Breast Implant Removal or Revision Surgery

Breast implant removal or implant replacement involves complex Revision breast surgery techniques. It also requires collaborative decision making and an analysis of what techniques will provide the patient with the best Revision Surgery result.

Why do people want their breast implants removed or replaced?

The top 3 reasons women choose to have their implants removed (or replaced with a different size) usually relates to:

  • SEEKING a SIZE change or wanting to FIX a complication
  • BEING UNHAPPY with Breast Augmentation RESULTS
  • FEELING concerned about sensitivities to implant types or fill materials (lifestyle preference changes)

Happiness vs Revision Surgery Requests

  • It can be difficult for patients to FULLY envision what their surgery results WILL LOOK LIKE or FEEL LIKE
  • Sometimes it’s simply they DID NOT CHOOSE the most QUALIFIED TYPE of Surgeon(s) for their procedure
  • Other times they simply FAILED to recognise how having larger boobs and breast implants would impact their lifestyle, clothing choices and exercising habits

People who find themselves unhappy with breast surgery results ALSO tend to have:

  • CHOSEN a Surgeon who LACKED adequate skills or qualifications in breast augmentation and IMPLANT SIZING
  • EXPERIENCED poor communication OR had miscommunication about breast size/shape ideals
  • LACKED customised pre-surgery measuring/planning
  • DIDN’T ATTEND recommended follow-up appointments
  • FAILED to wear support garments after surgery
  • IGNORED recovery recommendations
  • ONLY had augmentation without a breast lift, despite moderate or severe skin ptosis

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Other concerns leading to REVISION Breast Surgery Requests including Implant Removal or Replacement

  • Original Surgeon didn’t speak the SAME language as their patient, or had patient-surgeon communication difficulties
  • Was not fully qualified at the highest level of plastic or cosmetic surgery and hadn’t operated on enough patients to be considered an expert
  • Offered production-line style, discounted types of breast implant procedures

However it is important to keep in mind that revision surgery is complex and that not everything that goes wrong can be fixed.

  • Revision surgery does not necessarily guarantee you the results you are after.
  • The end result of breast implant revision surgery is solely dependent on your first surgery and how you’re healing.
  • You may need to be patient and recognise that NOT EVERY SURGEON will be capable of helping you rectify your concerns. Some issues will NOT be fixable; others might be if you follow good advice.

It also depends on how prior breast surgeries have impacted your skin and future surgery options.For this reason, Dr Rubinstein emphasises the importance of carefully choosing a Specialist Plastic Surgeon for your primary breast implant surgery procedure.

Choosing an expert Surgeon often helps to reduce, but may not fully eliminate, the likelihood you’ll need costly revision surgery if things don’t go to plan. Or worse yet, if things DID go to plan – but your surgery planning didn’t suit your physique or skin condition.




Common Reasons for Breast Implant Replacement, Implant Removal or Augmentation Revision

There are a wide variety of reasons women seek breast implant revisions or exchanges.

These include:

  • A prior, botched procedure or a poor surgical result from overseas surgery that needs to be corrected
  • A change in lifestyle, body weight or appearance goals
  • Size changes in relation to lifestyle changes, weight changes or exercising comfort
  • Complications
    • Capsular contracture
    • Capsular calcification
    • Implant rupture
    • Breast implant deflation
    • Implant leakage
    • Breast implant wrinkling
    • Excessive movement of the breast implant
    • An allergic reaction to the breast implant
    • Infection or bleeding after surgery
  • Asymmetry in nipples or breast shapes or sizes (usually pre-existing, but potentially amplified when breast volume increases)
  • Suspicions or recent diagnosis of breast cancer
  • Pain caused by the breast implants

Considerations for Breast Implant Removal

  • Before you evaluate breast implant removal vs implant replacement, it is important to consult closely with a fully QUALIFIED,  experienced Plastic Surgeon.
  • However, if you do not feel comfortable with your original surgeon, seek a second opinion.
  • Don’t be surprised if your Surgeon encourages you to go back to your original surgeon.

What to CONSIDER before your consultation for breast implant replacement or removal:

  • Are your breast implants causing you pain?
  • Have your breasts unusually hardened?
  • Are you unhappy with the APPEARANCE of your breast implants?
  • Has swelling fully subsided and bruising resolved?
  • Have you given your surgery results at least 12 months healing time?
  • Do you want to return to life with smaller breasts or more similar to how your breasts looked before you got your implants?

Considerations for Breast Implant Revision Surgery

Revision Surgery Costs 

  • Revision surgery is usually more expensive than primary (original) surgery.
  • The reason is that it is more complex (more difficult) and tends to involve a lot more time in theatre.

Revision breast surgery prices in Melbourne tend to range from $16,000 to $30,000 (average costs).

This will depend on your choice of Surgeon and WHAT procedures and techniques might help.

Questions to ASK about Breast Implant Concerns

There are other things to consider when contemplating having revisional breast surgery.

Again, if you do not feel comfortable consulting with your original plastic surgeon, it is important to get a second opinion.


Questions to consider before having REVISION breast surgery or implant exchanges:

  • Are your breast implants causing you any pain?
  • Have your augmented breasts become unusually hardened?
  • Are you disappointed with the look of your current implants and have given them at least 12 months for swelling to subside?
  • Have you noticed breast rippling or movement?
  • Are your implants moving or breasts ‘bottoming out’?
  • Have you lost your cleavage or do you have a uniboob look?
  • Did you give your original surgeon a chance to rectify the situation (if they are a FRACS qualified specialist)?
  • Are your expectations realistic in terms of what you started with?
  • Are you prepared for the fact that a revision surgery may or may not get you what you’re wanting, depending on what you’re dissatisfied with?

