Breast Implant Exchange

Consultations offered at our two convenient locations in Alhambra and Santa Ana

A breast implant exchange is a procedure in which a surgeon replaces old implants with a newer pair and reforms the breast pocket. All patients with silicone or saline implants need this follow-up surgery since they do not provide permanent augmentation. Some women with implants may experience distortion and sagging breasts- indicating the need for a replacement. With an exchange procedure, women can revitalize their look with updated implants that better suit their bodies as they age. Whether patients want to maintain the same breast aesthetics or alter them, surgeons take the time necessary to consider body shape, personal desires, and how they did with the previous implants. 

At SkinZone Laser & Cosmetic Surgery with locations in Los Angeles and Orange County, our professionals seek to provide exceptional results that patients can feel proud of, helping them find renewed confidence in our cosmetic services. These well-established practices are led by the expertise of Dr. Hannah Vu, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon with over 25 years of experience. Every patient who steps into one of her offices can expect attentive, thorough, and communicative care. 

To learn more about your options for breast implant exchange, call (626) 329-4555 (Alhambra) or (714) 361-1555 (Santa Ana) or request a consultation with our contact form. A team member will get back to your inquiry as soon as possible. 

About Explant Surgery

To exchange breast implants, patients need to undergo explant surgery, a technical term for implant removal. Depending on your cosmetic issues, the procedural techniques will vary. One of the most well-known explant surgeries is the capsulectomy, a procedure in which the surgeon removes both the implant and surrounding scar/fibrous tissue- also called a capsule- as one unit. Another variation of the procedure may involve removing some or all of the scar tissue, or none at all. The unique approach the surgeon takes is highly dependent on whether there is a medical issue present, if the woman wants to replace her implants, or if she wants a change in size. Prescribing the right technique is the foundation for a successful and transformative breast augmentation with new implants. 

Do I Need To Replace My Breast Implants? 

Modern silicone and saline implants are remarkably resilient to the effects of gravity and are extremely safe and durable, but even the most high-tech implant needs replacing at some point. Though some surgeons estimate that these devices can last 15 to 20 years, there are still plenty of other surgeons who recommend replacing them much sooner. In one study of 500 women with implants, roughly half of them required at least an explant surgery after 10 years due to a related medical concern. (1) This is why Dr. Vu stands by the updated recommendation that patients should remove or replace them every decade. For the most part, however, undergoing a secondary breast surgery could be an option for those who want:

  • Perkier breasts with improved contours 
  • Larger or smaller breasts 
  • To eliminate implant movement and breast distortion 
  • To correct skin rippling and implant displacement
  • To correct abnormalities in the breast fold
  • More comfort with physical activities 
  • Increased body confidence and quality of life
  • Relief from implant-related pain

Over time, some women may develop a medical issue related to their aging implants; Dr. Vu aims to help these individuals sustain their augmented breasts with implants that are less likely to cause future problems. If not, patients can choose a simple explant surgery with an added breast lift

Personal Consultation

During a consultation with Dr. Vu, she will take a look at any cosmetic issues present in your breasts and ask you some basic questions about your implants. She will ask you about what you liked about your previous breast augmentation and the results you would like to attain for your future procedure. She will take into consideration your body shape, breast tissue composition, and your personal preferences when designing a procedural technique. After going through the specific implant exchange steps, she will let you know how to best prepare and what to expect during your recovery. For this first appointment with Dr. Vu, please come prepared with questions, and she will answer them thoroughly to help you feel more assured in your decision. 

At SkinZone, we pride ourselves in following innovative practices to help our patients achieve the best version of themselves- both inside and out. 

If the prospect of an implant exchange is right for you, call our Alhambra office at (626) 329-4555 or our Santa Ana office at (714) 361-1555. Our team is also available to contact online


To prepare for your implant exchange, Dr. Vu will review your current prescriptions and any supplements you take regularly. She will ask that you stop taking all blood thinners, like ibuprofen and aspirin, fish oil, Vitamin E and herbal supplements in the days leading up to your procedure date. If you smoke, you should aim to quit temporarily for at least 4 to 6 weeks before and after your implant exchange. You should also make plans for someone to pick you up from the surgical center since you will be drowsy from your sedative medication. 

