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What You Need To Know If You Want to Get Your Breast Implants Removed?

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By Jerome Edelstein, MD

While the vast majority of patients who undergo a breast augmentation are satisfied with the results and may not need to remove them for decades due to the increasing longevity of breast implants, in some instances, women may opt to have their implants removed. Whether due to dissatisfaction with the look or feel of the enhancement, a desire to downsize their implants to a more practical size, or to replace old implants, implants can be removed at any time.

Although rare, in some instances, women are required to remove implants due to breakage or rupturing. Regardless of the reason for the removal, it is helpful to know what is involved in explantation surgery.

The Procedure

Breast implant removal, or explantation, can be performed under local anesthesia, depending on the situation, or you will be asleep under general anaesthesia for the procedure. The previous incisions may be reopened in order to withdraw the implants. Depending on the location of the existing scars, however, this may not be a suitable strategy and new incisions may be required to ensure good results. The inframammary incision, under the breast fold, is ideal for explantation as it provides superior visibility and does not pose a risk to nipple function.

In the case of a ruptured silicone implant, removal can be a more complicated procedure, as the surgeon may need to remove not only the implant, but also the surrounding scar tissue capsule, ensuring that all implant material and scar is removed. Older types of silicone implants pose a health risk when ruptured because their contents can spread in the body, so it is important that they be thoroughly removed.

What Will Breasts Look Like Following The Procedure?

Just as the skin on the abdomen, which is significantly stretched during pregnancy, typically shrinks after giving birth, in most cases, the breasts will try to return to their original shape following explantation. As a result of age or weight gain/loss, however, the breast volume and skin elasticity may be slightly different than it was prior to the augmentation. As a result, if the skin has been irreversibly stretched, some droopiness may occur after explantation.

What Are The Risks Of This Procedure?

Although explantation is a safe procedure, it is important to understand the potential risks. While the implants will be removed through previous incision sites and every effort will be made to minimize scarring, the scars left behind following breast implant removal are often longer than those made during the initial augmentation.

In addition, if the initial incision site is not deemed suitable for removal, a secondary scar will be necessary. While rare, some women also experience reduced or altered breast sensation after having their implants removed. As mentioned above, increased droopiness can occur.If you are considering breast implant removal, please contact our clinic to schedule a consultation with one of our board certified plastic surgeons who will walk you through the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

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