Breast Implant Removal

Dr. Movassaghi’s goal with breast implant removal, also known as breast implant explantation, is to provide patients with both the look they want and the peace of mind they need. While breast implant removal may sound simple, it is a nuanced procedure with many options that require great skill on the part of your surgeon. Dr. Movassaghi’s decades of experience in breast surgery mean he has the experience needed to restore your breasts to a more natural shape.

Breast implant removal is most often pursued by patients with one or more of the following feelings or conditions:

  • Your lifestyle has changed: you no longer wish to have breast implants for personal reasons
  • Implant leakage, rupture, and other implant-related concerns: while implants can be replaced, if you do not wish to change your implants, they can be removed
  • Health or safety concerns: patients with a breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) diagnosis or concerns about breast implant illness (BII) or BIA-ALCL

Should I have my breast implants removed?

This is a very personal question, and—short of a BIA-ALCL diagnosis, in which the answer is a definitive “YES”—the answer varies from patient to patient. What we can do is describe patients who have been very happy with their decision to have their implants removed, and the perspective of women who considered removal but in the end decided to keep their implants.

If lifestyle changes are your motivation for considering removal:

Many women have been very happy with the decision to remove their implants for lifestyle reasons alone. They cite feeling more natural, say it is easier to exercise without special bras, and describe a “weight literally being taken off their chest” after surgery.

The only reason women are usually ever dissatisfied with breast implant removal for lifestyle reasons is an unrealistic expectation for their breast appearance post removal. As such, it is key to go into surgery with the awareness that your breast skin may feel loose after implant removal, and your breasts won’t return to their original pre-implant look (your breast implants will have stretched the skin to some degree). You may consider having a breast lift to compensate for these effects.

If breast implant issues such as a rupture are motivating you to seek removal:

For some women, experiencing an issue with their implants leads them to believe it will be simplest to have them removed. While breast implant replacement is quite common for both aesthetic and functional reasons, if you prefer to avoid the possibility of any future implant-related surgery, removing your implants when an issue arises can be the most appropriate choice. Women who are ambivalent about continuing to have implants (or ready to have a more natural look) after a rupture or leak is detected are typically quite satisfied with their decision to have their implants removed.

On the other hand, if you love your shape with implants, ask about breast implant replacement options. It is likely you can have your old implants removed and have new implants placed in a single surgical procedure. Today’s breast implants are less prone to rupture than past generations of implants—plus profile and fill options abound, allowing you to get a very natural look and feel.

If BIA-ALCL concerns are your motivation for considering removal:

If you have textured breast implants, you may be worried about their association with BIA-ALCL, particularly given Allergan’s recall of their BIOCELL textured implants. However, the Allergan recall is not intended to require women to remove their implants but rather stops the placement of additional implants of this type.

This is because BIA-ALCL is a very rare condition, is initially isolated to the breasts, and is proven to be curable when promptly treated. It is so rare that the risks of removal surgery can exceed your risk of developing BIA-ALCL. As such, if you love your look with implants, we suggest keeping them—and promptly making an appointment with your doctor should you observe any breast swelling or other changes.

If breast implant illness (BII) concerns are your motivation for considering removal:

If you are worried about breast implant illness or have observed inflammatory symptoms you believe may be connected to your implants, you’re likely experiencing complex and conflicted feelings about breast implant removal. This is in part because symptoms are varied, and there is no current way to test definitively for BII.

If you have symptoms that could be BII:

  1. Seek testing to rule out other potential causes. It’s important to know if something else is happening in your body and to receive the right treatment. Unnecessary implant removal surgery could delay or hamper other treatments. If no other cause is found…
  2. Consider implant removal. While implant removal may not “cure” your symptoms if you have additional systemic health issues, it can put your mind more at ease.

If you do not have symptoms of BII but are worried about the possibility:

  1. Consider the statistical chance of the issue. Hundreds of thousands of women have had implants for decades without issue, and you are most likely to be among the far greater percentage of women who do not experience implant-related symptoms. If you still remain worried…
  2. Consider removal. If your breast size is not a specific concern and you are open to having a more natural look, you may simply wish to have your implants removed to put your mind at ease.

What is breast implant removal surgery like?

Compared with breast augmentation, implant removal can be somewhat more complex in terms of both surgery and recovery, but this depends largely on the specific type of implant removal surgery your doctor recommends for you. As with all breast surgery, the experience and expertise of your surgeon will be key to a successful procedure and smooth recovery.

Implant removal without capsulectomy

This is the least complex version of the procedure, most often chosen by women who are removing their implants for lifestyle reasons alone. Your doctor may recommend local or general anesthesia. The surgery will be about an hour-long, and you’ll need approximately one week off work for recovery. This procedure involves carefully removing the breast implant from the surrounding capsule of scar tissue while only removing a little—if any—of the scar tissue in the process. The scar tissue will naturally retract during healing.

Implant removal combined with a breast lift

Having a breast lift concurrent with your breast implant removal will result in very similar surgical and recovery times to breast lift surgery. The surgery will take about two hours, and you may need approximately 7-10 days off work, depending on the nature of your job. General anesthesia will be recommended.

Implant removal with complete capsulectomy

This surgery requires first removing the implant and then completely removing the scar tissue that contained the implant. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and will take approximately two hours. Plan on a week to ten days off work, depending on the nature of your job.

En bloc breast implant removal

This breast implant removal technique carries the most risk and is typically recommended when a patient has been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL. Your surgeon will go into surgery with the goal of removing the implant while it is still completely contained inside of the scar tissue capsule. However, if the surgeon perceives that en bloc removal will pose a serious risk to surrounding tissue, they may need to adapt the surgical plan in consideration of your overall health.

In any case, the procedure is likely to take approximately two hours, and general anesthesia will be required. While recovery can be shorter, it is best to plan for two weeks off work in case your surgery calls for more recovery time.

Recovery after breast implant removal

Many patients find that breast implant removal recovery is actually more comfortable than recovery after their primary breast augmentation. This is because you will not experience the muscle tightness and chest heaviness common with implant placement. That being said, you will need to take it easy for around a week, depending on the implant removal technique used (technique-specific recovery times are explained above). It’s crucial to allow your incisions and underlying tissues to heal and not rush your recovery. Dr. Movassaghi will provide you with specific aftercare instructions after your procedure.

After any type of implant removal surgery, you will wear a special type of supportive bra for one to two months to help you feel more comfortable and facilitate proper healing.

What will my breasts look like after surgery?

Your breasts will look somewhat different than they did before your initial augmentation surgery—but how different will depend on:

  • The size of implants you had removed
  • The amount of time you had implants
  • The elasticity of your skin
  • The specific type of implant removal surgery performed

Dr. Movassaghi’s goal is to provide a natural look that is fitting for your body. For patients who are concerned about the possibility of post-operative breast sagging, or potentially having a “deflated” appearance, a breast lift will be recommended along with your removal. This can provide more aesthetically pleasing results akin to that of breast lift alone.

Learn more about breast implant removal in Eugene

If you are considering having your breast implants removed, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Movassaghi can help. During your consultation, he will listen to your concerns and goals, perform an examination, and recommend a surgical treatment plan. We encourage you to contact us online or call (541) 686-8700 today to get started.

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