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What to expect from breast implant removal surgery

plastic surgery FAQs

Breast enlargement surgery is a highly popular cosmetic surgery option undertaken by women of all ages and backgrounds throughout the world. It is a procedure that thousands of people have each year and this number continues to rise. Breast implants can be the answer to concerns you have about your body, however, one procedure isn’t a permanent solution as the implants will at some point need to be replaced or removed.

Therefore if you have had breast augmentation in the past you may now be considering breast implant removal surgery, also known as explantation surgery, for a number of reasons.

Reasons to consider breast implant removal.

Most implants usually last between 10 and 15 years. Some people wait until this time period whereas others may opt to have removal surgery performed much sooner.

For example you may decide that you are no longer happy with the size of your breasts thanks to a change in lifestyle or changes to your body through pregnancy or ageing. Some may opt to go larger in their breast size and others may be wanting to downsize due to back or shoulder pain. Hence opting for a smaller implant instead. This may be impacting on your self-confidence and mental health and hence you decide to have the old implants removed or replaced.

With recent advancements in breast surgery technique you may wish to have your older breast implants replaced with implants made of improved materials, which also feel and look more realistic.

In some rare circumstances, you may have experienced medical complications with your first implants, like ruptures or leaks, which now need to be removed for health reasons.

No matter what the reason, whether medical or cosmetic, your breast implants can be removed with surgery. Here we’ll discuss what the procedure and recovery is like and whether this type of surgery is the right option for you.

What is the procedure like?

Breast Implant removal surgery is a relatively straightforward procedure, which involves a lot less downtime than breast augmentation.

Depending on your procedure, the operation should take between one and two hours. You will be under general anaesthetic which means that you will be asleep throughout the procedure.

Your surgeon will usually make the incision to remove the implant on the same place where your first breast enlargement incisions were made. Although this may not always be possible depending on a number of factors.

Your old implant, which will either sit under the breast tissue or behind the muscle, will be removed. If your implant has leaked or ruptured the breast tissue, breast capsule and any other areas where the silicone has leaked will also be removed.

Once the old implant has been removed, the next step is to have either replacement implants, breast revision (breast lift, breast reduction or another type of surgery) or alternatively you may decide not to have a secondary procedure.

The incisions will then be stitched up and dressed and the procedure is finished.

Immediately after your procedure, you’ll be taken into a room to rest and given pain medication, which will have been discussed with you prior to the operation.

Many patients chose to have their breast implants removed on an outpatient basis meaning that you are free to leave hospital on the same day. In some instances you may be asked to stay overnight in hospital for one or two nights to recover.

If you are not staying in the clinic overnight, you should arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up and stay with you at home for the first 24 hours following your surgery. They should also pick up anything you will need for the first week as you should avoid doing too much following your surgery.

How long will it take to recover?

You will need to take at least a week or two off work as well as avoiding any exercise for the first couple of weeks following your surgery. You should try and spend as much time sitting upright as possible as this will help to minimise swelling and wear loose clothing for comfort while you are healing.

You may experience some pain, bruising and swelling to begin with which is completely normal and will start to improve over the weeks following your surgery. You’ll be given guidance on changing your dressings and pain management by your doctor prior to the procedure.

After the first couple of weeks you will be starting to feel better and so you can start to return to work and light activity and exercise.

Within four to six weeks you should be able to return to normal activity as well as more strenuous exercise like going to the gym and lifting weights.

Side-effects of breast implant removal surgery.

There are some side effects that can occur as a result of breast implant removal. This includes a loss of fullness or change of shape of your breasts if you have decided not to replace your implants.

A good consultation before the procedure with your surgeon should inform your decision as to whether to replace your implants with others and whether you will need a secondary procedure like a breast uplift following removal.

Complications are very rare but they can occur following surgery. Pain that doesn’t go away when you take painkillers, oozing from wounds, excess swelling, a fever and breasts that are excessively hot to touch could all be signs of infection which can be treated with antibiotics. An infection can sometimes require further surgery but again this is very rare.

Deciding to have cosmetic surgery can be a life enhancing decision so we want you to be really happy with your choice. Ensure that you consider all of your options and do your research before you decide whether a breast implant removal procedure is for you.

Finding the right doctor is crucial to a successful procedure so ensure that you feel comfortable and confident with your surgeon and that they discuss all of your options, the procedure and the aftercare with you prior to your breast implant removal.

Book a consultation today.

If you have breast implants that require removal and you would like to book in for a consultation to discuss your options, contact me today.