Breast Implant Exchange

Opting for a breast augmentation may have been an exciting decision at one point. You wanted to enhance your bust in order to look and feel more youthful, mature, or feminine. However, as time has gone on, you may have changed your mind about the look and feel of your breasts, may have experienced a complication, or may have reached the lifetime recommendation to exchange your implants.

Whatever your reasoning, you just know now is the time for a change when it comes to your breast implants.

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD of ArtfulSurgery is a board-certified plastic surgeon serving the greater California East Bay area. Dr. Lee is well-versed in the aesthetics of the female form. She understands the desire and need many women experience after breast augmentation. Women have a right to change their minds at any given time, so it should be no different when it comes to their bodies. Dr. Lee wants you to feel empowered on this journey and will be with you every step of the way. If you are looking to exchange or replace your breast implants in the Bay Area, do not hesitate to contact ArtfulSurgery to schedule an informative consultation.


There are so many benefits to undergoing a breast implant exchange with Dr. Lee. By changing your implants, you may experience greater comfort and confidence. You may also experience reduced anxiety when it comes to your appearance. You can avoid the risk of future complications in the case of aging implants. Your clothes may fit better, you may be able to engage in more physical activity, and you may experience a better quality of life after breast implant exchange. 

To discuss how this procedure can benefit you, contact ArtfulSurgery to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lee. Learn more about breast implant exchange and the other procedures offered at ArtfulSurgery by reading through our informative blog

Reasons to Consider Breast Implant Exchange

Breast implant exchange is a surgical procedure where your current breast implants are replaced with brand new implants. Women may undergo an implant exchange procedure for a variety of reasons.


If you are desiring a different look and feel for your breasts after breast augmentation, you may consider a breast implant exchange. If you want to increase or decrease the size of your bust, change to a different profile or shape, or correct an aesthetic feature of your prior breast augmentation, breast implant exchange may be the perfect solution for you.

Implant Age

Breast implants are not lifetime medical devices. As breast implant technology advances, your current implants may be out of date. The longer implants are in your body, the higher your risk for complications as the material may begin to degrade in the breast pocket. During your initial breast augmentation consultation, your plastic surgeon discussed the FDA’s recommendation to remove or replace your breast implants every 10-15 years. Generally, this recommendation is to help mitigate any risk of time-sensitive complications.

Implant Rupture

A rupture of a breast implant is any tear or hole in the outer silicone shell that may expose the implant contents to the breast tissue. A rupture in saline breast implants is noticed quickly. This is because the sterile saline solution that fills the implant is easily absorbed by the body without any adverse effects. Once the fluid leaves the implant shell, the affected breast will deflate, creating an asymmetrical appearance to the bust. Ruptures in silicone implants are referred to as “silent ruptures.” The filling of the outer shell is comprised of a cohesive silicone gel. Because this gel is not absorbed into the body, the affected breast may retain its shape, not immediately alerting you to the defect. Ruptured breast implants must be removed from the body and replaced with new implants.

Capsular Contracture

Breast implants have been proven to be safe and effective for breast augmentation in adult women. Sometimes, there can be complications that occur with breast implants. Capsular contracture is a hardening of the scar tissue that naturally forms around breast implants as they are in the breast pocket. This scar tissue is called the capsule. In some women, the capsule becomes hard and begins to contract around the breast implant. The tissue can squeeze the breast implant, causing the affected breast to appear distorted and cause physical discomfort. The only way to correct capsular contracture is to remove the capsule through surgery. The breast implant may be replaced at that time. 


Women who opt for large breast implants may experience physical discomfort in their chest, neck, back, and shoulders. This discomfort is often caused by the increased weight of the breasts. Equally as uncomfortable may be unwanted attention brought on by the increased size of their bust. In these cases, women may decide to reduce the size of their breast implants through an implant exchange procedure. 


When you meet with Dr. Lee during your consultation, she will provide you with specific instructions on how to best prepare for your procedure. She understands that each patient has unique needs and will adjust her directives, as necessary. 

Generally, patients are expected to stop smoking tobacco products and drinking alcohol for at least a month before surgery. Also, Dr. Lee may adjust your medication regimen if it includes medicines that may thin your blood, including blood-thinning prescription medications, supplements, aspirin, and ibuprofen. It is imperative that you share your medication history with the doctor so she may make the appropriate recommendations for you. 

breast implant exchange bay area

You will need to appoint a trusted adult to drive you home after surgery and remain with you for at least 24 hours. Any medication prescribed by Dr. Lee should be filled and picked up prior to surgery day so you will have them on hand when needed.

