Breast Implant Removal is not the most popular Cosmetic Plastic Surgery procedure. In fact, for most of my Breast Augmentation patients, Breast Implant Removal is unthinkable. Longterm plastic surgery statists show that only about 1% of women who get Breast Implants have them removed. Sometimes it is elective; sometimes it is medically necessary.
Why Have Breast Implants Removed?
While it is not common, there are many reasons for Breast Implant Removal. Since Breast Implants are used for both an elective and reconstructive procedure, the reasons for Breast Implant Removal can also range from elective to required.
Elective Reasons: Changes in one’s personal physique preference, body image and physical changes associated with weight, pregnancy or aging can all lead to a desire for less breast augmentation. Elective reasons For Breast Implant Removal include:
- Breast Implants were placed at a young age and things have changed
- Increased breast size after pregnancy
- Increase in breast size associated with menopause
- Planning to get pregnant and don’t want breasts to have a head-start in getting stretched out
- Breast Implants are just no longer desirable or wanted
Required Reasons: Required reasons for Breast Implant Removal is more common for Breast Reconstruction patients than for elective Breast Augmentation patients. Reasons include:
- Breast Implant Deflation (In most cases the Breast Implant is replaced rather than left out)
- Breast Implant Infections
- Breast Implant Exposure
- Other severe complications of Breast Implants where the pocket needs to be reconstructed
- Uncommon forms Breast Cancer treatment which include Hyperthermia
How Are Breast Implants Removed?
Uncomplicated Saline Breast Implant Removal can be performed under local, local with sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the motivation and tolerance of my patient. Silicone Breast Implant Removal is more often performed under general anesthesia. The reason for the difference is in the filling.
Saline Breast Implant Removal
Saline Breast Implants are filled with water essentially. The implants can be opened, the contents suctioned out and the implants’ silicone shell can be removed without fear of spillage through a small incision. While many saline breast implants were placed via a peri-areolar incision, they are often removed via the infra-mammary fold incision (IMF) to decrease the risk of dimpling at the areolar incision.
Silicone Breast Implant Removal
Silicone Breast Implants are filled with silicone gel. Unlike a Saline Breast Implant, it is sometimes difficult to know before surgery if a silicone breast implant is ruptured. Even MRIs are only 90% accurate. If your silicone breast implant is ruptured, more needs to be done than just remove the implant, so your surgeon will want to have the option, and this is more easier on you, and your surgeon, under general anesthesia. This is especially true of breast implants manufactured before 1994. These can have free silicone gel in the pocket around the implant, even without being ruptured due to “gel bleed.”
After Breast Implant Removal Will I Need A Breast Lift?
This is question that can only me answered with a Plastic Surgery Consultation. In general, the larger your implants and the smaller your natural breasts, the more likely you are to need a lift. An option that is always available though is to have the Breast Implants removed, allow the breasts to heal and then evaluate if a lift is beneficial. While this means two operations, it also means that you can make the decision to lift or not to lift without having to guess what your breast will look like without breast implants.
Recovery After Breast Implant Removal
Recovery after Breast Implant Removal is usually pretty quick. Most patients are wearing a firm, jog-type bra immediately after surgery to help the breast implant pocket seal and heal. Light compression provides decreased swelling, increased support and decreased discomfort after surgery. In cases where full capsulectomies are performed, or when free silicone needs to be removed, more surgery is required, so the recovery would be expected to increase proportionately with the amount of additional work required.
To schedule a Breast Implant Removal consultation, give my San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery Office a call at (925) 943-6353. We are centrally located in the SF East Bay city of Walnut Creek, CA.