Washington, D.C. (202) 785-4187

Breast Augmentation Revision

Although for the majority of women, breast augmentation is a permanent change, most women will need breast implant revision surgery at some point. Washington, D.C. plastic surgeon Dr. Paul G. Ruff IV has the training and experience needed to perform this specialized surgery, which involves either removing or replacing the implants. There are several reasons for breast augmentation revision:

  • To exchange implants for a different size or style
  • To remove ruptured or leaking implant(s)
  • To correct hardening of the scar tissue around the implant, known as capsular contracture

If you live in or around Washington, D.C. and are considering removing or exchanging your breast implants, request a consultation online to meet with Dr. Paul G. Ruff IV, M.D., F.A.C.S., or call our office at (202) 785-4187 to speak with member of our staff to schedule a consultation.

Paul G. Ruff IV
M.D., F.A.C.S.

Personalized, compassionate patient care is the foundation of West End Plastic Surgery's philosophy. Our board-certified surgeon, Dr. Paul G. Ruff IV embraces innovative techniques to ensure our patients get the best treatments available.

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Are You a Good Candidate for Breast Implant Revision?

If you are in good general health and have realistic expectations regarding the results of your breast implant removal surgery, you are an ideal candidate for the procedure. The doctor and staff at West End Plastic Surgery will work with you to ensure that you know what to expect from removal of your implants, both physically and psychologically.

Meeting With the Doctor

During your initial evaluation and consultation with Dr. Ruff, he makes sure you are a good candidate for breast implant removal surgery and ensures you understand and are comfortable with the procedure. He wants you to have a clear picture of how your breasts will look after the surgery.

Dr. Ruff and his and staff will:

  • Review the various breast augmentation options with you
  • Discuss other procedures such as implant replacement or a breast lift that you may want to consider to enhance your breasts
  • Clearly discuss the potential risks of the procedure
  • Outline in detail how the surgery is performed and what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure
  • Provide detailed cost, insurance (if applicable), and payment information
  • Answer all your questions

You will be asked to provide:

  • Details about your medical history
  • A list of all medication you currently take, including over the counter medications such as aspirin, vitamins, and herbal supplements
  • Information regarding your tobacco and alcohol use

How the Procedure Is Performed

Your breast implant removal procedure will be performed in our state of the art surgical suite or at one of the area hospitals where Dr. Ruff operates.

Dr. Ruff and his staff are dedicated to ensuring your complete comfort during and after the procedure. The surgery may be performed under either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. The procedure generally takes 30 minutes to one hour to complete and you will go home shortly after your surgery is completed.

Dr. Ruff makes a small incision in the breast, usually under the fold of the breast or around the areola. The skin pocket around the implant is cut into and the implant is carefully removed. If the implant is filled with saline, the doctor may elect to deflate the implant to facilitate removal (the saline solution will be naturally absorbed by your body over time). If the implant is filled with a silicone gel, Dr. Ruff will inspect the implant for any signs of damage or leaking before removal. If you suffer from capsular contraction, the doctor removes all or part of the scar tissue that has formed around the implant.

Stitches are used to close the incision; the stitches generally extend around the areola or along the crease of the breast. After your surgery is completed, your breasts will be bandaged with gauze and a special surgical bra will be placed over your breasts to hold them in the best position for healing.

What to Expect After Surgery

Activity When
Shower or Bath 1 to 2 Days After Surgery
Back to Work 2 to 3 Days After Surgery
Driving When You Are Pain Free
Physical Contact With Breasts 3 to 4 Weeks After Surgery
Strenuous Activity 3 Weeks After Surgery
Fading of Scars Several Months to 1 Year

Immediately After Your Surgery

In most cases, you will be ready to go home shortly after your implant removal procedure. You may be a bit sleepy after the anesthesia so it is important to have someone drive you home after your surgery.

The First 24 to 48 Hours After Your Surgery

During the first 24 to 48 hours after your procedure, you may feel tired from the anesthesia and sore from the surgery. The doctor will prescribe pain medication to alleviate most of the discomfort. Your discomfort level will improve rapidly after the first two days. Call the staff at West End Plastic Surgery if you have any questions or concerns in the days after your surgery.

