Breast Implant Removal
Breast implants are not intended to last a lifetime. Whether implant removal is a matter of periodic maintenance, concerns about complications or chronic side effects, or if patients simply feel that their need for implants has simply run its course, it’s something everyone who gets implants will need to consider. Below is a rundown of the many options available to plastic surgery patients in this sensitive area from Beverly Hills Physicians, Southern California’s plastic surgery experts.
How are Breast Implant
As we will describe below, breast implant removals are usually – though not always – paired with other procedures such as implant replacement and/or breast lifts. In all cases, the removal surgery also involves the natural capsule of scar tissue that forms around implants. Some procedures may involve an incision in the capsule to remove the implant, while others will reduce the size of the capsule or remove it altogether. This is especially common for patients dealing with capsular contracture. (More on that below.)
While the kind of work performed during surgeries varies greatly, they are all done using a general anesthetic and may take roughly one to three hours. These are typically outpatient procedures so individuals are usually able to return home on the day of the procedure in the care of a friend, relative, or other designated individual.
Implant Removal: Problems and Solutions
While breast implants remain very safe and breast augmentation boasts a consistent record of good outcomes, sooner or later it will be time to revisit the implant. The type of implantation procedure will depend on the nature of the patient’s issue as well as their preferred solution.
Capsular Contracture and Other Complications
Capsular contracture is the most frequent complication arising from breast implants. Contracture occurs when the scar tissue that forms a protective capsule around implants becomes overly hard, less natural in feeling and appearance, and may also become painful. Other complications include ruptures, asymmetries, and other treatable deformities.
The most common approach to these problems is a breast augmentation revision procedure such as a capsulectomy where the original implant and the hardened scar tissue around it are reduced or removed. In most cases, an incision is made in the capsule and the implant is removed. Usually with contracture, the capsule is either further reduced or removed entirely. It may also be performed en bloc, i.e., both the capsule and the implant inside it are removed together.
Most patients still want breast augmentation at this point and a new implant will be placed. In many cases, the plastic surgeon may also add a type of organic surgical mesh known as an acellular dermal matrix (ADM).
ADMs are intended to help support the implant and have been shown to help prevent recurrences of capsular contracture. One theory that has been supported by research is that they may reduce the occurrence of myofibroblasts, a specific type of cell that has been associated with contracture issues. 1
Implants that Outlast
Procedures that may have provided just the right boost of confidence at one point in an individual’s life may begin to feel like more of a burden than a blessing later on. Larger implants especially may worsen back pain, make it harder to fit into certain types of clothing, or may rule out participation in some activities. Sometimes patients simply feel that they have moved on with their lives and are no longer interested in attracting the same kind of attention.
As you can probably guess, stretching out the skin of the breasts for a long period will create what doctors call ptosis (sagging). What happens next is very much a patient’s personal choice. While some patients may no longer be concerned about their breasts’ form, a great many will want to move on to another type of procedure to sculpt their breasts into a more pleasing shape.
There are roughly three post-explantation options that can be performed alone or in conjunction with another procedure.
- A Breast Lift. · Breast lifts are very popular procedures that are often performed with augmentation. They remove loose skin or other tissue that may be contributing to ptosis or other issues. Patients need to understand, however, that lifts without some form of augmentation will make the breasts smaller than before.
- Augmentation and Lift with a Smaller Implant. · Patients who are still concerned about the look and feel of their breasts but who are ready for something more modest often select a smaller implant. Since implants are available in a wide range of sizes, this may make sense for a great many patients. For those who are ready for a very modest appearance, however, there is another outstanding option. (See below.)
- Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation and Lift. · Autologous breast augmentation – which uses unwanted fat transferred from elsewhere in the body – doesn’t get the same amount of publicity as implants. As with the much better-known BBL, this procedure uses excess fat that has been harvested from elsewhere in the body, purified, and then used to increase the size of the breasts. For purposes of reconstructive breast surgery and problematic implants, fat transfer techniques have proven benefits – particularly for patients who have had mastectomies. 2
Fat transfer breast augmentation provides outcomes that feel and look natural and attractive. The reason you might not have heard of this option is that it can only increase the size of the breast by a maximum of one cup size. It’s therefore ideal for people who are happy with a more pert or “perky” appearance.
Breast Implant Illness (BII)
Many symptoms have been blamed on a syndrome associated with joint and muscle pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and brain fog. Because these symptoms may be attributable to numerous causes, and breast implant illness (BII) is not well understood at this point, the diagnosis consists of working with a family doctor or internist to rule out other problems. Some patients, though not all, have found that removing their implants without replacing them has been followed by an end to symptoms.
With BII, breast removal patients may choose to leave their breasts as they are after the removal procedure in exchange for feeling better. As discussed above, however, there are alternatives. If you and your doctor believe you have BII but you are also concerned with the cosmetic side of the procedure, you may want to explore the breast lift and fat transfer techniques above as an alternative to a new implant.
Choosing the Right Provider for Breast Implant Removal
Whatever procedure or group of procedures you are contemplating, your most important choice regarding any plastic surgery is finding the right provider. For your own safety and well-being, it is essential to consider only reputable and experienced physicians and clinics with proven track records.
Beverly Hills Physicians has assembled the finest plastic surgeons and health and beauty professionals working in the Greater Los Angeles/Southern California area. We are known for our consistently positive outcomes and our highly professional but also kind and caring approach.
Breast Implant Removal Cost
Because of the extremely variable nature of these breast implant removal operations, it’s not possible to provide an accurate ballpark figure. We can say, however, that these procedures may be covered by insurance in some instances; we also offer a variety of payment plans to help make procedures affordable.
Our Beverly Hills Physicians team of knowledgeable and friendly consultants can find out whether or not procedures are covered by insurance and help patients navigate the process. They can also help to create payment plans as needed.
Don’t Wait to Improve the
Quality of Your Life!
Nobody thinks about breast implant removal on a whim. If your breast implants need to be removed for any of the reasons we’ve discussed, then there’s no point in waiting. Please get in touch with us today for an initial consultation where we explore your situation and begin the process of creating a customized treatment plan. Call or request an appointment for a complimentary first-time consultation with us online today.
1 “Acellular Dermal Matrix Reduces Myofibroblast Presence in the Breast Capsule,” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open. Ruth Tevlin, M.B. B.A.O. B.Ch, M.R.C.S., M.D., Mimi R. Borrelli, M.B.B.S., MSc, Dre Irizarry, M.D., Dung Nguyen, PharM.D., M.D., Derrick C. Wan, M.D., and Arash Momeni, M.D. May 2019.
2 “Autologous breast reconstruction after failed implant based reconstruction; evaluation of surgical and patient reported outcomes and quality of life,” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. M. Coriddi, M.D., D. Shenaq, M.D., E. Kenworthy, M.D., J. Mbabuike, M.D., J. Nelson, M.D., A. Pusic, M.D., M.H.S., F.R.C.S.C., B. Mehrara, M.D., and J.J. Disa, M.D., F.A.C.S. February 2019.