Breast Implant Exchange

Offered at our convenient location in Baltimore, Maryland

Implant exchange

Implant exchange is breast augmentation revision surgery that is performed to remove and replace a patient’s breast implants. Utilizing previous incision sites, this procedure allows the surgeon to easily exchange the implants without creating new scars for the patient. It can be an effective surgery for those experiencing medical symptoms or for those who simply want to change the size or type of implant. 

Double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alyson Wells performs many types of cosmetic procedures for patients in the Baltimore, MD area. An expert in breast implant removal techniques, she provides comprehensive and attentive medical care to help you achieve your preferred breast contour. At Valley Plastic Surgery & Med-Spa, she meets with each surgical patient for a private consultation. Schedule yours today by calling our front office at (410) 628-8200 or by filling out this online contact form.

Before and After Photos

All About Implant Exchange

There are countless reasons patients seek breast implant exchange surgery, both medical and aesthetics-related. Some of the main instances are capsular contracture, implant rippling or rupture, and a change in implant volume requested by the patient. (1)With ever-changing trends in the world of breast augmentation, personal preferences about breast size, shape, and overall contour shift over time. You are not stuck with your implants if you find yourself wanting a change, and Dr. Wells is happy to create your ideal breast silhouette safely and effectively. 

Many surgeons recommend implant replacement after anywhere from 10 to 15 years after breast augmentation. If you recently received a breast augmentation, some early signs of complication that can lead to implant exchange surgery are: (2)

  • Infection
  • Asymmetry
  • Scarring
  • Breast Pain
  • Hematoma
  • Sensitivity changes, particularly around the nipple

Complications that can occur later on are drastic changes in implant position, deflation or leakage, and capsular contracture.

Capsular Contracture 

When any foreign object is inserted into the human body, the immune system creates a protective layer of scar tissue called a capsule. This is a natural reaction, completely normal for these types of procedures. The capsule typically does not cause issues for breast augmentation patients, but if the capsule becomes much harder than usual, the implant contracts causing aesthetic issues and sometimes pain. (3)

During implant exchange surgery, Dr. Wells often performs a capsulectomy to remove the implant and surrounding scar tissue before replacing the implant. In some cases, it is also necessary to repair the implant pocket and create a new one in a different position. If your current implants are placed above the pectoral muscle, for instance, then Dr. Wells may create a new pocket under the muscle to improve your results.


This complication occurs when there is an incorrect weight distribution within the implant itself. If the internal contents shift within the implant and collect in the lower pole of the breast below the nipple, this causes rippling to show through the skin where the implant is depleted. It is often noticeable even through clothing. (1)

Aesthetic Changes in Implant Preference 

Many breast augmentation patients undergo implant exchange for purely aesthetic reasons. They often want to change the size of their implants to make them larger or smaller. To perform this type of implant exchange, Dr. Wells either extends or shrinks the pocket to fit your preferred size. This can help with asymmetry as well, allowing an implant that may not match the other to be easily exchanged to create a more even breast profile. (1)

Benefits of Implant Exchange

Implant exchange surgery allows patients to:

  • Change the size or type of breast implants
  • Correct complications
  • Change the pocket placement
  • Repair asymmetry
  • Reposition the implant for more natural results
  • Achieve desired breast contour after unsatisfactory augmentation

This procedure can not only improve your breast contour but often gives patients a new lease on life.

Am I a Good Candidate for Implant Exchange Surgery?

Whether your implants are due for an exchange, or you are looking to downsize, implant exchange surgery with Dr. Wells can greatly improve your implant experience and self-confidence. You must be in good overall health without underlying conditions that may impact your ability to heal. If you smoke, you must quit at least 6 weeks before your surgery date, and refrain from the use of tobacco and nicotine throughout your recovery period. 

A good candidate for implant exchange is anyone healthy enough to undergo surgery who currently has breast implants. If you recently received breast augmentation and you are dissatisfied with your results, you must wait until you are fully healed before revision surgery. You must also have realistic expectations, something Dr. Wells speaks about during your first appointment at Valley Plastic Surgery.

