Breast implant removal has become a very common surgical procedure for women in recent times. Many patients present with health concerns relating to breast implants and associated disease, or may have suffered complications after having their implants placed many years ago. For many women, their greatest concern is their post-operative appearance and breast aesthetic. The surgeons at The Lotus Institute see many women with these concerns each week.
Breast Implant Removal
This procedure is essentially the opposite of breast augmentation, and involves removing breast implants or revising their shape and size. Breast implants are not designed as ‘lifetime’ devices – the vast majority of women that undergo breast augmentation will need revisionary surgery at some point, either to remove or replace the implants, or to re-position the breast back over the front of the implant.
Breast implants may need removal for a variety of reasons. They may rupture or leak silicone, cause an aggressive inflammatory response and tissue contraction, or become infected or colonised with bacteria. They may also move over time from their original placement, or patients may just decide that they don’t want them anymore for either lifestyle considerations or health concerns.
Breast Implant Removal Techniques
Breast implants can be removed either with or without a lift. In both procedures, the implant and its surrounding capsule (the scar tissue formed around the implant) is removed through your existing incision from your initial augmentation procedure. This is called an explant and Capsulectomy. The Capsulectomy can be performed as an en-bloc (which means all-together) procedure, where the entire capsule is removed as a single piece with the implant contained inside it. This may be preferred for implants that have ruptured or have other issues. Patients with smaller implants, more breast tissue, and no breast ptosis (or drooping) may be able to undergo explant and Capsulectomy without breast lift and still have a favourable cosmetic outcome.
For patients that have large implants, a small amount off their own breast tissue, or a degree of breast ptosis, your surgeon may advise undergoing a breast lift (or mastopexy) at the same time as your explant procedure. This allows the surgeon to reposition the nipple back onto the middle of the remaining breast and remove any of the now excess skin after the implant has been removed. It is designed as a single procedure to remove an unwanted or symptomatic pair of breast implants and maintain a youthful and pleasing breast aesthetic.
Breast Implant Removal Recovery Time
Recovery from breast implant removal surgery varies somewhat between patients. Typically, patients without a lift report a similar timeframe of recovery to that from when they had their initial breast augmentation surgery. Pain medication is usually not required by the end of the first week. Patients that also have a lift are usually back at work, driving a car, and performing their usual daily activities at 2 weeks. It is advised to avoid exercise for 6 weeks post-operatively.
All scars take 12 months to become completely mature, and breast surgery scars are no different. Surgical scars are taped for a period of 6 weeks to avoid stretch, and then massaged for 6-12 weeks afterwards on the advice of your surgeon. All patients wear a post-op compression bra for the first 6 weeks post-operatively, and can go back to wearing normal bras after then.
Breast reduction and Breast implant removal is now common, with many women having this procedure for various reasons. Our Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dr Widdowson is experienced and knowledgable in this area, having performed hundreds of these procedures. If you are considering explant surgery, book in for a consultation at The Lotus Institute.