Breast augmentation surgery is one of the most common plastic surgeries undertaken each year. This can either be through a breast lift or breast implants. Whether it’s to feel self-confident after a mastectomy or simply to enhance their appearance. However, many women eventually decide they want to have their implants removed for one reason or another.
If this is something you’re considering, here is what you need to know about the process.
What Is Breast Implant Removal Surgery?
Breast implant removal or explant surgery is a surgical procedure to remove or replace silicone or saline breast implants and to close the surgical pocket so that they can heal correctly. There are a number of reasons that may require you to undergo this surgery, it can be changing priorities in life, dissatisfaction with your breast implants, or an underlying medical issue.
It’s important to note that having your breast implants removed is an understandable desire that is relatively common and you have nothing to worry about.
Breast implant removal and breast reconstruction surgery can be done independently of one another, but in some cases, the best option for a woman is to have both procedures. But sometimes, pre-existing medical conditions mean that a woman will need to have her implants and breasts reconstructed after she has had them removed or replaced.
This is the case for women who develop an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, or scleroderma, after getting breast implants. These diseases can cause abnormalities of the connective tissue in the body, including around implants. The most common symptom with implant-related autoimmune diseases is capsular contracture or hardening around the implants. This can feel like a painless tightness of the breast and can interfere with normal activities such as exercise. It can make it difficult for women to lift their arms over their heads and can make it difficult to sleep on their stomachs.
In some cases, the only option is to remove the implants. In other cases, a woman will need a mastectomy as well as breast reconstruction surgery if her breasts have been severely damaged from implant-related autoimmune disease. Sometimes women with autoimmune diseases who still have implants may choose to have reconstruction surgery on one or both breasts after the implants are removed.
When done by a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon – there are rarely any issues and you may proceed with either breast reconstruction or additional breast augmentation surgery that will truly suit your needs and desires.
What To Expect During Breast Implant Removal Surgery?
Breast implant removal surgery can be performed either under general or local anesthesia. Your surgeon will make an incision around the edge of the existing scar where your breast implant is placed. After that, they will remove the entire implant together with its surrounding capsule.
Your doctor will then inspect the capsule to see if there are any signs of capsular contracture or other abnormalities. If everything looks fine, the incision will be closed with sutures. To speed up your recovery process, the stitches will be placed in a way that does not restrict your range of motion or support any pressure on the breast tissue.
Some doctors prefer to place dissolvable stitches inside the breast pocket, so there is no need for removing them later.
If you have silicone implants, your doctor may decide to leave the capsule in place during explantation surgery because it can hold the implant securely in place and prevent it from migrating throughout your body. If something goes wrong during the surgery, these capsules can be removed later on. The removal surgery is quite simple compared to explantation and recovery time is much shorter.
On the other hand, if your implant ruptured or you have had previous surgeries, your doctor may remove it at the same time as the explantation surgery because it no longer serves any useful purpose.
How Long Will It Take To Recover From Breast Implant Removal Surgery?
The recovery process after explantation surgery is rather similar to the recovery process after a breast augmentation procedure. You will have to wear a bandage or surgical bra for some time. Your doctor might also recommend that you do not perform any strenuous activities for about four weeks after the surgery.
What Are The Risks And Potential Complications Associated With Breast Implant Removal Surgery?
As with any medical procedure – there are some risks involved with your breast implant removal surgery. Some common complications associated with the procedure may include:
- Changes in nipple sensation
- The appearance of small lumps behind your nipples due to silicone being released during surgery
- Minor leaks or ruptures in your implant due to surgery
- Mild pain, swelling, scarring, or bruising in the area where your breast implants were removed
How Much Does Breast Implant Removal Cost?
Breast implant removal costs about $3,000 per breast. Breast implant removal is typically covered by health insurance providers. The cost of breast implant removal will depend on factors such as the extent of the procedure, whether additional surgeries are required to remove excess skin or scar tissue, and whether implants were placed using an incision beneath the breast or vertically in the underarm area.
Tips For Preparing For Breast Implant Removal Surgery
It’s important for you to talk to your surgeon about removing the implants at the time of surgery. This way, your medical team will be able to better plan ahead and make sure they have everything on hand that they need for a smooth procedure.
Another tip is to do what you can to prepare for pain after surgery. Establishing which medication is right for you beforehand will ensure that you can relax and keep your pain in check.
You may also want to think about getting a prescription for Xanax, which is a drug that will help you feel more calm and relaxed before surgery.
You can also prep by incorporating a healthy diet. We’ve prepared a list here of what foods you can take that will improve your overall well-being in preparation for the surgery.
Breast Implant Removal And Reconstruction With Dr. Nikolov
It’s important for women to be informed about all their options so they can make the best decision. Breast implant removal surgery is a procedure that removes breast implants and offers many benefits including improved quality of life, increased mobility, decreased risk of infection or rejection, and reduced pain. The desire to remove breast implants is normal and relatively common.
We recommend discussing your concerns with our team at the first consultation and we will walk you through what to expect during this process from start to finish.