Why Consider Breast Implant Removal?
The decision to remove your breast implants is a very personal choice. Know that you are not alone and that there a several reasons why women choose to have their implants removed. Some women no longer like the feel or look of their implants or find that their implants no longer match their lifestyle or activity level. Implant complications such as capsular contracture or implant rupture are also reasons for implant removal. For some women, concerns about the diagnosis of breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) or Breast Implant Illness may be the deciding factor. Whatever your reason, the board-certified plastic surgeons at Restore SD Plastic Surgery will partner with you to develop a treatment plan that is best suited to your individual goals.
The Best Candidates
• Have realistic ideas and expectations of what can be accomplished with surgery
• May have experienced implant rupture or capsular contracture
• May experience health problems related to their implants
• Wish for a different aesthetic appearance to their breast
• Are healthy and at a stable weight
• Are not taking blood thinner medications or using nicotine products
Terms to Know
Capsule – whenever an implant is placed, a thin filmy layer develops around the implant, this is called the capsule. This capsule can become thickened or calcified in a condition known as capsular contracture. This may occur anytime over the lifetime of the implant.
En bloc removal – this complex procedure involves removing the implant and the capsule as one unit.
Capsulectomy – removal of the capsule surrounding the implant. This is usually done at the same time as implant removal if needed.
Breast lift – Otherwise known as mastopexy, breast lift surgery can optimize breast shape after breast implant.
The surgery that best balances implant removal while achieving a natural appearance will differ from person to person. Some women have enough residual breast tissue that simply removing the implants is all that is needed. Other women may have some natural drooping of the breast skin and tissue that occurs over time. The surgery in this case may involve a breast lift in addition to implant removal. Volume restoration can be achieved in some cases with fat grafting. Your Restore SD surgeon will discuss with you the safest way to achieve your desired look. Most of the time removal can be combined with breast enhancement, while other circumstances may dictate that the safest approach requires two separate surgeries spaced by 4-6 months.
Breast implant removal surgery is performed in the outpatient setting in an accredited ambulatory surgery center. There are many complex variables surrounding breast implant removal surgery. If possible, we will use your previous breast surgery incisions. The surgery can take from 1 -3 hours and may include a breast lift or fat grafting. Your Restore SD surgeon will tailor the approach to your individual circumstances and goals. Once your surgery is over you will be placed in a post-operative compression bra. You will wear this bra or a similar one for the next few weeks.
After your breast implant removal surgery is completed you will be able to go home with a responsible adult. Ideally, this loved-one or friend will be able to stay with you during the first few days of recovery. Some postoperative surgical discomfort is to be expected and you will be prescribed pain medication to help ensure a comfortable recovery. Initially the area around the nipple and most of the breast skin is numb but sensation returns over the next few months. Most women can return to work after 2 weeks. Normal daily activities like showering, eating and light activity such as walking can be resumed within 24 hours after surgery. Some postoperative swelling is normal and generally resolves within the first 4 weeks after surgery. You should refrain from intense physical activity for 4 weeks. During the recovery period, you will have follow-up with your Restore SD surgeon and will be guided back to your usual activities. Most complications occur from getting too active too early, so select a surgical date that allows an appropriate amount of time to heal and gradually return to your more vigorous activities.
The Combined Procedures
Breast implant removal surgery can be performed as a stand-alone procedure or can be combined with abdominoplasty, liposuction, or certain facial rejuvenation procedures. Your Restore SD surgeon will partner with you to develop an effective plan designed to optimize your results, recovery, and safety.
- What happens at my breast implant removal consultation?
When you arrive at Restore SD Plastic Surgery to discuss breast implant removal surgery, your Restore SD surgeon will perform a detailed examination as well as review your medical history and any medications you are taking. If you are over 40 years of age or have a strong family history of breast cancer, a recent mammogram will be requested. At your consultation, you will have photos taken with our Vectra 3D imaging system and discuss treatment options while viewing your photos series. With our state- of-the-art Canfield software, potential surgical results can be viewed, and adjustments can be made, helping you to visualize possible outcomes.
