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Breast Implant Removal

Commonly known as “explant” surgery, breast implant removal is performed to extract a patient’s saline or silicone implants along with the surrounding scar tissue. While countless women enjoy their results from breast augmentation for many years, there are a number of reasons why a patient may want to have their implants removed after a certain period of time. Some women feel they no longer desire their implants after decades of use, while others may be concerned about potential implant-related symptoms. Your health and satisfaction are our top priorities and, regardless of your motivations for explant surgery, our highly experienced board-certified plastic surgeon can create a custom treatment plan to safely remove your implants and restore your original breast contours.

Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani is extremely well-versed in the different methods of breast implant removal, including implant exchange with breast revision. After discussing your goals, he can work with you to determine the most ideal explantation technique.

What are Common Reasons For Breast Implant Removal?

Each patient has their own reasons why they may seek out implant removal surgery. Generally speaking, common motivations behind an explant procedure include:

  • To upgrade your implants to a different size, shape, or fill material
  • To alleviate health concerns, or because you simply no longer desire breast enhancement
  • To address a complication, such as capsular contracture (scar tissue formation), rippling, or implant rupture

Recent studies detailing a potential association between certain types of textured implants and BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma) may also be the impetus for pursuing breast implant removal. While this condition is extremely rare, we understand the need for some patients to remove their implants altogether for their own peace of mind.

What is BIA-ALCL?

BIA-ALCL, or Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, is a very rare cancer of the immune system that has been linked to certain types of aggressively textured implants. As a result of recent research into breast implant-associated BIA-ALCL, the BioCell® textured implants that were predominantly associated with BIA-ALCL have been voluntarily recalled by Allergan®. It’s important to note that the number of patients who are affected by this condition because of their breast implants is extremely low when compared to the total number of women who have implants. Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani does not place any kind of textured implants at his practice, and currently sees no need to utilize textured implants. That said, it is always best to remain observant to potential changes in the appearance and feel of your breasts. Furthermore, Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani fully understands the desire to safeguard your health by completely removing your breast implants.

BIA-ALCL Symptoms

While the FDA does not currently recommend explant surgery for all patients with textured implants, they encourage vigilance in recognizing the common symptoms of BIA-ALCL, which include:

  • Pain after healing from breast augmentation
  • Swelling or tightness
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Lumps or changes in the breasts’ appearance

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms after you have fully recovered from breast augmentation, an evaluation from your doctor or primary care provider can provide you with further insight into whether explant surgery may be recommended. BIA-ALCL symptoms may not present until years after breast augmentation.

What are My Breast Implant Removal Options?

Depending on whether your implants are encased in scar tissue, you may choose to remove solely the implants or the implants plus the surrounding capsule of scar tissue formation. This scar tissue is a natural reaction to foreign objects in the body, and removal of the capsule is usually only necessary if it begins to feel hard, tight, or painful.

After your breast implants are taken out, patients have several options:

  • Breast Implant Exchange: You may wish to replace your saline implants with newer silicone gel implants or vice versa. Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani can also upgrade your devices to a different size, shape, and brand, if desired.
  • Breast Implant Removal Without Replacement: Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani can also just remove your breast implants altogether if you’d rather not replace them. However, it should be noted that the breasts and skin tissue may not always be able to “snap” back to their original shape after years of implant use. If stretched skin negatively affects the ability to attain a natural-looking breast contour, Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani may recommend a breast lift or breast reduction to address the aesthetic changes.
  • Breast Implant Removal with Fat Grafting: Dr. JonPaul Trevisani can also perform fat grafting to camouflage any implant rippling seen through the skin. While some “natural breast augmentation” procedures use fatty tissue from another area of the body to enlarge the breast size, Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani does not perform this technique. Since some fat will inevitably absorb and multiple surgeries will likely be required to obtain a noticeable volume enlargement, fat grafting to the breast is not usually a good substitute for an implant. Fat transfer breast augmentation can not only limit the aesthetic results achieved, but it can also be cost restrictive for some patients.

Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani will do his best to remove as much of the surrounding scar tissue as possible. In some cases where the scar capsule closely adheres to the chest wall, safely detaching all scar tissue may not be possible.

How is the Breast Implant Removal Procedure Performed?

Breast implants can be removed (with or without the scar capsule) using a few different techniques. The thickness of the scar tissue surrounding your implant, as well as any resulting symptoms, will be considered before Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani develops your treatment plan. If the scar capsule is relatively thin and doesn’t cause discomfort or other symptoms, your implant may be removed while keeping the capsule in place. The body can then naturally break down the scar tissue over time.

A total capsulectomy is another option for breast implant removal, which is designed to remove the implant and scar capsule in multiple pieces. This procedure still removes as much scar tissue as possible, but does not necessarily extract the capsule and implant as one component.

Do I Need Follow-Up Procedures After Breast Implant Removal?

After your breast implants are removed, it’s unlikely that your breast profile will look exactly the same as it did before surgery. The breasts may appear flatter, more stretched out, or more ptotic (drooping) compared to their pre-surgery appearance due to years of implant use. In these situations, complementary procedures can be performed at the same time as your implant removal (or at a later stage) to reconstruct the breast contours. Mastopexy is a common procedure utilized after patients’ breast implants are removed without replacement. With a breast lift, stretched skin and glandular tissue can be addressed and removed to completely reshape your breast contours. This leaves patients with a younger-looking bust, even without their breast implants.

All in all, whether you require complementary procedures after removing your implants is a topic that can be discussed during your consultation with Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani. He will be able to assess the degree of ptosis experienced, if any, and help you determine the best course of action after your implants are withdrawn.

What is Recovery From Breast Implant Removal Like?

The recovery process varies depending on the nature of your procedure, but general swelling and bruising immediately after surgery is to be expected. If you exchanged your implants for newer devices, the recovery period should be very similar to the downtime required after your initial breast augmentation. Most women are able to return to work within one to two weeks, although strenuous activities should be avoided for at least four weeks. During this time, patients should avoid aerobic exercise as well as heavy lifting. Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani will let you know when you can expect to fully resume your normal routine based on your unique situation. In most cases, there is typically more post-surgical discomfort if significant scar tissue was removed during your procedure. This should subside naturally as you start to heal, but oral pain medications can be utilized to manage any pain in the meantime.

How Much Does Breast Implant Removal Cost?

Several factors can affect the cost of your explant procedure, including which technique was used, whether you opted for replacement implants, and whether other surgeries were performed in tandem with your implants’ removal. We can provide you with a personalized quote, which will include the cost of anesthesia and any operative fees, during your initial consultation. Plastic surgery financing can be one payment option for qualified patients, and our practice accepts both long- and short-term plans offered by CareCredit®. If you have any questions or concerns about the cost of your procedure, a member of our office would be happy to assist you.

What are the Risks of Breast Implant Removal?

When considering breast implant removal, it will be up to you to determine whether the benefits of the procedure outweigh the potential risks of surgery. Breast implant removal comes with a chance of infection, unfavorable scarring, loss of sensation, breast asymmetry, and other possible complications. Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani will be able to speak with you about all of the risks and limitations of explantation during your consultation. With all elective procedures, the most powerful way to maximize your health and safety throughout the surgical process is to select a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your breast implant removal. This can help ensure the most effective and up-to-date explantation techniques are utilized. For many patients under the care of an experienced breast surgeon, the peace of mind achieved after removing their implants is worth the exceedingly rare risk of complications.

No matter your reasons for explant surgery, Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani is committed to safely and aesthetically removing your implants according to your needs. If you have questions about the surgical process, or if you would like to speak with Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani in a consultation, please contact The Aesthetic Surgery Centre today.