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Breast Surgery Specialist Explains when Patients Should Seek Revision

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Dr. Andrew Smith, a breast augmentation specialist in Orange County, California, advises when women should have implants removed or replaced and offers guidelines for choosing a surgeon.

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IRVINE, CA, June 22, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Dr. Andrew Smith (www.asmithmd.com), who specializes in breast augmentation revision surgery in Orange County, says he frequently sees patients with breast implants who are ready for an update and opt for revision surgery.

"Breast implants don't last a lifetime, unfortunately," Dr. Smith says. "I'm seeing an increasing number of women who are ready for new implants."

Many of Dr. Smith's patients, he says, got saline implants between 1992 and 2006 when silicone gel implants were off the market. Since the FDA lifted restrictions on silicone implants in 2006, silicone is the far more popular option. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2013 statistics, 75% of patients in the U.S. select silicone.

Dr. Smith says many of his patients who have older saline implants are now eager to switch them out for a newer silicone option.

"Saline implants are still a good option for certain patients, but most people find silicone to feel and look more natural," says Dr. Smith, who has practiced for more than 15 years as a plastic surgeon in Orange County. "Today silicone implants come in lots of shapes and sizes. Exchanging older implants really does open a woman up to a lot of great choices."

Breast implants have a "life span" of about 10 to 15 years, according to most surgeons and implant manufacturers. After that time, they begin to weaken, and the rate of complications rises. Although some women have been happy with their implants for decades, after 10 or 15 years, most should monitor their implants for any signs of deterioration, Dr. Smith says.

"Aside from what we call 'elective exchange,' when a woman simply wants new implants, there are a few common complications that motivate patients to get revision surgery," he says. "Capsular contracture and rippling are the most common issues."

Capsular contracture is the hardening of scar tissue around a breast implant that can cause discomfort and can distort the appearance of the breast. Rippling is when an implant's edges cause a visible ripple in the skin. These issues and others can make a revisionary procedure more complicated, Dr. Smith says, and that's why it's crucial for women to choose a surgeon who specializes in revision.

"In and around Orange County, breast augmentation is extremely popular and there are more than a hundred cosmetic surgeons here who do primary augmentations. But not all of them are qualified to perform revision surgery," Dr. Smith says. Dealing with scar tissue, leaking implants, and other factors can make a revision surgery more complex.

Dr. Smith urges women who have aging breast implants or complications or are simply ready for an update to try to get as much information as possible from their initial surgeons.

"Especially in the case of any complications, it's good to have all the original records," he says. "Then, whether you go to the same surgeon or a different one later for revision, that doctor can have all the facts when planning a revision procedure."

Andrew Smith, M.D., FACS, (www.asmithmd.com) is a board-certified plastic surgeon whose patients come from Orange and Riverside counties and all over Southern California. Dr. Smith earned his medical degree from George Washington University and has years of experience in addition to residency training in both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. He is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery and The American Board of Surgery, and he is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

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