- Why should I choose Restore SD Plastic Surgery for my breast implant removal surgery?
The surgeons at Restore SD Plastic Surgery have over twelve years of experience with cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. In addition to being fully credentialed, we take the time to listen to your goals and partner with you to develop the best and safest surgical plan that will optimize your results and leave you looking and feeling your best.
- Why is breast implant removal surgery for me?
Breast implant removal surgery is a uniquely individual decision. Women remove their implants for both aesthetic and medical reasons. Some women are concerned about the potential diagnosis of BIA- ALCL or experiencing Breast Implant Illness (BII) symptoms. At Restore SD Plastic Surgery we listen to our patient’s concerns and work together to develop the best plan that meets your needs.
- How do I choose a surgeon?
It is important to ask if your surgeon is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. As Board Certified plastic surgeons at Restore SD, we have years of training and expertise in revision breast surgery that cannot be imitated by short courses and alternative certifications. Ensure that your surgeon is proficient in breast implant removal surgery and capable of handling any complications that may arise. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is one of 23 members of the American Board of Medical Specialties. These specialties represent the traditional core of fully trained specialists. Alternative boards have cropped up over the last several years to lend legitimacy to incompletely trained or poorly trained practitioners. Accept nothing less than a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).
- How much time off work should I take after breast implant removal surgery?
Depending on your profession, you should expect to take 1-2 weeks off from work. You will not be able to lift anything heavier than 10 lbs. or perform strenuous activities for 2 weeks following surgery. Patients cannot drive while taking narcotic pain medication and should plan to have a friend or family member drive them to and from appointments during the early recovery period.
- How do I minimize post-operative scarring after breast implant removal surgery?
Unfortunately, scarless surgery does not yet exist. Your Restore SD surgeons will educate you about scar management postoperatively. A surgical scar will take 9-12 months to fully mature. Your scar will go through changes during the healing process and your Restore SD team will help you manage this part of your recovery. This can consist of sun avoidance, scar massage, scar cream, and fractionated laser treatments.
- What should I do to prepare for breast implant removal surgery?
If you have close friends or relatives who have had breast surgery – start there! A personal story of their journey may guide you to questions to ask your surgeon and having someone with a shared experience is invaluable. Educate yourself by reading our procedure page and viewing our educational videos. Other sources of information include the ASPS and ASAPS websites. Remember to wear a button-down front opening shirt on the day of surgery so that your post-operative experience does not include wrestling a shirt over your head!
- I am a smoker – can I have breast implant removal surgery?
At Restore SD Plastic surgery, we pride ourselves in delivering safe, consistent, and reproducible results. Smoking tobacco or using any nicotine products has adverse effects on wound healing. Your risk of tissue or nipple loss, infection, and prolonged incision healing are much higher if you use nicotine. We recommend a nicotine free period of 8 weeks prior to surgery and at a minimum 4 weeks post operatively. We have a simple urinary nicotine test that we complete in the office to help you on your journey to a safe and gratifying surgical experience with us.
- I have Diabetes – what do I need to know about having breast implant removal surgery?
If you have diabetes it is important to work with your medical team to maintain an ideal HbA1C. Diabetes can increase your risk for prolonged wound healing and certain types of infections. Surgery can be safely performed but requires a coordinated effort from patients, surgeons, and medical doctors to attain outstanding results. There are some instances where your Restore SD surgeon may want to postpone surgery until your diabetes is under better control.
- How soon can I travel after having breast implant removal surgery?
Having surgery means a commitment to an appropriate recovery. We recommend scheduling your surgery at a time that allows enough time to recover and gradually return to your normal activities. Flying, driving long distances, or leaving the immediate area are not recommended until you have been cleared by your surgeon. If you have specific travel needs or require advice for emergency travel soon after a procedure, please let us know and we will be glad to discuss the details with you.
- Will I need drains?
Maybe. Advances in techniques over the last few years now allow many patients to enjoy a drain-free recovery. Each surgery is unique, and your Restore SD surgeon wants the best and safest outcome for you. We try our very best to do this surgery without drains, but don’t hesitate to use them if it is the best and safest course of action to optimize your result and safety.