- 1 Breast Implant Removal (Breast Explant Surgery)
- 2 What Happens During Breast Implant Removal?
- 3 What Happens Immediately After Surgery?
- 4 Who is an Ideal Candidate for Breast Implant Removal?
- 5 How Long is Recovery From Breast Implant Removal?
- 6 Schedule Your Consultation for Breast Implant Removal Surgery
Breast Implant Removal (Breast Explant Surgery)
Breast implant removal is surgery to remove silicone or saline breast implants. Typically, breast implants need to be exchanged or removed after about 10 years, although this amount of time can vary significantly. You may have breast explant surgery because you no longer want implants, you have complications with your implants, or you want to revise your breast implants for a different size.
Deciding to have breast implants removed is a personal decision that you should make with the help of your doctor. Dr. Darren Smith will help you decide based on your individual needs and body goals.
What Happens During Breast Implant Removal?
Breast implant removal surgery is performed under general anesthesia, meaning you will be asleep throughout the surgery.
A thin incision is generally made either along the inframammary fold (under the breast) or beneath the areola. Dr. Smith often uses the original incision from your breast augmentation procedure to minimize scarring. Dr. Smith will remove your breast implants from the breast capsule (as well as the capsule itself in some cases) and also remove scar tissue or silicone from implant leaks if necessary.
Patients undergoing breast explant surgery have a few options depending on how you want your breasts to look after surgery. Some patients opt for replacement of their breast implants. New implants can be the same size as your current implants, or you can go bigger or smaller. You may also no longer want implants at all. Once your breast implants are removed, and Dr. Smith performs another breast augmentation with new implants (if applicable), your incisions are closed and covered as needed.
What Happens Immediately After Surgery?
Dr. Smith performs breast implant removal surgery in our state-of-the-art medical facility in NYC. Once your surgery is complete, you’ll spend a little time in the recovery room so the doctor and medical staff can monitor you. You will be given appropriate support garments following your procedure.
Once you’re approved for discharge, the doctor will go over aftercare instructions and prescribe pain medications as needed. Because you’ll be coming out of anesthesia and will be on pain medication, someone must drive you home after your surgery. We do not let patients drive themselves home following surgery. Instead, we recommend having a trusted friend or family member take you home or to your local hotel and stay with you for at least 24 hours post-op.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Breast Implant Removal?
Silicon and saline breast implants do not generally last a lifetime. We find that breast implant removal (with or without replacement) is generally required after approximately 10 years due to rupture, capsular contracture, or other issues. Other candidates for breast explant surgery are patients whose breast shape has changed.
If the look and shape of your breasts change due to age, pregnancy, weight fluctuation, or breastfeeding, you may be an ideal candidate.
In some cases, breast explant surgery or replacement is medically necessary. Some patients form scar tissue that hardens around the implants, called capsular contracture. In this case, the breasts will be painful, uncomfortable, and may look different than they once did.
Some other common reasons for breast implant removal include:
- Calcium buildup around the breast implant
- Implant leaking or breakage
- The implant moved or shifted
- Some patients may be diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a rare cancer that occurs in scar tissue around an implant
How Long is Recovery From Breast Implant Removal?
Mild discomfort and swelling are expected after breast explant surgery. We instruct our patients to avoid strenuous movements for two weeks after the procedure. You will need to limit activities like exercise and heavy lifting during your recovery time. If you are exchanging your implants for a significantly larger size, or if you are having a breast lift (mastopexy) along with your breast implant removal procedure, you may experience more soreness.
If you do not have an additional procedure such as breast augmentation or mastopexy at the time of your explantation, the discomfort will be less after breast implant removal.
Regardless, most patients can resume normal activities of daily living shortly after the procedure. Since dissection of a new pocket is generally not necessary at the time of breast implant removal and replacement (the original pocket is usually used), explantation tended to be even less uncomfortable than the original procedure.
Schedule Your Consultation for Breast Implant Removal Surgery
If you want to learn more about breast explant surgery and get personalized advice, schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Darren Smith, today. Call our office at (212-633-0627) or fill out our contact form today to book your initial consultation.