For patients who’ve undergone breast augmentations, the goal of breast implant removal surgery is to either completely remove or replace their breast implants.
While breast augmentation is a popular procedure for women looking to enhance the appearance of their breasts, breast implant removal is an increasingly common procedure. Implants aren’t designed to last a lifetime, and as your body changes, you may feel you’re no longer getting the results you desire from your implants. If your preferences have changed, or you have suffered medical complications as a result of the implants, breast implant removal may be right for you.
Why undergo breast implant removal?
There are several reasons you may be considering a change with regards to your breast implants. Some of the most common include:
One of the main reasons for undergoing removal surgery is a change in preferences. Patients often express a desire to return to a more natural shape or look, while others are simply dissatisfied with their original breast augmentation surgery and wish to revise their shape and size. A change in preference is particularly common among older women with implants, as they’ve likely experienced changes to the body from weight fluctuations or as a result of pregnancy, which can affect the look and feel of their implants. In these cases, other revision procedures are usually undertaken to shape the remaining breast tissue which may have become stretched due to the implant.
Like all medical procedures, there is a risk of complications that require your implants to be removed or replaced. For example, although durable in nature, implants can rupture and leak fluid. This can lead to further infection and requires the damaged implant to be removed. Patients diagnosed with breast cancer will also need to remove the implants completely to receive effective treatment. You may also experience capsular contracture – a hardening of the breast area – as well as prolonged neck, back or chest pain. In these situations, it is a good time to revaluate your overall cosmetic goals with your surgeon and decide whether you would like to completely remove your implants or opt for an alternative shape or size.
Breast Implant Illness
An increasing number of women have described suffering a raft of chronic illnesses they attribute to their implants. Although a definitive link has yet to be established, women report symptoms such as headaches, rashes, chronic fatigue, joint pain, anxiety and a range of autoimmune deficiencies. Although medical evidence is insufficient, many patients report loss of chronic symptoms following implant removal.
Recently, implants have also been linked to an extremely rare form of cancer known as Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). As of January 2019, there have been less than 100 reported cases in Australia and New Zealand. BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer, but rather a form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. To date, it has occurred exclusively in relation to patients who’ve had textured implants inserted. The most common symptom is consistent swelling in the space between the implant and breast implant capsule. When caught at an early stage, treatment involves removing the breast implants.
If any of these factors are relevant to you, breast implant replacement or removal may be right for you. If you do wish to make a change, there are a number of different cosmetic surgery procedures depending on your needs.
Breast implant removal surgery options
Breast implant revision
Revision surgery involves simply replacing a patient’s current implants with new ones to correct for complications and defective implants or unsatisfactory initial results. Revision surgery usually takes approximately one hour to complete and is done under general anaesthetic.
A breast lift (mastopexy) procedure aims to reshape and contour the breast area following the removal of your implants. Particularly as women age, their skin becomes loose and stretched from the implant, and as a result, when the implant is removed, the remaining tissue can sag and become misshapen. A breast lift tightens and shapes the breast area to leave them with a more raised appearance. It’s important to note however, that apart from removing the implant, a breast lift will not change the overall size of your breasts.
Fat transfer involves removing a patient’s implants and rather than replacing them with artificial implants, fat from the patient’s own body is used to augment their breast size. Also referred to as autologous fat grafting, the procedure is similar to liposuction – removing fat from the thighs, hips, and abdomen – and can often result in more natural breast shape. Because fat is transferred via small injections, there can be less obvious scarring and the downtime following the procedure is often shorter.
Breast implant removal using the En Bloc technique involves removing the implant and its surrounding scar tissue together. When implants are inserted, the body has a natural reaction and forms scar tissue – known as the “capsule” – around the implant. This procedure is usually done in cases where the implant is ruptured, as removing the implant enclosed within the scar tissue ensures that remaining fluid does not leak out further. For patients wishing to completely remove their implants is often a preferred option, however, it is not always suitable as it can be a particularly invasive procedure that carries risk.
Recovering from breast implant removal surgery
Recovery times will be dependent on the type of procedure undertaken and every patient is unique. Typically, recovery periods for breast removal procedures are shorter than for the original breast augmentation surgery. Most patients are required to spend at least 1-2 nights in hospital under observation to ensure there are no immediate complications. You will need to spend up to two weeks are home resting before going back to work, but you’ll most likely be able to return to your usual exercise routine within a month.
Associate Professor Dean White has developed a leading reputation over the years for his skill and ability to perform a wide range of cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures. He is committed to providing the highest quality of care for his patients and servicing their unique goals.
If you have any further questions about breast implant removal surgery, or want to discuss removing your breast implants, don’t hesitate to Contact Us today to book a consultation.