When is Breast Implant Removal necessary?


Breast implant removal surgery is the process of removing the implants placed during the breast augmentation or breast reconstruction procedure. Many reasons may demand the surgeon to remove the implants:
• The patient is not happy with the implants.
• The implants may sometimes shift in position or sag due to weight fluctuations or during pregnancy.
• A hard capsule may start developing around the implants, which could make the implants harder and lumpy.
• The implants may rupture, leak or get damaged due to some injuries.
• The patient may want to go back to their original size and shape of the breasts.
• Breast implants, once placed, are not permanent and therefore, the patient may want to replace the old implants with the new ones.

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During all of the above situations, you will require to undergo the surgery for breast implant removal. In this procedure, the surgeon will remove the implants along with scoring or removing the scar tissue that may have formed around it.


How Can You Prepare for Breast Implant Removal?

For your breast implant removal surgery, it is essential to consult an experienced plastic surgeon.
• The surgeon will scan the targeted area through mammography, etc. and perform other laboratory tests to find out the condition of the implants.
• He will also suggest some modifications to your current medications and ask you to stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs.
• If you are a smoker, then you should stop smoking for at least six weeks before the surgery.
Before you leave for the procedure, make sure to prepare your home with the required items you may need after the breast implant removal.

What Can You Expect During the Surgery?

Based on the reason why you opted for the surgery in the first place, the surgeon will discuss the details about the procedure before you enter the operation room. To replace the breast implants is a straightforward process.
Some would want to change the size of the breast implants. For this kind of surgery, the surgeon may sometimes, puncture the breast implant to see the actual size of the breasts, which will help in choosing a proper-sized implant. Others may prefer to remove the implants and go for a breast lift procedure.

At the start of the surgery, the surgeon administers general or local anesthesia based on the length of the procedure. If you are just removing the implants, then local anesthesia with or without sedation is enough; if the procedure involves scar tissue removal and implant replacement, then the surgeon may prefer general anesthesia.
For all kind of breast implant removal surgeries, the surgeon makes an incision at the same place where the previous incision was made to place the implant. He then manipulates the implants to make them extrude through the incision which is smaller than size of the implant.
Removal of Scar Tissue
Sometimes, the scar tissue or capsule developing around the implants is soft and does not need removal. In some cases, this scar tissue forms a hardened layer outside the implants, which may cause pain and discomfort. To remedy this situation, it is best to remove the scar tissue along with the implants.
Further, if you are removing the implants and going back to your original breast size, the surgeon can also perform the breast lift procedure along with the process of implant removal to get the appearance of fuller and rounder breasts. Or else the implant removal will give a sagginess to the breasts due to loose hanging skin and breast tissue.

What Is the Recovery Process Like?

You would not have to spend weeks for recovery like the breast augmentation procedure. Breast implant removal has a shorter recovery period of about two weeks after which, you can return to your normal life with a few precautions.
• You should wear the special surgical bra for the next two months to better contour the treated areas.
• Make sure to take the medications as prescribed by the surgeon and apply ointments as necessary.
• Do not engage in any rigorous exercises for the first six weeks.
• It is best not to go for swimming till your breasts have regained their natural shape and texture.

The appearance of Breasts After Implant Removal

For some, the breasts may look wrinkly after the removal of the implants. This is because of the expansion of the breast skin to accommodate the implants. After the removal of the breast implants, it may take a while for the skin to go back to its natural texture. In those above 35 years of age since skin has lost elasticity, they may have to get nipped through mastopexy.
If you have not replaced the implants or opted for breast lift procedures, chances for breasts sagging or drooping become higher, depending on various factors like weight gain or loss, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Hence, breast implant removal is necessary, whether you have to undergo breast augmentation or reduction.
Unlike many other plastic surgeries, breast implants removal process is usually a single time procedure, and is permanent. No follow up correction is usually needed. If you still feel pain or swelling even after five or six months after breast implant removal, it is wise to visit the surgeon.

Dr. Tejinder Bhatti, Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Kulwant S Bhangoo, Plastic Surgeon

The information is being provided by and have no intention to replace the medical advice of your doctor. Please consult your doctor directly for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed by Dr. Tejinder Bhatti, Plastic Surgeon on: 20-JUN-2020