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Breast Implant Removal: What Women Need to Know

While it may seem unconventional or backwards to what many people are doing, breast implant removal is actually more popular than you may think.  In fact, as much as breast augmentation and enlargement is increasing, so too is breast implant removal.

In some instances, it is purely a case where a woman changes her mind and decides she is no longer interested in having larger breasts, especially if it is at the cost of having a foreign object inside of her.  In other cases, it is because of this foreign object itself, whereby there is an implant malfunction. For example, some patients experience implant deflation, others report implant rupturing or wrinkling, and others still have to have the implants removed due to medical complications such as anaplastic large cell lymphoma or infection.

For some women, the reason for removal is because they are no longer satisfied with the look and feel of their implants.  With age, weight fluctuations, changing skin elasticity and pregnancy, the breasts can change as well, and the look may no longer be satisfactory.  

Finally, there is an increasing number of patients who are electing to have the procedure done because having the implants is no longer in line with their beliefs and values, such that they are seeking to live a more natural, chemical free life.  Having the breast implants in their body, does not conform with the trend towards minimizing exposure to toxins and chemicals, and using only natural products and treatments.

How the Procedure Works

Breast implant removal surgery is generally an out of pocket cost which varies widely by patient. The procedure takes one to three hours, depending on the extent of the surgery and the option the patient has chosen.

The simplest, quickest option is implant removal only, whereby the surgeon simply makes an incision, removes the implant and closes the breast tissue. In some cases, this option also requires the removal of the hardened capsules, especially if there has been capsular contracture occur.

Other patients elect to have implant removal and a breast lift, as sometimes the breast may look saggy or loose after having the implant taken out.  In this case, the surgeon removes the implants, and then performs the breast lift during the same procedure, before closing up the incision site.

Important Considerations for Explant Surgery

Breast implant removal, formally known as explant surgery, is not always black and white however. It is becoming increasingly more popular, and a more and more accessible option for patients who choose to take this route, but it is important for you to understand the risks, as well as several other important deciding factors when it comes to choosing whether or not to have your breast implants removed.

Firstly, know that initially the breasts will appear flatter, deflated and with a slightly caved in appearance.  This will improve over time, but some patients opt to have a breast lift if the breasts remain too loose after surgery.

The surgery is typically successful, but can lead to infection and bleeding, and may not be complete the first time if the individual was suffering from capsular contracture. The capsule is a membrane that the body forms around the implant, because it is a foreign object.  This capsule can thicken or constrict over time, leading to capsular contracture and often requiring implant removal. If the whole capsule isn’t removed during surgery, an additional procedure may be necessary.

Finally, scarring is usually minimal, but can occur, and the scar may change over the course of the year after the procedure.  And don’t worry, yes, if you change your mind, you can always have implants put in again.

If you think you would like to have your implants removed, click below to contact us and learn more!