Dr. Mark Barlow MD, Plastic Surgeon in Houston, Clear Lake, Texas

2060 Space Park Drive, Nassau Bay, Texas, 77058

(281) 333-8999

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Breast Implant Exchange

An implant exchange is a surgical procedure to remove and replace breast implants. It can be performed to replace damaged or leaking implants, to change the type of implants or to alter the size of the implants. At the time of your initial consultation, you will meet with Dr. Barlow and discuss your concerns and goals. He will examine you and then offer possible surgical solutions. Pre-operative photographs will be made to facilitate surgical planning. Of course, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered.

Some exchanges can be easily performed under local anesthesia in the office. More involved changes will require general anesthesia as an outpatient at the hospital. Large changes in implant volume or moving where the implants will lie relative to the pectoralis muscle would generally not be possible in the office. Significant capsule modification would also necessitate general anesthesia.

You will again see Dr. Barlow for a pre-operative appointment. The surgical plan will be reviewed and any additional questions answered. Dr. Barlow will note any changes in your medical history and will listen to your heart and lungs. You will also be given prescriptions to fill prior to your procedure. You will then register at the hospital (if this venue is to be used).

Dr. Barlow's surgical time for bilateral implant exchange varies between one-half and a few hours, depending on the work that needs to be done. Dr. Barlow performs all breast procedures in two hospitals in the Clear Lake/Houston area (Houston Methodist St. John Hospital where he is Chief of Surgery and co-director of the Plastic Surgery Program or Clear Lake Regional Medical Center where he serves as the Plastic Surgery Section Head and is on the Surgical Executive Committee) as an outpatient procedure. This is an important distinction. In Texas, a fully trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon is granted hospital privileges to perform breast surgery. Physicians who call themselves cosmetic surgeons may not have completed a plastic surgery residency. In fact, some cosmetic surgeons have not completed a single day of any surgical residency, let alone a plastic surgery residency. These physicians generally perform procedures in their own facilities because they cannot obtain hospital credentials. There is only one certifying board for plastic surgeons that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and that is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The American Board of Medical Specialties governs and regulates each residency program, insuring that every graduate has met a rigorous training standard.

Post-operatively, you will be seen within a day or two to evaluate your healing. Bruising is common as is a moderate amount of swelling in the operative areas. You will be seen weekly for the first month, every other week for the second month and then every other month out to six months. You will be followed annually from then on. Patients who are over 40 or who have an increased family risk of breast cancer will be required to have a current mammogram prior to proceeding with surgery.

Full activities are resumed gradually but rigorous exercise is prohibited for the first post-operative month. This will allow your body time to recover from the surgery and avoid any unnecessarily prolonged swelling. During the early recovery period, increased activity will often lead to increased swelling.

Implant exchanges are a very gratifying procedure for both Dr. Barlow and his patients. Dr. Barlow looks forward to meeting with you and discussing your options. Call or e-mail today to schedule your appointment!

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