breast implants for new implants. The desire to go larger or smaller is one of the most common reasons for breast implant revision surgery. Another common cosmetic motivation for revision surgery is changing one type of implant (saline, silicone, gummy bear) for another.

Changes in Breast Tissue

Breast augmentation cannot freeze your breasts in time — they will continue to undergo changes, just like every other part of your body. Aging, pregnancy, breastfeeding and weight fluctuations can cause your breast tissue to thin or lose elasticity, necessitating revision surgery to maintain the most beautiful results.

Implant Removal

Some women decide they no longer want breast implants of any kind. Their decision may be due to unsatisfactory results, weight changes, changes to their lifestyle or relationships, changes in their aesthetic preferences or any number of other personal reasons. Breast implants can be removed in an “explantation” procedure.

Planning Your Breast Implant Revision Procedure

The cornerstone of Dr. Gartside’s approach to breast implant revision is to individualize treatment to each patient’s specific circumstances. When a problem arises, treatment focuses first on accurately diagnosing why the problem exists. Dr. Gartside will ask you about your concerns and assess your medical history to identify the source of the issue. This allows her to make personalized recommendations that respect your aesthetic goals as well as your health.

Once this is done, Dr. Gartside will ensure you understand what you’re experiencing and what treatment options are available so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed. Every effort will be made to give you the appearance you desire while minimizing your breast implant revision recovery time and discomfort. Dr. Gartside invites you to visit her Reston or McLean office for a consultation to discuss the procedure in greater detail.

Contact Our Board-Certified Breast Implant Revision Specialist Today

You don’t need to live with breasts that no longer make you feel confident and beautiful. With over 30 years of experience and both local and national accolades, Dr. Gartside is one of the most accomplished breast implant revision surgeons in Virginia. She has proudly devoted her career to helping women in Reston, Fairfax, McLean and the Washington, D.C. area look and feel amazing. Call New Image Plastic Surgery today at 703-742-8004 to schedule your consultation.