While breast augmentation remains one of the most commonly performed plastic surgeries, breast implant removal has also increased in popularity.  Bodies change over time.  Your goals and aesthetic preferences may also change.  The results you wanted in your twenties may not be the same in your forties, fifties, and beyond.  Some women choose to remove their breast implants to achieve a more natural breast size or if they are experiencing discomfort from breast implants. No matter the reason, Dr. Power has ample experience in breast implant removal procedures to help you look and feel your best.

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What is Breast Implant Removal?

Breast implant removal is performed to remove breast implants in breast augmentation or reconstruction patients. Dr. Power may also remove ruptured silicone or saline implants and the breast capsule, which is scar tissue that forms after a breast implant is placed. A rare type of lymphoma, ALCL (anaplastic large cell lymphoma), has been associated with textured implants, which are no longer available.  This condition also requires breast implant removal, scar tissue removal through capsulectomy, and further treatment.

How is Breast Implant Removal Performed?

Breast implant removal is generally performed under general anesthesia.  An incision is created along the lower fold of the breast or through an incision around the lower half of the areola. Depending on your individual case and the type of breast implants you currently have, implants can be removed using a combination of methods. Resorbable sutures will be used to close the incisions.

Breast Implant Removal Recovery

Following your breast implant removal, bandages will be placed at your incision sites and drains may be used to help collect any excess blood or fluid after surgery. Our team will give you special instructions regarding how to properly care for your surgical sites, how to take any medications that you are prescribed, and any concerns to look for during recovery.

Early healing progresses over several weeks, during which swelling will decrease. The results of your breast implant removal will depend on the size of the implants that were removed and the amount and quality of breast tissue that you have now. Final healing can take up to one year before final results are visible.

Breast Implant Removal FAQs

Can breast implants cause autoimmune disease?

While this has been a controversial topic since the 1980s, there is no scientific link between breast implants and autoimmune disease.

Can breast implants last a lifetime?

Breast implants are long-lasting, but they are not intended to be lifetime devices. They are warranted by the implant manufacturer for 10 years following implantation against device failure (e.g. leak or rupture).

Can saline implants cause autoimmune problems?

After scientific studies reported in well-regarded publications including the Institution of Medicine and New England Journal of Medicine, no connections between breast implants and autoimmune problems have been found. Saline implants can cause issues such as capsular contracture or leaks, but these conditions are rare.

Can you get your breast implants removed?

Breast implant removal or explantation surgery may be performed for medical or cosmetic concerns. Removal alone may be performed. Some women opt to proceed with a breast lift at time of implant removal to address ptosis - or sagginess - that often develops related to the normal aging process as well as implant weight over time.

Can breast implants cause pain years later?

If you experience pain years after breast implant surgery, it is important to schedule urgent follow up with your plastic surgeon. While it could be related to muscle strain, pain could also be a sign of capsular contracture, leak or rupture, or even breast implant-associated ALCL in extremely rare cases. Your plastic surgeon will perform a clinical examination and determine the appropriate work up.

What are the early signs of capsular contracture?

Some early signs of capsular contracture include pain, asymmetry, increasing firmness, or a tightening sensation in the breasts. You may also notice that the breasts appear rounder or higher on the chest.

What breast implants have been recalled?

Allergan Biocell textured implants have been recalled. If you have these implants, you should schedule a consultation for breast implant removal. These recalled implants represent a small minority of all implants used in recent years.

Is There Anything I Should Do to Prepare for Breast Implant Removal?

In preparation for your breast implant removal surgery, you may be asked to achieve the following things Obtain medical clearance from your family physician. Undergo routine lab testing. Stop smoking. Avoid taking aspirin, herbal supplements, or anti-inflammatory drugs that could increase the risk of bleeding. Each individual case is unique, which is why our team will discuss these preparations for you prior to your procedure.

How do you know if my implants are leaking?

Some signs of a breast implant leak include change in your breast size or shape, pain or tenderness, swelling, and increasing firmness. There may be no signs of rupture of a silicone cohesive gel u2013 the so-called gummy bear u2013 implant which may be detected on routine breast imaging.

How often should breast implants be checked?

It is typically recommended that patients with silicone implants have MRI screenings three years after their initial surgery and every other year following this initial screening. This is intended to check for ruptures or tears in the implant.

What are the symptoms of breast implant illness?