Personal Consultation with Dr. Wells

Dr. Wells takes great pride in providing personalized and aesthetically appropriate cosmetic procedures for each of her patients. During your private consultation with her, she will inquire about your current breast implants, any implant-related symptoms, and if your breast size preferences have changed. Dr. Wells will perform a thorough examination to determine your candidacy, making sure to rule out any potential contraindications.

This appointment is an opportunity for you to ask any questions and voice concerns you may have. Dr. Wells and her talented staff will help you navigate this secondary surgery.


To be prepared for your surgery, please follow these guidelines:

  • Refrain from tobacco and nicotine use
  • Stop taking NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Avoid herbal supplements like garlic and vitamin E
  • Arrange a ride for the day of surgery
  • Pick up any prescriptions from Dr. Wells beforehand
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to your procedure
  • Create a comfortable space in your home for recovery

Dr. Wells provides detailed instructions for pre-and-postoperative care during your consultation.

Implant Exchange Procedure

Before surgery, Dr. Wells will mark the breasts and body to achieve symmetry before replacing the implants. She will note where everything sits to help her plan her placement during the procedure. Once we have prepared you for surgery, we will administer general anesthesia to keep you comfortable.

Dr. Wells will make her incisions, often utilizing your previous scars as access points. She will maneuver toward the breast pocket and remove the present implants. After performing any corrections necessary to the area, she replaces the implants with new, sterile ones that fit your desired contour. Once the breasts are in the correct position, Dr. Wells sutures the incisions in layers to minimize tension on the skin.

An implant exchange procedure takes anywhere from 1 to 3 hours depending on the patient’s circumstances. 

Recovery & Results

Most patients experience an easier recovery period after implant exchange, especially if the same breast pocket is used for their new implants. Expect about a week of swelling and plan to utilize ice packs on the breasts for the first few days. Make sure to follow Dr. Wells’ recovery instructions carefully to achieve optimal results after healing.

Corresponding & Complementary Procedures 


If you are unhappy with your breast implants but do not want them replaced, Dr. Wells can perform a complete implant removal or explantation. This surgery is one of her specialties, providing many patients with an improved breast contour without the use of implants.

Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer

For a more natural-looking result, Dr. Wells performs a breast augmentation with fat transfer after removing your implants. This technique utilizes your own tissue to increase the size of the breasts, offering a natural alternative to silicone augmentation.

After removing the implants, Dr. Wells performs liposuction on a different area of the body, typically the abdomen, to harvest fat cells for transfer. We clean the soft tissue for transplantation and then inject it into the breasts. This technique offers a lower risk of complications because it uses the patient’s own fat for transfer.

If you are curious about the other procedures that Dr. Wells performs, read our blog to learn more.

Cost of Implant Exchange Surgery in Baltimore

Every patient’s circumstances differ, leading to variations in total costs for every implant exchange performed. Dr. Wells explains the entire procedure process, including a cost estimate, during your private consultation at Valley Plastic Surgery.

To schedule your consultation today, call our office in Cockeysville, MD near Baltimore at (410) 628-8200. We also provide a convenient contact form to fill out at your leisure. We look forward to hearing from you.


How long do breast implants last?

Breast implants are not considered lifetime devices, and their lifespan varies for each individual. While they are designed to be durable, it is recommended to monitor your implants regularly and undergo routine check-ups with your plastic surgeon. Over time, you may need further revision surgeries or replacements due to natural aging, changes in breast tissue, or personal preference.

Can breast implant exchange be combined with other procedures?

Yes, breast implant exchange can be combined with additional procedures to enhance the overall aesthetic results. Commonly combined procedures include breast lift (mastopexy) to address sagging breasts, breast reduction to achieve a smaller size, or fat transfer to add volume and contour.


  1. Javier de Benito, Sanchez K. Secondary Breast Augmentation: Managing Each Case. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2010;34(6):691-700. doi:
  2. Fardo D, Sequeira Campos M, Pensler JM. Breast Augmentation. PubMed. Published 2021. Accessed February 2, 2024.
  3. Kevin Tehrani M | NY, Tuesday J 12. What Is Capsular Contracture and How Can It Be treated? American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Published June 12, 2018. Accessed February 2, 2024.