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Breast Implant Removal

Pregnancy, weight loss, hormones, and age can cause a woman’s body to undergo significant changes. These same changes may cause women with breast implants to feel like their breasts no longer accentuate their figure. Exchange or complete removal of breast implants is a viable solution for women who are no longer satisfied with their breast augmentation. This surgery is also performed and sometimes mandatory when an implant ruptures or causes related health concerns. 

What is Breast Implant Removal?

Patients who have previously undergone breast augmentation may choose to undergo removal to:

  • Exchange silicone implants for saline implants or vice versa
  • Increase or decrease the size of their implants
  • Revert back to their natural breasts

Over time, there are various reasons that a woman may opt to remove or exchange her breast implants. Medical concerns, such as infection, trauma, or surgical complications, are one reason some women must undergo the procedure.

Benefits of Breast Implant Removal

Cosmetic dissatisfaction is always a possible outcome with breast augmentation, but some patients may become increasingly unhappy with their implants over time. Plastic surgeons advise patients that even under the most favorable circumstances, a woman may become unhappy with her implants. These women have the option to remove their implants, return to their original breast shape, or exchange implants to suit their desired expectations.

What Happens During Breast Implant Removal?

During the removal procedure,  the implants are extracted from the breast pocket through the same incision made during the breast augmentation surgery. Due to being in place for a number of years, breast implants can alter the internal structure of the breast tissue resulting in sagging and excess skin. If these issues occur once the implants are removed, a breast lift procedure can re-implement any changes.

A custom approach is taken with revision surgery and corrective breast augmentation because each breast removal or exchange is unique. Patients often seek revision surgery to correct capsular contracture, ruptured implants, implant migration, and other problems that occur with breast implants.

Recovery Following Breast Implant Removal

Following breast implant removal, patients should expect a recovery process that was similar to their augmentation. Patients typically return to work within a week and resume more strenuous activities after about three weeks. Patients who have their implants repositioned under the pectoral muscle or undergo more complex revision surgeries may require a longer recovery period.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a good candidate?

The ideal candidate for breast implant removal may suffer from any combination of the following issues:

  • Implants have displaced below the breast fold or “bottom out”
  • Implants have shifted over
  • Malposition or displacement of the nipple
  • Implants slid closer to each other and form a “uni-boob” or Symmastia
  • Stretching in the lower portion of the breast
  • Implants ruptured or leaked
  • Capsule contracture caused the implant to harden
  • Infection at the implant site
  • Severe sagging or drooping of the breasts
  • Rippling or wrinkling of the breasts

What problems can removal address?

Breast implant removal and other types of breast revision procedures can correct a variety of implant-related concerns including capsular contracture, implant rupture, and visible rippling.

What is capsular contracture?

Capsular contracture is one of the most common breast augmentation complications. The condition occurs when the capsule around the implant thickens and tightens, making the space around the implant smaller. This results in the implant becoming distorted or hardened. The cause of capsular contracture varies amongst patients, but inflammation of the breast tissue around the implant is the leading factor.

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