Breast reconstruction surgery gives women the opportunity to reclaim their bodies and feel good about themselves after a mastectomy. Through the work of a skilled plastic surgeon, breast reconstruction with implants can provide a wonderful long-lasting option to restore a woman’s bust. Women who have undergone implant breast reconstruction under the pectoralis muscle may experience issues over time, such as implant animation deformity or pain particularly if they have a history of radiation. In these cases, there is a surgical option to change the implant pocket location to above the pectoralis muscle, which helps alleviate these issues.
Understanding Breast Animation Deformity
When implants are placed underneath the pectoralis muscle, every time the muscle is activated, such as with upper body physical activity, the implant moves and changes shape. In some cases, this movement is mild, but in others, it can be quite severe creating a lot of upper breast distortion and deformity. Athletic women focused on building upper body strength, may find this implant movement bothersome, which can negatively affect their workout routine. Women who have completed post-mastectomy radiation and had their implants initially placed under the muscle are at risk of developing firmness of the pectoralis muscle, a condition known as “radiation fibrosis”, which exacerbates the animation deformity. Radiation fibrosis of the pectoralis muscle can also be associated with pain due to increased scar formation and capsular contracture around the implant.
What is Pre-pectoral Implant Exchange?
Fortunately, there is a safe surgical solution for patients who are dealing with issues related to implant animation deformity. Pre-pectoral implant exchange is a surgical technique in which the implant is removed from its original location underneath the pectoralis muscle, the muscle is repaired, and a new implant is placed in a new pocket above the muscle.
Because the pectoralis muscle is no longer pushing on the implant, the animation deformity is completely resolved in a single-stage surgery. In patients who have thin mastectomy flaps, they may develop more implant visibility since the muscle is no longer providing padding above the implant. To help camouflage the implant, often a second-stage fat grafting procedure is recommended. In this procedure, fat is harvested via liposuction from another area of the body and then carefully transferred and grafted into the mastectomy tissue to thicken the tissue, helping conceal the implant and thus creating a more natural result.
Discuss Your Options for Types of Implants During Your Exchange
With pre-pectoral implant exchange, there are several types of implant options to consider. While both saline and silicone gel implants are safe options for patients, the optimal implant choice is most often a silicone gel implant made of highly cohesive or “gummy” gel. These implants are more durable and least prone to rippling which can be an issue in patients with thin mastectomy tissue. Since the implant is now located above the muscle, it is important to minimize rippling and avoid implant visibility to ensure a more natural result.
Talk to Dr. Mahabir and Dr. Kurtovic to Learn More About Pre-pectoral Breast Implant Exchange
If you are unhappy with the appearance or feel of your breast implants, don’t hesitate. Turn to the team at Tucson Plastic Surgery in Tucson, Arizona to meet Dr. Mahabir and Dr. Kurtovic. You can expect compassion and understanding as your previous breast implants are evaluated. Your plastic surgeons will talk with you about your options to improve the appearance and feel of your implants. You’ll learn about the steps involved in the procedure, which type of implants are best for you, and how they may be placed over your pectoral muscles to optimize the cosmetic results. You will also be able to see a gallery of other patients who have successfully undergone a pre-pectoral breast implant exchange. Contact the staff at Tucson Plastic Surgery today to schedule your first consultation with Dr. Mahabir and Dr. Kurtovic.