Breast Implant Removal
Many women undergo breast augmentation procedures in order to enhance the size, shape, symmetry, texture, and overall appearance of their breasts. For a variety of reasons, some women also choose or need to have these procedures reversed.
Reasons for undergoing a breast implant removal, or explant, include implant rupture or deflation, capsular contracture or other healing complications, implant rippling or shifting, breast sagging, weight loss/gain, diagnosis of breast cancer, or simply a desire to change the breast size or shape. While many of these problems can be treated with revision surgery, some women may choose or need to have their implants removed without replacement.
Reasons for Undergoing a Breast Implant Removal
Breast implants are not for everyone, and do not last forever. Most women with breast implants will need to have them replaced at some point in their lives, usually after about 10-15 years. In rare cases, some women may experience persistent complications and decide to have their implants removed. Some women may simply decide to go back to their natural breast size and shape. While breast implant removal is generally a simple procedure, women with larger breast implants, especially with subglandular placement, are more likely to suffer unpleasant deformities such as skin puckering, sagging, and dimpling following breast implant removal, as the presence of implants may have permanently stretched the skin, sometimes necessitating a breast lift in order to remove excess, sagging skin and restore the breasts to their pre-implant state. Breast asymmetry is another possible side effect of breast implant removal, and may require further surgery to correct.
Breast Implant Removal Procedure
When implants are being removed as a result of capsular contracture, the surgeon will simultaneously excise the hard capsule of fibrous tissue surrounding the implants in a procedure known as a capsulectomy. If the implants are silicone or textured saline, “en bloc” removal may be warranted, which involves the surgeon removing the implant and hard, fibrous capsule intact as one unit, usually through a lengthy incision below the breast. If implants are being removed as a result of rupture, the surgery should be minimally invasive, especially in the case of saline implants, whose deflated shells can easily be removed by reopening the initial incision. In the case of silicone gel implants, your surgeon will use a dry sponge to remove any gel that has leaked into the breast cavity.
Breast implant removal surgery is a relatively simple procedure, and recovery time should be about the same as for the initial breast augmentation. The procedure is usually performed under general anaesthesia, on an outpatient basis. Most patients can return to work within a week and return to normal activities after a few weeks. Full recovery may take a few months. Patients undergoing removal of implants with submuscular placement may experience slightly longer and more painful recoveries, because of the deeper penetration necessary during their removal. Similarly, textured implants are slightly more difficult to remove than smooth implants, because they are designed to cling to the breast cavity. Implants are normally removed through the same incisions used for placement, minimizing additional scarring. In cases where transaxillary (armpit) or transumbilical (navel) incisions were initially used, a secondary incision will need to be made. You may be fitted with drains that will help collect excess fluid that may build up in the empty breast cavity following your removal procedure.
Risk & Complications
Women are cautioned that breast implant removal is another surgical procedure that opens the body to the same risks as the initial breast augmentation surgery, and the decision to have implants removed should not be taken lightly. Women whose implants are intact and who are not experiencing any complications are generally advised against undergoing breast removal surgery.
Factors that Influence the Success of Breast Implant Removal Surgery
A number of factors influence the success of breast implant removal surgery, including how long you’ve had your implants, their placement (submuscular or subglandular), the size of your implants, the quality and amount of breast tissue you have, the extent of your internal scarring, and the quality of work done by your surgeons. It is important when looking for a surgeon to perform your breast implant removal to be aware that it is a separate, and arguably more delicate, procedure. Even a highly regarded plastic surgeon may not have the skill to remove an implant without deformity. For this reason, it is important to choose a surgeon who regularly performs not only breast augmentation surgeries, but breast implant removals as well.
Book a Consult!
The decision to undergo a breast removal procedure without replacement can be just as significant as the decision to undergo an initial breast augmentation. Your consulting surgeon will use his or her training and expertise to help guide you in the right direction and make the appropriate recommendations, such as whether a simultaneous breast lift is required for a satisfactory result. At Clinic 360, you can rest assured that your decision will be respected, and that you are in the hands of highly qualified experts who can be trusted to perform your breast removal surgery with care and to your satisfaction.