The First 2 Weeks After Surgery

You will notice a marked improvement in your discomfort level during the first few weeks after your surgery. Other things to be aware of:

  • The gauze dressings placed over your breasts will be removed a few days after your surgery. Once they are removed, you can take a shower or bath.
  • Your first post-operative visit usually takes place 2 to 3 days after surgery. Subsequent visits are scheduled every 1 to 2 weeks for the first 6 weeks and then every 1 to 2 months for the next 6 months.
  • Any bruising you experience will usually disappear in about two weeks.
  • You may experience some numbness in the area of the surgery. This numbness is caused by the swelling of your breasts after surgery and usually disappears within 6 weeks of surgery.
  • Most of the stitches used are dissolvable. If non-dissolvable stitches are used, they will be removed within 7 to 10 days after surgery.

You should sleep on your back for the first week after surgery to help with the healing process. You should wear the special surgical bra placed over your breasts after surgery at all times for the first few days. The softer support bra provided by West End Plastic Surgery should be worn at all times for the first 2 weeks after your surgery. The bra should be worn even while sleeping to help hold your breasts in the correct position. You may take the bra off to shower or bathe, but must be put back on immediately after drying off. If the bra is too tight, call the staff at West End Plastic Surgery immediately – bras that are too tight can cause skin problems.

Resuming Your Normal Routine

Everyone heals at different rates and you are the best judge of when you are ready for certain activities, but the following are general guidelines:

  • You can most likely return to work or school within a day or two of your surgery.
  • You can resume driving as soon as you experience no pain when you turn the steering wheel.
  • You should avoid sex for at least the first week after your surgery.
  • Two weeks after surgery, you can begin to sleep without the special elastic bra you've been wearing. However, you should continue to wear this bra during the day for 4 to 6 weeks after your surgery.
  • Do not go without a bra for at least 6 weeks after your surgery.
  • Strenuous exercise can begin about 3 to 4 weeks after your surgery, but remember that everyone heals at different rates so take these activities slowly until you feel ready. Our patients are encouraged to plan an exercise program and discuss it with the staff prior to resuming exercise .
  • The scars on your breasts should be protected from sunlight for at least a year after surgery.

Things to Be Aware of After Your Surgery

  • The skin of your breasts may appear shiny due to swelling. Within a few weeks, the swelling will disappear and the skin will return to a normal appearance.
  • You may experience some numbness in the area of your surgery, but this generally goes away within 6 weeks of your surgery.

What Are Possible Side Effects or Risks?

Like all surgical procedures, there are risks associated with breast implant removal. As with any surgery, you can help reduce the risks associated with your breast implant removal by closely following the instructions provided to you by the staff of West End Plastic Surgery. And, the doctor and staff at West End Plastic Surgery will be with you every step of the way to ensure a safe and pleasing outcome.

Some possible side effects include:

  • Infection
  • Loss of nipple sensation
  • Breast sagging or loose skin
  • Scarring

How Long Will the Results of Your Breast Implant Removal Last?

Breast implant removal is permanent. However, keep in mind that your breasts may sag or droop over time due to the natural effects of aging.

Questions You May Have

Are there other procedures that could be done along with breast implant removal to enhance the size and shape of my breasts?

A breast lift or reinsertion of a breast implant may be performed to enhance the size and shape of your breasts. These options will be discussed with you in detail when you meet with the doctor before your surgery.

Will my insurance coverage pay for my breast implant removal?

In most cases, breast implant removal is considered a cosmetic procedure and, therefore, is not covered by insurance. You are responsible for the full payment for your procedure. Cost and payment options will be discussed fully with you at your initial consultation. In a few cases where significant capsular contraction has caused breast distortion or severe pain, insurance may be provided.

Are there alternatives to breast implant removal?

If your breast implants have leaked or ruptured, there is no alternative for repairing them outside of removal and possible replacement. Unless other problems are occurring, there is no need to remove the implants. In some cases, revision without removal is possible for hardened implants.

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West End Plastic Surgery 2440 M Street Northwest #200
Washington, District of Columbia 20037 (202) 785-4187 Monday–Friday: 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Get Directions