Last updated date: 19-Jun-2023
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Anas Walid Shehada
Originally Written in English
Breast implant removals
It is critical for women who have breast implants to have them renewed every 10 to 15 years. While some women choose for breast implant revision, which involves replacing the implants with ones of a different size or form, others opt for breast implant removal.
What is Breast Implant Removal Surgery?
The purpose of breast implant removal surgery is to remove breast implants from patients who have had breast augmentation or breast reconstruction. The surgeon may also remove silicone material from implant leaks and the breast capsule, which is scar tissue that occurs following the implantation of a breast implant, during these operations.
Scar tissue that develops following implant placement is often mild and does not need to be removed, but it can harden and cause pain and discomfort. This is frequently the reason for having the implants and scar tissue removed.
Breast implants are not permanent, and it is recommended that they be exchanged or removed every 10-15 years. This choice is usually made based on the requirements and preferences of the individual and the patient.
In certain situations, the implant's outer shell fails, allowing silicone to leak and scar tissue to stiffen around the implant. It is critical to recognize that your implants should be removed for this reason.
Why remove Breast implants?
Common reasons for removing breast implants include:
- A ruptured implant,
- An exposed implant,
- An infected implant, or
- You no longer want your implants.
Discuss your reasons for removing your breast implants with your plastic surgeon. This will assist us in determining the optimal type of surgery for your goals.
Who is a good candidate for Breast implant removal?
Breast implant removal surgery is a highly personalized treatment. It should be done if you have capsular contracture (hardening of the breast), implant discomfort, imaging has revealed a capsule leak, and/or if you no longer want or want to exchange your implants.
In general, you may be a good candidate for breast implant removal if:
- You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
- You have realistic expectations
- You are a nonsmoker
- You are bothered by the appearance of your implants
- You have experienced discomfort or pain
- You feel your breasts are too heavy
- You are starting to feel your breast scar tissue is getting harder or tighter
- Imaging suggests a leak or rupture of implants
- You have experienced a rupture or leak of implants
If you're thinking about having surgery, spend some time looking at before and after pictures and learning about the recovery process. Preparation ahead of time allows patients to have more realistic expectations and a faster recovery.
The Pros of Breast Implant Removal
Breast implants, depending on where they are placed, might make mammograms more challenging. The kind of breast implant, such as silicone or saline, will also influence your mammography findings. Breast implants can be inserted either above or below the pectoral muscle. If the implants are located above the pectoral muscle, the mammography will not be able to detect them.
Silicone and saline implants also prevent x-rays from viewing breast tissue, so you'll need to see an OB-GYN who has an imaging technology that can see past the implants. Because the implants have been removed, your mammography findings will be clean, which is crucial if your family has a history of breast cancer.
Pain Be Gone
Is one of the reasons you're thinking about breast implant removal pain? Then you are not alone here! It's no secret that breast augmentation might result in agony later on. Because of the weight your chest is holding, larger implants cause shoulder, back, and neck pain. Furthermore, the operation for your breast implants may have resulted in capsular contractures surrounding the implants. This causes discomfort and hard, deformed breasts by stiffening the scar tissue. You will feel a marked lack of discomfort once you have had the breast implant removal procedure and have healed.
Boosts Your Confidence
You don't have to regret obtaining breast implants and desire to get rid of them afterwards. We're sure obtaining those implants brightened your day and changed your perspective on your physique. But that glow has dimmed, and the implants no longer suit the vision you have in mind. Implant removal will restore your confidence in yourself and your body, just as it did when you first had them.
MRI’s for Ruptures
Breast implants, regardless of kind, have the potential to rupture. MRIs are an expense that accumulates over time, and they are also costly. In the United States, the average cost of an MRI is around 2,000$. You'll have to pay it out of pocket every two years. If a rupture is discovered, the expense rises even further. It's an expense you'll never have to consider again after you've had those implants removed!
No Fear of Ruptures
If you have breast implants, you are already aware that they can rupture. Intense physical pressure, faulty implants, aging implants that have deteriorated, and capsular contracture are the most prevalent causes of breast implant rupture. Capsular contracture develops when the scar tissue around the implant hardens. If the disease is severe enough, it has the potential to burst a weak implant. Breast implants are not permanent, and the shell will deteriorate over time. You no longer have to be concerned about ruptures and the associated consequences.
