Plastic surgeons always attempt to get things right on the first try—but the human body is complex and doesn’t always cooperate. So how do revision procedures work to get you the results you’ve been trying to achieve? For that matter, what is a revision procedure in the first place? How do they work?
How Do Revision Procedures Work for Plastic Surgery Patients?
Much as with any other plastic surgery procedure, each and every revision procedure is going to be different. In part, things will depend on the patient. But largely, revision procedures differ based on, well, the original plastic surgery procedure they’re attempting to revise.
Maybe the best way to answer this question is to take a look at some of the most popular revision procedures—why people get them, how they’re performed, how commonly they’re needed and so on. That way, we can get a better picture of what “revision” more broadly means.
Breast Implant Revision
We tend to think of revising something as, in a way, correcting a mistake. But that’s not necessarily the case with plastic surgery. That is, plastic surgeons aren’t always correct mistakes, necessarily. Sometimes the body—or the way the patient think about the body—simply changes.
That’s often the case for breast implant revision surgery. In some cases, yes, patients are unsatisfied with the final results of their procedure. But in the vast majority of cases, breast implant revision is performed for one of two reasons:
- Implant lifespan: Both saline and silicone breast implants have a shelf life. Usually this shelf life is quite long—something like fifteen years. But most patients do expect to have the implants removed or replaced as the end of that shelf life approaches.
- Change in Attitude: Some patients simply no longer feel as though the larger implant size reflects their personalities. These patients, therefore, will often opt to have a smaller implant replace the larger one, and this will be performed as a revision procedure. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, as many patients’ attitudes about their bodies change over time.
Whatever the reason for the implant revision, surgeons will generally use the same techniques and incisions that were used in the original procedure—where they can. The idea is to limit any new scar tissue that may develop, so the aesthetics of the new result are not compromised.
The desired end result is usually the same as it is for any breast surgery: to ensure that the patient is happy with the size and shape of her breasts.
One of the other areas of the body most prone to “revision” procedures it the nose. Revision rhinoplasty tends to be relatively common not because surgeons aren’t careful or make mistakes, but because the nose can be a rather finicky piece of anatomy. It doesn’t always heal as anticipated, and sometimes the results aren’t quite what the patient is anticipating (there are few procedures where expectations are as often inflated as with rhinoplasty).
Part of the other issue with rhinoplasty is that the nose is a fairly slow healing part of the body. This means that the recovery process is quite long (in some cases, as long as twelve months). Anything bad that happens to your nose during that twelve months (bumps and so on) could, in theory, diminish your results.
What Happens During a Revision Rhinoplasty
Usually, a revision rhinoplasty surgery looks a lot like the original rhinoplasty procedure. Depending on what needs to be changed, surgeons may opt for a less invasive approach (called a closed rhinoplasty) in order to achieve results. There are even some patients who can benefit from a non surgical revision rhinoplasty procedure, pioneered by Dr. Alexander Rivkin in Beverly Hills, CA.
A non surgical procedure has the added value of eschewing surgery. This means patients don’t have to endure another twelve months of recovery. But it’s not for everyone. For many patients, a surgical procedure will indeed be the best possible option for getting your desired results.
Getting it Right in the End
Revision procedures—whether it’s breast implant revision or rhinoplasty revision—are about one thing: ensuring you get the best possible results in the end. If you aren’t happy with your initial results, at any time or for any reason, then a revision procedure might be the best way to proceed.
Patients themselves will have to weight the risks and the benefits, just as they did with the initial plastic surgery procedure. When patients have an idea in terms of how revision procedures work, they’re better able to judge all possible outcomes.