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Question of the week: can I increase my implant size after breast augmentation?

I had a breast augmentation 5 years ago and after putting on a bit of weight, it feels like my breasts are now too small for the rest of my body. 

Is it possible to increase the implant size, and how do I find out the biggest possible size, without looking unnatural?

- patient

breast augmentation surgeon
Brisbane breast augmentation surgeon
Dr David Sharp, plastic surgeon in Brisbane, profile image

Dr Sharp:


It is certainly possible to increase your breast implant size after having a breast augmentation.

This procedure is called breast implant removal and replacement surgery, and involves a very similar process to your primary (first) augmentation, occasionally with the additional removal of implant capsule, or creation of more internal support to provide additional structure at the base of the breast.

remove and replace breast implantsOften, patients undergo this procedure primarily to remove ruptured implants or to address capsular contracture, and decide to increase their implant size at the same time. Other patients are dissatisfied with the appearance of their original implants and wish to increase their size.In most cases, an implant size increase is not an issue, especially when a patient wishes to have a moderate size increase; I frequently perform this surgery in my practice. [Right: before and after breast implant removal, replacement and lift surgery with Dr Sharp].

To ensure the best possible outcome, there are some important considerations to make before undergoing removal and replacement surgery to increase your implants size:

  1. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your breasts due to normal anatomical anomalies such as asymmetry, large areolas or chest wall deformities, increasing your implant size may make these more obvious, as they are being magnified by the additional size of the implant. Your surgeon will take steps to mitigate this, but it’s important to weigh this up against your desire for a larger implant. Your breasts will look bigger in clothes, but they may not look as you’d hoped, when naked.
  2. Increasing your implant size may cause your breasts to sit higher on your chest, and create a more unnatural appearance. Some women like this look, but it is important to decide if this is something that may bother you in the future.
  3. A larger implant will place additional strain on your supportive tissues and stretch your skin; this is something to consider down the track, as breast lift (mastopexy) surgery may be required if you wish to downsize or remove your implants in the future.
  4. Larger implants can impede on physical activities, sports and even sleeping positions; discuss this with your surgeon.
  5. Anecdotally, we find that the larger the implant size, the greater risk of revisional surgery; it’s important to consider if your budget and lifestyle will be able to accommodate this if the need arises in the future.

These considerations are not intended to sound negative or foreboding, but it’s far better to let them run through your mind before having surgery, than after!

Part of a surgeon’s job is to counsel patients to make sustainable, sensible decisions about surgery – this should be explained at length during the pre-operative process. Simply putting in oversized implants might please patients in the short term, but in the long term we know this is not always the ethical choice. Sometimes that means the end result is a compromise in the middle between what a patient wants, and what is safely achievable. 

During the pre operative consultation process, your surgeon will take your individual chest measurements and use the clinical guidelines based upon these to arrive at the ideal implant size ‘range’. This guideline determines the maximum implant size that your breast base anatomically will accommodate; it protects patients from potentially long term implant complication, and based on this, your surgeon will work closely with you to formulate an effective plan to achieve optimal breast augmentation results.

If you live in or near the Brisbane or Ipswich areas, or if you are considering traveling to these cities to receive treatment for breast augmentation revision, Dr Sharp would be more than happy to speak with you about your various options and help you make the correct decision for your unique situation. To book a consultation, please call 07 3202 4744.

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