No More Replacements
Breast implants, as previously stated, may and will age with time. It is advised that you update your implants every ten years. However, there is a costly cost that is also not covered by your insurance. You won't have to worry about replacing your implants as they age if you get breast implant removal surgery.
Recovery is Short
If you do decide to have your implants removed permanently, you'll be relieved to know that the recuperation time is a measly 2 weeks. Of course, your doctor will inform you all the things you won't be able to do during this period, such as carrying heavy objects or driving. In the meanwhile, you may always tell your coworkers you're on vacation.
Finding garments that fit and looked attractive was definitely a struggle depending on the size of your breast implants. A nice garment in your size that didn't fit because your breasts were protruding doesn't make shopping easy or enjoyable. Then there's the agony of bra buying to think about.
Getting rid of those annoying implants can transform your shopping experience. Of course, it may take some getting used to, but you no longer have to buy expensively huge bras or go up two sizes to find a shirt that fits your chest as well.
What are the steps of a breast implant removal procedure?
Step 1 – Anesthesia
During the surgical process, you will be given medications to help you relax. There are two options: intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor and anesthesiologist will advise you on the best option for you.
Step 2 – The incision
An incision along the lower fold of your breast (the inframammary fold) or an incision around or below the areola is required for breast implant removal.
Step 3 – The operation
This will be determined by your specific operation and your surgeon. Breast capsules and implants are frequently removed using a mix of procedures.
Your breast implant is removed during this operation. The skin is then tightened and elevated to enhance the look of your breast. To tighten the loose skin, incisions (cuts) are done in the nipple area and the bottom portion of your breast, occasionally in the fold. A breast lift will add an additional hour to your breast implant removal operation.
Step 4 – Closing the incisions
Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips close the skin incisions.
The removal of your breast implants will result in an altered form of the breast profile, which may be flatter or droopier than before surgery, with irregularities and/or indentations. You may also note that depending on how much scar tissue was generated around your implants, the breast might take on a distinct shape with indentations.
What Should I Expect During My Breast Implant Removal Recovery?
Following your breast implant removal operation, you may be given gauze dressings or bandages, as well as drains. You may be fitted with a support bra or surgical garment, and a compression garment may be used to reduce swelling after surgery.
Following your treatment, you may require drains, which are short, thin tubes that are temporarily put under the skin within the pocket to drain any extra blood or serous fluid that may have accumulated.
You will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
- When to follow up with your plastic surgeon
Long-Term Recovery After Breast Implant Removal
It is common to have discomfort, tightness, and sensitivity for six weeks after your breast implant removal procedure. While you should be able to resume regular activities three or four days after the surgery, you should avoid the following activities for at least six weeks:
- Lifting over five to ten pounds;
- Exercising or working out (besides minimal walking);
- Sleeping on your stomach or side;
You'll have a six-week post-op appointment with your plastic surgeon, who will clear you for exercise and other activities. It's also important to wear a compression bra for two to three weeks after the procedure to allow tissues to shrink back and maintain the shape and lift of the breasts.
What results should I expect after Breast implant removal?
The ultimate outcome of breast implant removal surgery will be heavily influenced by the size of the implants being removed as well as the quantity and quality of your remaining breast tissue. Scar tissue that was around your implants will also play a significant impact in your eventual result. Swelling and postoperative changes will also require time before the final results are available. Healing can take up to a year before the final results become apparent.
Medical and surgical practice is not a precise science. Because the breast tissue is thin as a result of having implants for a lengthy period of time, the outcomes of this procedure are not always aesthetic. If the implants have been leaking, the outcomes may suffer as well. In some cases, a single surgical treatment may not be enough to provide ideal outcomes, and additional procedure may be required. A mastectomy may also be required if the silicone has spread throughout the breast and the free-floating silicone is no longer contained within the scar tissue.
If you have shortness of breath, chest aches, or odd heartbeats after returning home, get medical treatment immediately. If any of these issues occur, you may need to be hospitalized and get extra treatment.
