Just as there are a wide range of reasons why women opt for breast augmentation, there are various reasons for the desire to remove breast implants. This procedure is also called breast explantation, or breast explant surgery.
Occasionally, women opt to have their breast implants removed because, with age, their body and lifestyle have changed. A woman might desire smaller or more modest breasts. Other reasons include:
- Breast sagging
- Breasts feeling too heavy
- A significant change in weight
- Breast discomfort
- Deflation or rupture
- Capsular contracture
- Based on the advice of their primary care doctor due to illness
What will my breasts look like after breast implant removal?
Naturally, many women are concerned about what their breasts will look like once the implants are removed. When breast implants are removed, a considerable amount of breast volume will be lost, but the breast skin will still remain. This typically results in deflated-appearing or saggy breasts.
Usually, a secondary procedure is required to address the remaining loose excess skin. The best and most popular procedure is a breast lift. This is a very common procedure that will lift and also shape the breast by removing the excess skin. Most women find the breast lift procedure to be a very satisfying option to achieve their best look after implants are removed.
In addition, breasts can be naturally augmented with breast fat transfer. With this technique, fat is suctioned from other areas of your body, purified and then injected into the breasts.
Am I a candidate for breast implant removal?
If you are healthy for surgery and have reasonable expectations, you may elect to have your breast implants removed. Dr. Farris will help guide you with the treatment options and will give you an idea of what to expect after surgery.
How is breast implant removal performed?
This procedure involves removing the breast implants through the old breast scars. Whenever a foreign object, such as a breast implant, is placed within the body, a scar forms around the object. This is a normal process, and the scar is called a capsule in this case. Infrequently, the breast implant capsule can become hard and thick over time (capsular contracture) and typically, a portion or the entire capsule is removed during breast implant removal.
Removal of the breast capsule is called capsulectomy. Depending on each clinical scenario, this can be either:
- A total or en-bloc capsulectomy, where the entire capsular tissue is removed
- A partial capsulectomy, where only a portion of the capsule is excised
What happens after breast implant removal?
Breast implant removal (with or without a breast lift) is an outpatient surgical procedure where you are able to go home the same day to relax and recover at home. Most patients are able to resume basic activity and be off prescription pain medication after the first few days. However, strenuous activity or exercise is to be avoided for 3-4 weeks.
Generally, expect to have some swelling for a few weeks. A surgical bra or sports bra is worn for about one month. Stitches are placed under the skin during surgery so there are no stitches to remove in the office. You may use vitamin E cream and scar products beginning 3 weeks after surgery to optimize healing of your scars. Dr. Farris and his staff at Farris Plastic Surgery will also provide specific instructions regarding your surgery.
How long does it take to remove breast implants?
Unless you are having other procedures performed along with your breast implant removal, the surgery is relatively quick, lasting about an hour. If you are also receiving a breast lift or another procedure after having your breast implants removed, the surgery could take upwards of three hours.
How can I prepare for my breast implant removal surgery?
There are a few ways you can prepare for your breast implant removal procedure to ensure a smooth recovery. Before your procedure, make sure you:
- Stop using NSAIDs, blood thinners, and herbal remedies. It is best to stop taking these medications and supplements at least two weeks before your surgery. This will help reduce the risk of bleeding problems.
- Find some loose-fitting clothing. Dr. Farris recommends wearing a zip-up hoodie or buttoned shirt on the day of your surgery and during recovery. Any clothing that you can put on or take off without lifting your hands over your head is preferable.
- Ask someone to drive you home after your surgery. While a breast implant removal is an outpatient procedure, it requires anesthesia. This means you will be too groggy to drive after the surgery.
- Make some ready-to-eat meals. Recovery will be easier if you don’t have to get up and cook every single meal. Try preparing some nutritious meals ahead of time that you can easily microwave when needed.
- Set up a comfortable area to rest. During the first week of recovery, you will need a place to rest most of the day. Make sure that this area has all of your essentials within reach, such as medications, water, snacks, extra pillows, entertainment, and your phone.
These are just a few ways you can prepare for your surgery to make recovery a little easier. Before your procedure, Dr. Farris will give you detailed pre and post-operative instructions based on your unique situation.
What are the risks associated with breast implant removal?
Like any surgical procedure, breast implant removal carries some risks. This can include:
- Breast asymmetry
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Fat necrosis
- Changes in nipple sensation
- Skin discoloration
Prior to your surgery, Dr. Farris will discuss all of the risks associated with the procedure and address any questions you may have. He will also thoroughly examine your medical history for any conditions that would pose an added risk.
Is a breast lift necessary after removing breast implants?
This depends on the amount of excess skin you have after the breast implant removal. For example, if your breasts appear saggy or deflated after implant removal, you may want to have a breast lift to remove the excess skin and restore the perkiness of your breasts. However, this might not be necessary in those with smaller implants.
Can I decide to get breast implants again after having them removed?
If you had your breast implants removed for aesthetic reasons, you may be able to get them again. However, if you are having your breast implants removed due to illness, make sure to consult your doctor before undergoing another breast augmentation.
Another option to consider is a breast implant revision. With this procedure, Dr. Farris can change out your implants or alter their position.