Breast implant illness (BII) refers to a cluster of self-reported symptoms following breast augmentation, including fatigue, joint pain, and memory difficulties. Reports are rare and there is no diagnostic test for BII, however it remains a hot topic within plastic surgery research.

What breast implants are linked to lymphoma?

A type of lymphoma known as BIA ALCL has been connected to Allergan Biocell textured implants. These implants were used in a small percentage of all breast implant patients, have been recalled, and are no longer in use.

Will capsular contracture go away?

Capsular contracture is the result of scar tissue, so the symptoms will not resolve if left untreated.

Can breast implants cause cellulitis?

The risk of developing cellulitis -referring to a soft tissue infection - after breast implant surgery is very low, less than 1 percent in most studies. Given that a breast implant is a foreign body, an infection post-operatively may be more difficult to treat and could potentially lead to further complications. Smoking may increase risk of developing a post-op infection. It is important to quit smoking for at least one month pre- and post-operatively to lower this risk.

Can breast implants get infected years later?

Infections are rare following breast implant surgery. When infections do occur, they generally occur in the early healing phase. It is extremely rare for a breast implant to become infected years later.

Can you die from breast implants?

Complications from breast implants are rare in patients who are otherwise healthy and appropriately worked up before surgery through basic blood work and clinical examination. Some studies have reported the risk of death from general anesthetic at 1 in 185,000. Serious complications following breast augmentation are rare and should be discussed with your plastic surgeon in detail before surgery.

Do breast implants cause health problems?

Once healed following breast implant surgery, there are long-term risks of capsular contracture and leak or rupture. Long-term health problems following breast augmentation are very rare.

Do breast implants sag over time?

Breast implants, similar to natural breast tissue, may sag over time. The risk of developing ptosis u2013 or sagginess u2013 is greater the larger the implant. It is important to consider the risk of sagginess when selecting implant size. It is also recommended to maintain a healthy and stable body weight to lower risk of further ptosis. Wearing a supportive bra the majority of the time while you are awake may lower risk of developing further ptosis.

How common is capsular contracture in breast implants?

Capsular contracture is not common. Research shows that capsular contracture occurs in about one-sixth of all breast implant patients.

How do I prepare for breast implant removal?

Preparation for breast implant removal will be explained in detail during your consultation and pre-op appointments. Your plastic surgeon may order basic blood work and potentially further imaging if indicated to ensure that you are otherwise healthy to undergo an elective general anesthetic. You should also fill prescriptions in advance for your recovery period and follow your surgeon's recommendations regarding holding any medications or supplements that may increase risk of bleeding. You should avoid smoking for at least one month before and after surgery to lower risk of infection and other healing complications. Refrain from eating or drinking beginning at midnight before your surgery.

How is BIA ALCL diagnosed?

BIA ALCL is diagnosed by testing relevant cell, tissue, or fluid samples. It is important to remember that BIA ALCL is rare and that the implants associated with this disease are no longer in use.

Is removal of breast implants dangerous?

Like all surgeries, there are some risks involved in removing breast implants. However, the procedure is generally considered safe for the appropriate candidates. During a consultation, Dr. Power will review your health history and other factors to determine whether the surgery is safe for you.

What is implant bottoming?

Implant bottoming, or bottoming out, is an informal term that refers to breast implants descending too low on the chest. Typically, this would reference implants that drop below the breast crease, causing a bottom-heavy appearance.

How much does it cost to have breast implants removed?

Breast implant removal starts at $6400 and may vary depending on the extent of surgery. For example, removal of ruptured silicone implants may be more involved than ruptured saline ones. Some patients may wish to proceed with a breast lift at time of implant removal depending on their aesthetic goals. A detailed surgical quote will be provided after consultation with Dr. Power.

When should you have breast implants replaced?

You should have your breast implants replaced if you experience complications such as leaks, ruptures, or capsular contracture. While most implants are FDA approved for about 10-20 years, replacing them after this period is not always necessary.

Why Would I Need to Have My Breast Implants Removed?

There are many reasons why someone might want their breast implants removed. These include: Desire for a smaller or more natural breast size. Discomfort due to capsular contracture. A ruptured or deflated silicone or saline breast implant Desire for breast implant exchange

Is Breast Implant Removal Safe?

As with any type of surgical procedure, there are risks involved with breast implant removal. Risks may be reduced by seeking treatment from a board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Power. Routine work up will be performed before surgery to assess your overall health and to make any recommendations (e.g. smoking cessation) before undergoing elective cosmetic surgery.

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