Dr. Lee and the entire ArtfulSurgery team want you to have a safe and successful procedure that will provide you with impressive results. Dr. Lee’s instructions should be followed closely in order to ensure you have a positive experience before, during, and well after your breast implant exchange. 


When you arrive for your breast implant exchange procedure, Dr. Lee will meet with you to discuss your treatment plan. She will answer any last-minute questions you have and make sure you are comfortable with your decision to proceed with your breast implant exchange. From there, she will use a sterile marker to mark your breasts, indicating the incision points, any areas of focus, and anatomical landmarks, such as the midline. 

Once you are in the operating room, you will be given the appropriate anesthesia to keep you comfortable during the procedure. After the anesthesia has taken effect, your skin will be cleansed and Dr. Lee will follow her markings to create the incisions. She may utilize the scars from your breast augmentation in order to minimize visible scarring. From there, Dr. Lee will gently and carefully remove your current breast implant (and capsule, as necessary) from the breast pocket.

If you are receiving larger breast implants, Dr. Lee will use an inflatable sizer to open the space to accommodate the implants. The breast pocket will be cleaned and Dr. Lee will insert the new implant into the space. She will make sure your breasts are symmetrical and appropriately positioned before closing the incisions. 


Ideal candidates from breast implant exchange are healthy women who may be unhappy with the look or feel or their current implants or they may be experiencing implant complications, such as rupture or capsular contracture. If it is time to replace your implants due to age, you may also be a candidate for breast implant exchange.

Are you a candidate for breast implant exchange? Call Dr. Lee’s office in the East Bay at (925) 299-1985. One of the ArtfulSurgery staff members will be glad to help you schedule a private consultation.

Your Breast Implant Exchange Consultation in the East Bay

During a private consultation with Dr. Lee, you will be able to share your aesthetic goals, any concerns, and your expectations of breast implant exchange. Dr. Lee will inquire about your health and medical history, including any experience with pain or trauma to the breast after breast augmentation. Dr. Lee will perform a physical examination of your breasts, after which, she will discuss the breast implant procedure. During this time she will be sure to answer each of your questions and address any concerns. 

If you are located away from Dr. Lee’s office, no worries! She offers virtual consultations for our out of town patients! Contact us to learn more.

This complete assessment will help Dr. Lee determine your candidacy for breast implant exchange surgery. Should she believe your needs may be met with an alternative procedure, she will inform you of her medical opinion. If breast implant exchange is right for you, Dr. Lee will create a treatment plan tailored to your needs and desires. 

breast implant exchange bay area

Ready to learn more about breast implant exchange and how it can help you meet your aesthetic goals? Fill out our short form and a member of the ArtfulSurgery team will get back to you to schedule your consultation. 


Many breast implant exchange patients indicate that the recovery process is easier or similar to that of their breast augmentation. After breast implant exchange surgery, you can expect your breasts to be swollen and tender. You will need to continually wear a surgical support bra until Dr. Lee advises you otherwise. You may return to work after about a week, post-op. In order to achieve the best results and a smooth recovery, you must follow all post-op instructions and attend all follow-up appointments.


Following breast implant exchange, your breasts may be smaller, larger, rounder, perkier, or softer, among a number of other qualities. However, your breasts change after the procedure, Dr. Lee will help you create the silhouette you desire. After breast implant exchange, you may be happier, more, confident, and comfortable in your body.

To read what Dr. Lee’s patients have thought about her impeccable skill, knowledge, care, and talent, be sure to take a look at their reviews. We would love for you to be among our most satisfied patients and have an opportunity to provide you with 5-star service. Schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Lee to begin your breast implant exchange journey.

Book Your Appointment Today!

3800 Mt Diablo Blvd #102
Lafayette, CA 94549

(925) 299-1985


How Long Does Breast Implant Exchange Take?

Depending on the extent of your case, including the addition of any complementary procedures such as breast lift (mastopexy) or breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty), breast implant exchange may be completed in 1 to 2 hours.

Why Do My Breasts Implants Hurt?

You may experience pain and discomfort in your breasts for a myriad of reasons. When it comes to breast implant related pains and aches, you may be experiencing capsular contracture or your breast implants may be too large for you to carry. A personal consultation with Dr. Lee can help begin the process of ruling out other reasons for your discomfort. Contact ArtfulSurgery to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lee today.

Additional Resources

  1. Doherty, S. (2020, February 21). Want to go bigger or smaller? Maybe you need a breast implant exchange. American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  
  2. Steiert, A. E., Boyce, M., & Sorg, H. (2013). Capsular contracture by silicone breast implants: possible causes, biocompatibility, and prophylactic strategies. Medical Devices (Auckland, N. Z.), 6, 211-218. doi: 10.2147/MDER.S49522
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