Following your doctor's orders is critical to the success of your operation. During the healing process, it is critical that the surgical incisions be not exposed to undue force, abrasion, or motion. Your doctor will provide you specific advice for self-care.
How Much Does Breast Implant Removal Cost?
According to the most current American Society of Plastic Surgeons statistics, the average cost of breast implant removal operation is $3,049 USD. This average cost is only a portion of the entire cost; anesthesia, operating room facilities, and other related fees are not included. To calculate your total charge, please contact your cosmetic surgeon's office.
Many cosmetic surgeons provide patient financing options for breast implant removal when health insurance does not cover procedure, so be sure to inquire.
Breast implant removal costs may include:
- Surgeon's fee
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
- Post-surgery garments
- Medical tests and x-rays
When selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon for breast implant removal surgery, keep in mind that the surgeon's experience and your comfort level with the doctor are just as crucial as the overall cost of the procedure.
Risks of Breast Implant Removal
Breast implant removal has advantages and disadvantages, one of which is sagging. Breast implants offer your chest a perkier and fuller appearance. Removing the implants will restore your breasts to their former shape, but gravity will now have complete control. Your breasts will continue to sag as before. However, they may sag even more than previously.
Loose skin is related to breast sagging and occurs for similar reasons. The size of your implants and the amount of time you have them, like sagging, will lead to loose skin. Another issue is your skin's suppleness. If there is excessive sagging or loose skin, your doctor may prescribe a breast lift if one has not already been performed.
This does not imply that you will require a mastectomy or that the procedure will be a mastectomy. When removing your implant due to a rupture, your surgeon may need to remove so much breast tissue that you look to have had a mastectomy. Remember how implant ruptures are a constant concern when it comes to implants? There will be gel leaking into the breast tissue if a gel implant ruptures. The more the leaking, the more tissue your surgeon will have to remove along with the burst implants. If you lose too much breast tissue, your breasts will resemble those of people who have undergone a mastectomy or a partial mastectomy.
Breast implant removal is a big procedure, and there is always the danger of infection. Infection will most likely arise around the incision site after surgery or in the cavity where the implant was placed. Infections will slow recovery, and depending on the severity of the infection, drain tubes or antibiotics may be required.
While treatments are being developed to reduce scarring as much as possible, scarring at the incision site will always exist. Depending on how your body recovers, you may experience even more scarring than previously. The incision sites from your original breast augmentation surgery will always be used for the breast implant removal operation. The scar, however, will be noticeable and will take time to fade.
Loss of Feeling in the Nipples
The majority of breast augmentation operations will employ one of two incision sites:
- Immediately beneath the breast (an inframammary incision) or
- Around the bottom of the areola (a periareolar incision).
If your first breast augmentation surgery involved a periareolar incision, you may have already experienced nipple loss. The removal operation, which frequently uses the original incision, might contribute to or create feeling loss if you didn't have it previously.
The lack of sensation occurs when the nerves that provide signals to your nipple are mistakenly severed during surgery. The nerves are so little that they are difficult to see. If you still have feeling in your breasts and don't want to risk losing it, breast implant removal surgery may not be for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Implant Removal
1. Is a breast lift necessary after implant removal?
Breast lifts or mastopexies are not required for all ladies who have had their breast implants removed. The need for breast lift surgery after breast implant removal is determined by the size of the implant and the elasticity of your skin. When bigger implants, which cause substantial skin stretching, are removed, the skin may not retract properly.
2. Can breast tissue grow back after implant removal?
Breast volume will return around 3 weeks following the explant procedure. However, the ultimate results may take up to a year to become noticeable. Breasts may not restore their pre-augmentation look, especially if the implants remained inside for an extended length of time and the breast tissue is thin. Filling out feeling and softening of the breasts (sometimes known as "fluffing") may occur 6-9 months following cosmetic surgery.
Breast implant removal surgery is a cosmetic technique that reverses the augmentation of the breasts. It simply removes or changes the form and size of the breast implants. Remember that this is your body before making any difficult decisions concerning breast implant removal. Unless you are certain that this is something you desire for yourself, you should take your time. Make sure you're ready to let go of your implants because how you'll feel afterwards is the most important factor in your decision.
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Anas Walid Shehada