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Your Options After Breast Implant Removal

While breast augmentation is still one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures performed each year, many women find that their breast augmentation does not meet their expectations, or they experience complications from their new implants. Whether the need for implant removal is personal or due to health reasons, breast implant removal procedures, also known as breast explant, are becoming more and more common, leaving many women to wonder what their breasts will look like after implant removal and what options are available to give them the breast profile they are hoping to achieve.

What is Breast Implant Removal?

Breast implant removal is a surgical procedure designed to take out breast implants. In addition to the removal of the breast implants, the surgeon may also remove silicone that may have leaked as well as scar tissue that may have developed.

Why You May Choose Breast Implant Removal

Choosing to have your implants removed is a personal decision made for a variety of different reasons. Because breast implants do not last a lifetime and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends people remove or replace implants every 10 to 15 years, your choice to remove implants may simply be following these recommendations. However, there are other reasons you and your surgeon may decide to remove your implants. These can include:

  • Personal Preference – As you age, you may find that your current breast implants are too much or not enough, and you are looking for a change. If you have had implants for many years, you may also decide you want to change implant material, shape or size to create a different appearance.
  • Capsular Contracture – When your breast implants were put in place, scar tissue formed around the implant, creating a tissue capsule that holds your implant in place. Over time, this scar tissue can become dense and hard, leading to breast distortion and pain.
  • Implant Appearance – Over time, changes to your anatomy can influence your implants, causing implant movement or rippling of the implant to occur.
  • Implant Ruptures – The longer you have breast implants, the greater the risk of potential implant rupture. When a saline implant ruptures, you will experience a deflation of the affected breast. With a silicone implant, you may not notice a rupture right away, but regular testing will show a rupture has taken place and needs to be addressed.
  • Pain and discomfort – In some cases, women experience breast pain and discomfort, breast soreness, and nipple sensitivity from their breast implants and implant removal relieves these concerns.
  • Breast Implant Illness (BII) – In some cases, patients experience a variety of different symptoms such as joint and muscle pain, chronic fatigue, memory issues, headaches, hair loss, depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances and a variety of other symptoms that have been connected to breast implants. When the implants are removed, symptoms often disappear.
Choosing What to Do after Breast Implant Removal

Once you determine that breast implant removal is for you, you need to consider your options. Do you want new breast implants as a replacement? Are you looking to reduce the size of your breasts? Have years of having breast implants caused sagging that you want to address? Here we take a look at some common options you have after breast implant removal.

Implant Replacement

Whether you are choosing to remove your implants due to personal preference, age of implants, implant rupture or you are no longer happy with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose breast implant revision. During this procedure, the surgeon removes your current breast implants and any scar tissue and replaces them with the new implants.

A Breast Reduction

In some cases, you may decide that going smaller is the desired route. In this case, you may opt for a breast reduction at the same time as your breast implant removal. Once your implants are removed, the surgeon removes excessive breast tissue while also reshaping the breast, giving you the desired proportions.

Fat Grafting

If you are removing your breast implants due to medical conditions such as BII, and still want the increase in breast size you achieved with the breast implants, fat grafting, or lipoaugmentation, may be an option. For this procedure, fat cells are removed from areas such as the belly or hips and injected into the breasts after the implants are removed. This fat transfer can provide a small increase in breast size and shape, giving you an enhanced appearance without the use of implants.

Breast Lift

A breast lift is a procedure designed to address sagging breasts due to age, weight fluctuations, and breast implants. When you have breast implants removed, you may choose to add a breast lift procedure whether you have the implants replaced or not.