Implant Exchange Procedure Steps 

Before initiating any surgical changes, Dr. Vu will administer local anesthesia with sedation to properly anesthetize you. Recent research states that aesthetic breast surgery under local, sedative, and intercostal block anesthesia promotes a more enhanced recovery, giving patients a safer alternative to general anesthesia. (2)  This will eliminate the risk that you will experience nausea, vomiting, disorientation, and sore throat effects that are common after general anesthesia. 

Implant Removal

After you are in a completely awake yet relaxed state and desensitized, she will make a small incision in the inframammary fold (the lower crease of the breast) to remove the saline or silicone breast implants. 

Capsule Reformation

Depending on your case, Dr. Vu may completely remove the tissue capsule that once held the implant or remove part of it. She will also modify the breast pocket as a whole to ensure the breast can heal optimally to support the implant. This may include breast capsulorrhaphy techniques to shrink overly stretched tissues with permanent, internal sutures or controlled thermal energy. (3) If the internal inframammary fold has weakened tissue from the effects of sagging and mistakes from the previous augmentation, she will strengthen it with layered sutures. 

Breast Implant Placement

Using the same incisions to remove the previous implants, Dr. Vu will insert brand-new, sterile implants into the breast pocket. Depending on the existing breast tissue, she will place them within the sub-glandular plane above the chest muscle or the submuscular plane below the chest muscle. Finally, she will close all incisions with sutures and wrap a supportive chest bandage to allow the tissues to rest and heal in place. You and Dr. Vu will discuss the specifics of the appropriate placement, implant material, size, projection, and texture to help you attain results you will love. 

Recovery and Results 

You may have some swelling, tenderness, and bruising, but luckily, breast implant exchange procedures tend to be less intensive than primary breast implant surgery. The use of local anesthesia and sedation encourages a faster recovery with less discomfort, so you will not need harsh pain medications; only acetaminophen and ibuprofen are necessary. Though you will have post-surgical side effects for some time, you will only need about 3 days of downtime. Even during the initial downtime, you should try to walk around to get your blood flowing. You will likely feel well enough to return to desk work soon after. 

Dr. Vu will give you further instructions regarding how to use your compression bra, a tool necessary for the reduction of swelling and supporting your new contours. You will be able to return to the gym within 3 to 6 weeks of your surgery. Dr. Vu will closely monitor you throughout the following weeks to ensure you recover as swiftly as possible.

Corresponding & Complementary Procedures 

Breast Lift

Dr. Vu can perform a breast lift in conjunction with an implant exchange or after an implant removal procedure. This procedure corrects ptosis (sagging) since it requires skin removal and breast mound repositioning. Dr. Vu will apply one of the following techniques: 

  • Periareolar lift: This involves correcting mild ptosis and improving the shape and positioning of the areolas. 
  • Vertical lift: This includes a periareolar incision and an added vertical opening toward the inframammary crease to correct moderate ptosis. 
  • Anchor lift: This lift includes the vertical technique with an added incision following the inframammary crease to correct moderate or severe ptosis.

A breast lift catered to your needs can rid you of unwanted, stretched skin and help you achieve some more flattering, uplifted breast fullness.

Cost of a Breast Implant Exchange in Santa Ana, Newport Beach

The cost of your breast implant exchange will depend on the extent of your aesthetic changes and your follow-up appointments at SkinZone. Dr. Vu can go over all related fees and give you a total cost estimate during the consultation. To avoid out-of-pocket expenses, consider applying for a financing plan.

To get started today, call one of our locations listed below or request your appointment with our contact form. We serve the SoCal Southern California, including but not limited to Newport Beach, Anaheim, Irvine, Tustin, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Long Beach, Huntington Park, Montebello, Rowland Heights, San Gabriel, Arcadia, San Marino, Los Angeles, Pasadena and more! To learn more about Dr. Vu’s approaches to other procedures, visit our blog


  1. Zhang, Z., Qi, J., Zhang, X. et al. What Can We Learn from Breast Implant Explantation: a 28-Year, Multicenter Retrospective Study of 1004 Explantation Cases. Aesth Plast Surg (2023). 
  2. Stahl S, Adelana Santos Stahl, Feng YS, et al. Enhanced Recovery After Aesthetic Breast Surgery Under Sedation, Intercostal Block and Tumescent Anaesthesia: A Prospective Cohort Study of the Early Postoperative Phase. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2022;47(3). doi: 
  3. Awaida CJ, Paek L, Danino MA. A New Technique for Breast Pocket Adjustment: Argon Beam Thermal Capsulorrhaphy. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open. 2022;10(7):e4437. doi: