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Breast Implant Exchange

What is a Breast Implant Exchange?

Breast implants are not designed to last a lifetime. They frequently need to be exchanged after 10-15 years. Reasons for exchange include rupture, malposition, or a desire for a change in size. Sometimes implants can develop capsular contracture, which is a thickening of the capsule around the implant. This is best treated with implant exchange and capsule excision.

Who is a candidate for a Breast Implant Exchange?

  • You may want to consider an implant exchange if:
  • You would like to exchange your current implant for a larger or smaller size
  • You would like to change the position of your implant
  • You have confirmed implant rupture
  • You have capsular contracture

How is a Breast Implant Exchange performed?

An implant exchange is typically performed through the previous implant incision. The old implant is removed and examined for evidence of rupture. If the procedure is being performed for capsular contracture, then a capsulotomy is performed. The new implant is placed back into either the same implant pocket or a new one, depending on what is required. Drains may be left behind to drain any post-operative fluid that develops.


All surgery is associated with risks. Risks associated with an implant exchange are similar to a breast augmentation and include bleeding, infection, capsular contracture, and need for revisional surgery. It is important to talk with Dr. Rovelo about the risks of your surgery and how the risks can be minimized to provide the best possible outcome.


An implant exchange is performed in the outpatient surgical setting, under general anesthesia. Patients will have a surgical bra placed after surgery, and they may also have drains. Patients will go home the same day. Patients will be seen in clinic the following day and then one week later, at which time, the drains will be evaluated and possibly removed. Most patients will be able to return to light activity and work within one week. Heavy exercise and weight lifting may be resumed after 6 weeks. Post-operative swelling may take up to 6 months to fully resolve.