Can I Downsize My Breast Implants? Yes, but You Should Know a Few Things First

Posted on June 7, 2018 | by

So you have breast implants. For a long time, you loved your results. But things can change, and maybe now your implants feel too big for your body. Can you downsize breast implants? Absolutely—and an experienced plastic surgeon can help you do so without sacrificing the improved shape your implants have provided.

However, breast implant replacement isn’t always as simple as swapping out for a smaller size. Just like an initial breast augmentation, the experience is different for every patient. As you research your options for breast implant replacement, keep the following in mind:

Choosing an experienced plastic surgeon is an absolute must.

In plastic surgery, a secondary procedure is more challenging to perform than the initial procedure. It takes considerably more skill and experience to achieve a beautiful result. This is especially true if things weren’t done quite right the first time around—or even if your original surgeon did a great job, but complications occurred nonetheless.

Your plastic surgeon will also need to account for your individual anatomy, the size and age of your original implants, and your desired size change. If you are using a different plastic surgeon this time, they will also need to account for another surgeon’s techniques. Moreover, unlike planning your original augmentation, when you could try on breast implants to get a sense of what size would fit you best, you will be largely relying on your plastic surgeon to select the right implants for achieving smaller breasts.

Given all of that, it’s critical to make sure the plastic surgeon you choose has performed breast revision surgery on patients with needs similar to yours many times.

You’ll likely have more breast implant choices this time around.

If it’s been 10 or more years since your first breast augmentation, prepare for a whole new world of breast implant shapes, sizes, and filling types. Not only have gummy bear implants entered the scene, providing options for teardrop-shaped implants, but silicone now comes in varying degrees of thickness, allowing us to fine-tune both breast shape and feel.

As we like to tell our Boston breast implant replacement patients, downsizing your breast implants is an opportunity to upgrade your look. At your consultation, be open and honest about your goals, so your surgeon can best help you select new implants you’ll love. It may help to show examples of breast sizes you think are appropriate for you, and what you feel are too big.

You may need a breast lift too.

Reducing implant size also reduces breast volume, which can result in sagging if the breast tissues and skin cannot contract well enough on their own. Additionally, a nipple/areola that looks proportional with larger implants may appear too large with a smaller implant size.

In such cases, your plastic surgeon may recommend a breast lift to remove excess tissue and restore a smooth, firm breast shape and optimal nipple proportion. The more dramatic a downsize you want, the more likely it is you will need a lift. While a breast lift will likely result in additional scarring (unless you had a breast augmentation/lift the first time), most patients find it a small price to pay for a beautiful, youthful breast shape—not to mention resetting the clock on age-related breast sagging.

Surgery time and costs vary significantly.

Breast implant replacement is usually very straightforward for patients with good skin elasticity who have no complications to address. The procedure often can be done using the original incision sites, avoiding any additional scarring.

However, if you have complications to address, such as capsular contracture, symmastia (a.k.a. “uniboob”), sagging, or asymmetry, your plastic surgeon may need to remove the breast capsule (scar tissue around the breast implant), reshape your breast tissue, and/or reconstruct a new implant pocket to ensure a great result. Such procedures require additional operating time and, most likely, additional cost. They also require superior surgical skills, so be sure you choose a plastic surgeon who is very experienced with complex breast revision procedures.

Even if you’re facing a more expensive breast revision, never compromise on your safety or results to save money—”bargain” surgery could cost you far more in the end. Instead, use patient financing to help your revision procedure fit into your budget. Most plastic surgeons offer financing options which allow patients to pay in affordable monthly installments.

If it’s been less than a year since your breast augmentation, it may be best to wait.

It’s not uncommon for patients to experience some degree of temporary “buyer’s remorse” after breast augmentation—particularly in the early months, when your mind and body are adjusting to having larger breasts, and normal post-op swelling is causing your breasts to appear larger, firmer and higher on your chest at first.

While you shouldn’t settle for results you’re unhappy with, if you are still in the early months after breast augmentation, time and patience may be the best solution. If you have any concerns, call your plastic surgeon—they will be glad to listen and help you arrive at a good solution.

Considering breast augmentation revision in Boston? Let’s talk.

Our Harvard trained plastic surgeons, Dr. Samaha and Dr. Lee, are highly experienced in breast augmentation and revision procedures. Whether you want to upsize, downsize, correct a problem, or simply update your implants, they will listen and work with you to achieve a look you love. Contact us to schedule your personal consultation.

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