This week I replaced a 70-year old woman’s silicone-gel breast implants. She had her first breast implants inserted as a 30-year old by a high-quality surgeon and the same surgeon replaced her implants 20 years later. She came to see me recently because, over time, her breasts had become hard, heavy and distorted in shape. In other words, she had developed capsular contracture around her implants.
Whenever something foreign is put inside our body, our body tries to wall it off with scar tissue in order to protect us. The scar tissue that forms around a breast implant is called the breast capsule. If the scar tissue (capsule) stays thin and soft, it’s difficult to distinguish the feel of the implants from normal breast tissue. If the scar tissue (capsule) hardens, the breasts can feel like rocks and look abnormal, which clearly can be very distressing.
Preventing capsular contracture is one of the highest priorities for specialist plastic surgeons. In my practice, the use of higher quality textured implants (containing cohesive silicone gel which doesn’t leak) and placing the implants underneath the chest muscle, have reduced the incidence of capsular contracture.
However, breast implants are not designed to last forever. Furthermore, women’s priorities change with different stages of their lives. After 10, 20, 30 or more years, you might want to go bigger, go smaller, have them removed entirely or have the implant removed and replaced with fat.
This is your body and your choice! My job as a specialist plastic surgeon is to work with you to give you what you want at any stage of your life.
My patient had her implants replaced with the new Motiva brand implants; a round implant that behaves as a tear-drop shape. The surface of the implant has a nanotexture which is said to provide all the advantages of a textured implant without the risk of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL).
My patient noticed a difference as soon as she woke. Gone were the heavy rocks on her chest that she had carried for years. Now she feels light, soft and natural and hopefully this result will last for many years into the future.