Breast Implant Plane Exchange
If you’ve had a prior implant-based breast reconstruction, you may be experiencing discomfort and visible implant deformity if the implant was placed under the chest muscle. Dr. Eric Chang performs a procedure known as “breast implant plane exchange” or “pocket conversion” to relocate the breast implant above the pectoralis muscle for an improved look and increased comfort.
Dr. Chang specializes in many types of breast reconstruction surgery. He is a board-certified plastic surgeon dedicated to helping women get back to their regular lives after a breast cancer diagnosis. Request a consultation or call us at (410) 740-9330 to schedule an appointment with him.
Why Implants Are Placed Under the Chest Muscle
Historically, it was thought that it was safer to place breast implants under the muscle in breast reconstruction. For many years, this was considered the standard of care.
However, in the last 10 plus years, with the increased use of Acellular Dermal Matrices (ADM’s) and other materials used to support the reconstruction, Pre-pectoral (above the muscle) reconstruction has quickly become Dr. Chang’s preferred method of breast reconstruction for many reasons. Some of these include less pain, comfort of the patient long term, less implant migration, and the lack of animation deformity during movement.
For those patients who were reconstructed with an under-the-pectoralis reconstruction, “breast animation deformity” can be a debilitating problem, leading to discomfort during daily activities or during exercise, especially during activities like Pilates or Yoga. Furthermore, the significant visual distortion that can occur can lead to anxiety as well.
For this and other reasons, many surgeons like Dr. Chang now use what is called a pre-pectoral technique in which the initial implant-based breast reconstruction is performed with the implant placed above the chest muscle instead of below it.
Correction with Revision Surgery
For women experiencing physical discomfort and/or a displeasing look from their breast implant placed under the chest muscle, implant revision surgery offers hope. Dr. Chang is able to remove the implant from its current placement and re-place it above the chest muscle using the pre-pectoral placement technique.
As part of this process, the previous capsule that formed around the implant is removed. When placing the implant above the muscle, Dr. Chang uses AlloDerm® dermal tissue matrix, a mesh-like structure that supports the implant and helps to achieve a more natural appearance.
The Benefits of Implant Plane Exchange
Revision surgery to relocate an implant above the chest muscle can achieve excellent outcomes and improve how women feel about their breast reconstruction. The technique:
- Can eliminate pain and discomfort associated with a constricted breast implant
- Can create a more natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing appearance
- Uses a non-allergenic biological mesh to conceal and help hold the breast implant in place
- Can be combined with fat grafting for an even better look and breast contour
- Usually covered by major insurance plans and our office can assist with the necessary paperwork
Breast Implant Plane Exchange Surgery
Dr. Chang performs this surgery with patients under general anesthesia, so you will sleep comfortably through the procedure. Prior incisions placed for the mastectomy and reconstruction typically can be used to access and relocate the affected breast implant. Based on patient preference, a new implant type and/or size may be placed at this time.
The natural pocket of scar tissue that originally encapsulated your breast implant is removed along with the implant itself. Dr. Chang prepares the tissue above the chest muscle for implant re-insertion, using AlloDerm as needed to create a more natural appearance after surgery and give the implant a better support framework.
After surgery, you will spend some time in a recovery suite, but most patients are ready to head home the same day. Our staff will be in close contact with you to make sure that you are comfortable and recovery is going smoothly. You will have a post-op appointment scheduled with Dr. Chang and we are happy to answer questions or address any concerns as they arise.