Every patient wants to hear that they’ll always look as great as they will in the year after their surgery. After all, who among us hasn’t wished we could permanently freeze our appearance at a certain age or weight? But the reality is that aging will always take a toll, as may other changes in our lives. With this in mind, many patients who see me for breast surgery (such as breast augmentation, breast reduction, or breast lift) ask me, “will I need another surgery in later years?”
While the word “need” doesn’t generally apply to plastic surgery because it’s primarily a cosmetic choice, the short answer is yes. If you want your breasts to continue looking their best, it can only be achieved through additional surgeries in the future. As most women know all too well, there are many changes that can affect the breasts. Aging alone causes your skin to become less firm, and because the breasts are constantly fighting gravity, this results in sagging or drooping breasts. Weight fluctuations and hormonal changes can cause changes to the breasts as well, but some of the most powerful contributors to changing breast shape are pregnancy and breastfeeding. In any case, if you’re still happy with the size of your breasts but you want to restore them to a more youthful position, a breast lift may possibly be the best choice.
However, there are also a number of other reasons you may choose or need to have a follow-up breast surgery, often called breast revision. Complications like capsular contracture (when the scar tissue hardens around the implant) and implant shifting are rare, but they can typically be improved with a relatively straightforward surgery. In other cases, women choose to undergo secondary surgery because they’re no longer happy with the size or type of implant they chose for their first surgery. For instance, you may prefer a more modest bust in your 50s than you did in your 20s, or you may have received a saline implant but would now prefer the more advanced silicone implants available. In the case of women who have had a breast reduction, some experience further breast growth in the future and need a new surgery to restore their preferred breast size.
It’s also important to recognize that breast implants will not necessarily last forever. Eventually (perhaps after 10-20 years) they may need to be replaced with newer implants due to a rupture or other defect that has developed. So, for women who have had had a breast augmentation, you might have one or more future surgeries to keep your implants functioning the way you want them to.
It’s fascinating how our aesthetic perspective changes over time. Children delight in seeing how much they’ve grown from one year to the next, while most adults actually wish they could take their appearance back in time instead. When it comes to breast surgery (and most other aesthetic goals, for that matter), remember that looking and feeling your best is an ongoing process that can offer years of improved self-confidence if you remain committed to your health. If you’re ready to get started by discussing your options for your first breast surgery or a follow-up procedure, schedule a consultation with me, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Franklyn Elliott. Or, for more cosmetic surgery tips and health news, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.