Before considering breast implant revision surgery, you should seek an expert’s opinion.

An expert opinion on Revision Breast Augmentation surgery gives you a chance to learn what an expert Surgeon believes CAN or CANNOT be changed or rectified.

Renowned for his expertise in complex breast surgery, including the correction of asymmetry and tuberous breasts, Dr Craig Rubinstein and his colleagues (including expert Dr Richard Sackelariou), can help you understand what can be achieved through revision surgery.

  • You must, however, be prepared for the complex and often costly nature of Revision surgery.
  • There is also an emotional aspect to having REVISION or EXCHANGE surgery.

With this in mind, Dr Rubinstein and his talented colleagues at Cosmetic Surgery for Women & Men MAY be able to assist you in achieving the look you want with a Revision procedure.

  • IF you decide that revision surgery is what you really need, AND
  • IF your surgeon believes that remedying your concerns is a feasible approach.

What Breast Implant Revision Surgeries Does Dr Rubinstein Perform?

  • Asymmetry – breasts that are dissimilar or lopsided
  • Bottoming Out – implant has dropped below nipple – nipple sits too high on breast
  • Capsular Contracture – a complication resulting in hardening of the implant pocket
  • Double Bubble – a crease across the lower part of the augmented breast (2 breast mounds)
  • Implant Removal – removing ageing or unwanted implants
  • Implant Removal and Replacement – typically for a modern implant or size change
  • Rippling or Wrinkling – wavy, unnatural skin texture usually on top of breast
  • Ruptured Implant – to remove, rectify and possibly replace an implant
  • Symmastia – implants too close together crossing the midline (creating a uniboob)

Ageing Implants or Botched Boob Jobs: Revision Solutions

Breast implants DO have a lifespan (as do all medial devices).

Most breast surgery patients will need to undergo additional breast surgery in their lifetime (revision surgery, replacement or removal).

Considerations for REPEAT or REVISION Surgery

  • ageing implants
  • size or shape adjustment (size change, lift with implants)
  • overall improvement of the breast implant appearance

Even with the best surgical outcome, skin can be prone to stretch, scar tissue may develop or a number of factors including child birth can take its toll.

  • As a result, many women with breast implants may eventually require breast revision surgery.

Types of Breast Implant Revisions

Implant Removal (Explantation)

  • Explantation is typically more popular with older patients or
  • Patients who are concerned about sensitivities
  • This procedure involves the breast implants being entirely removed and NOT replaced with newer implants.

While having their breast implants removed, patients may opt to also have a breast lift performed to achieve a smaller yet natural look.

Options and outcomes for this procedure depend on existing breast tissue and the elasticity of your skin.

Breast Implant Revision – Removal and Replacement

  • This is surgery involves the removal of existing implants to be replaced with newer ones.
  • Breast implant replacement also appeals to patients who would like to change their implant size, replace ageing implants or reduce implant visibility or rippling.
  • This procedure may sometimes involve altering the position of your implant from above the muscle (sub-glandular) to beneath the muscle (sub-pectoral) or vice versa.
  • Patients may also opt to change older saline breast implants or ruptured implants in favour of modern silicone cohesive gel breast implants.

Pocket Revision Surgery

  • Pocket revision surgery involves modifying the pocket where the implant is located using surgical dissection or repair of sutures.
  • This procedure also often assists with improving your breast shape, helping to gain cleavage, releasing the muscle or allowing for a size change.


Capsulorrhaphy involves the reconstruction of the implant pocket inside the breast using sutures.

This procedure is often used to re-position breast implants that are either too close (symmastia), too low (bottoming out) or too far apart (laterally displaced).


  • Capsulectomy involves the removal of scar tissue.
  • Capsulotomy however involves the making of incisions in the scar tissue surrounding the implant.
  • This procedure helps to produce a softer, more natural appearance and feel especially after capsular contracture.

Further Reading

Complications and Risks – Mastopexy Breast Lift Surgery

Uneven Breasts: How Breast Asymmetry Impacts Your Breast Augmentation

Why Have Your Breast Augmentation Surgery in Hospital?

The Next Steps

  • Visit the FAQs pages and patient reviews to learn more about your intended procedure.

How to Book your Initial Consultation

  • Email us or call on (03) 8849 1444 to arrange your consultation with Dr Rubinstein
  • A referral from your GP or from your specialist is helpful but not essential

What to Bring to your Surgeon Consultation

  • You are more than welcome to bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents provided
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes


American Society of Plastic Surgeons. November 2018. What is breast implant removal surgery? [online] Available from: [accessed 22 November 2018]

International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. November 2018. Revision Breast Surgery [online]. Available from: [accessed 22 November 2018]

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. November 2018. What is breast implant revision surgery? [online]. Available from: [accessed 22 November 2018]

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. November 2018. Capsulorrhaphy for revisionary breast surgery [online]. Available from: [accessed 22 November 2018]

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. November 2018. Open Capsulotomy: An Effective but Overlooked Treatment for Capsular Contracture after Breast Augmentation [online]. Available from: [accessed 22 November 2018]

Dr. Craig Rubinstein’s affiliations include:

fracsASAPSAustralian Society of Plastic SurgeonsASPSisaps
*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is of a general nature.  For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full-history and surgical consultation. Read further information about surgical outcome variability on our Disclaimer Page.