COSMETIC TOWN JOURNAL



Thinking About Breast Implant Removal? What To Expect Before and After

Posted November 10, 2021
What to expect from breast implant removal

Although breast implants don’t have an expiration date and can remain inside the body for up to 20 years, some doctors recommend having them replaced or removed after a decade from when the procedure took place. 

Replacing breast implants is a common procedure, and most women have them reevaluated for replacement, but many are starting to reconsider having them stay inside altogether. 

There has been a rise in health concerns with breast implant complications and a shift of body image perspective of the size of breasts. There has even been an 8% increase in breast implant removals and a drop in breast augmentation procedures from 2019 vs. 2020.

So why the shift to remove breast implants? And what should you expect from a breast implant removal procedure, before and after? 

We share why women have chosen to have their implants removed, the possible causes leading to illness, and what to expect with a breast implant removal. 

So what is a breast implant removal procedure called? 

Explant Surgery (a.k.a Breast Implant Removal) 

Removing your breast implants is called an explant surgery, and there are different techniques for removing the implants. The first technique, called “en bloc” capsulectomy, removes the entire implant and scar tissue all at once. The second technique is called total capsulectomy, removing the implant and scar tissue in a two-step process within the same surgery- allowing the surgeon to examine the area at a deeper surface level. 

A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon will advise you on which technique would be best depending on your health goals, anatomy, and breast implant condition. 

What to Expect From a Breast Implant Removal? 

A breast implant removal is a surgical procedure that takes place at a medical hospital or surgery center. The surgeon who performed your breast implant augmentation does not have to be the same surgeon who performs the explant surgery. 

Here are the steps involved in a breast implant removal surgery:

  • Anesthesia is administered to the patient.
  • An incision is made either along the inframammary fold (under the breast) or around the areola. To minimize scarring, your surgeon may choose to make the incision at the original area of your augmentation procedure.
  • The breast implants are removed from the breast capsule, which is also called the “pocket.” Fibrous scar tissue forms around the implant over time, and sometimes the entire capsule needs to be removed, depending on the implant’s condition and the scar tissue around it.
  • The incisions are closed. 
  • After the patient recovers from the anesthesia, they are sent home with compression garments. 

Looking for a board-certified cosmetic surgeon to help you decide if removing your breast implant is needed? Check out our Find a Doctor navigation tool to find a cosmetic doctor near you.

Reasons for Breast Implant Removal 

Reasons for breast implant removalDeciding to remove your breast implants is a personal and sometimes difficult decision. You may be experiencing symptoms related to implant complications or may have had a change of perspective of your body image and shape. The reasons are wide range, but here are the most common for a breast implant removal: 

  • Breast shape changes and implants have shifted
  • Breast hardening due to scar tissue surrounding the implant
  • Implant(s) rupture or leakage
  • Pain associated with implants
  • Your body’s autoimmune response to the implants

Compromised autoimmune symptoms can include cognitive dysfunction (brain fog or loss of concentration), low energy, chronic headaches, digestive issues, and hair loss. These autoimmune symptoms have been linked to breast implant illness (a.k.a BII).

Implant Removal and Breast Implant Illness 

Recently, there have been reports and stories shared online by celebrities and influencers who have decided to remove their breast implants due to health-related issues. The reports have indicated that women were suffering from compromised autoimmune symptoms that some experts call breast implant illness

One of the most famously reported cases was from former Playboy model Crystal Hefner, wife of the late-Hugh Hefner. She shared her decision on social media to remove her breast implants due to complications with her autoimmune system and her battle with Lyme disease. 

After removing her implants, she reported saying her body pains reduced and her breathing improved. 

If you are concerned that you may have symptoms related to breast implant illness, check with your doctor or ask a question to one of our board-certified plastic surgeons.

What to Expect After a Breast Implant Removal Procedure 

After a breast implant removal procedure, it could take up to 10 days to recover from the surgery, and you should expect soreness and pain for the first few days. At the six-week mark, you will have a check-up and consultation with your surgeon. At that point, they can clear you for exercise and other activities.

What Results Can You Expect After Removing Implants? 

The final results for a person who has gone through a breast removal procedure will vary. The appearance of your breast post-surgery will depend on the size of your breast before the enhancement, the size of the implant, and if you experienced any changes to your upper body before the breast augmentation. Here are some typical results post-removal.

After breast implant removal:

  • Asymmetry
  • Loose skin
  • Scarring Numbness 
  • Changes to nipple shape

What are the Benefits of Removing Breast Implants? 

Since removing breast implants is a personal decision, you may feel a sense of accomplishment or relief for carrying out an extensive process and procedure once they are removed. There are medical benefits from removing breast implants. 

  • Mamograms are no longer impacted.
  • Elimination of pain or stiffness. 
  • Improvement with overall health. 
  • Zero risk of ruptures. 

Whatever has led you to consider removing your breast implants, it is always best to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss in full detail what to expect for your body and well-being with a breast implant removal procedure. 

- VM

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