You already know that breast implants are an effective way to boost your bust with regard to size and shape. What’s not so well known is that breast implants are sometimes removed for a few different reasons.
According to the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons, the average lifespan of a breast implant is between 10 to 15 years. And while history may have taught us that good quality breast implants can remain in tip-top shape for twenty years or longer, your surgeon might recommend you to replace your implants every decade or so. Replacing your implants will require a technique known as breast implant removal surgery.
In rare cases, breast implants can cause problems, such as rippling beneath the skin, shifting from its ideal location, and rupture. If your breast implants are causing you problems or pain, you may find that having your breast implants removed improves your quality of life by literally taking the weight of breast implants off your shoulders.
Some women feel that they would have more confidence in their bodies if they removed their breast implants. At the time of their augmentations, they may have felt empowered and more attractive by wearing breast implants. But their feelings may have changed. They might come to the conclusion their breast implants don’t fit with their current lifestyle. This could lead some women to have their breast implants removed for the sake of personal preference, not to mention restore their self-esteem.
Whatever your reasons for considering having your breast implants taken out, you should know that breast implant removal surgery is safe and effective. Here is the rundown of what to expect before and after as you consider scheduling surgery to have your breast implants removed.
How is Breast Implant Removal Surgery Performed?
Breast implant removal is an aesthetic procedure that seeks to reverse breast augmentation. The surgeon performs the surgery under general anesthesia. It takes around three hours total. In most cases, you will find yourself returning home the same day, though you should get a helper to drive you.
The process is relatively straightforward and has several potential aims.
Only Breast Implant Removal
The surgeon will use the same incisions that were used during the original breast augmentation. If you were worried about more scarring after breast implant removal, the fact that the same augmentation incision marks are used should put you more at ease. You’ll have scars in the same locations, though they may take longer to minimize and fade.
Breast Implant Removal with Breast Lift
Some women opt to have a breast lift in addition to breast implant removal. You may decide to go this route if your breast skin has started to stretch or sag around the implant.
During an implant removal and lift, your surgeon will remove any excess breast skin before tightening the breast tissue for added support. To add symmetry to your breasts, your surgeon can resize your areolas to match your new breast shape.
Breast Implant Deflation
Saline implants can be deflated without the need for surgery. Your surgeon can use local anesthesia to deflate the breast implants right in his or her office. Depending on the results after the deflation, you may require a breast lift or breast implant replacement.
Breast Implant Revision
This is a procedure where you wish to have your breast implants removed, then replaced with a different size or shape of the implant. This is also known as an explant.
When the objective of the removal surgery is complete, your surgeon will close the incisions and cover the treatment area with bandaging as needed. Your recovery period will then begin. The surgical team will take care of you at the accredited surgical center until the anesthesia wears off.
When you feel comfortably awake following your surgery, your doctor will give you a compression garment to wear and prescription medications as needed for any discomfort you may feel during your recovery period. Someone should drive you home. Ideally, the person driving you would also stay with you for 24 hours just in case you need assistance for any reason.
How to Recover from Breast Implant Removal Surgery
Many women report that recovery following breast implant removal is much easier than the recovery following the original augmentation.
If you have also had a breast lift in addition to the implant removal, you may feel tightness and heaviness in your chest that can last for a couple of weeks afterward. Report any lingering pain to your doctor.
Be sure and take your pain medication as needed to minimize discomfort. While it is important to take it easy, try not to lounge around too much. Get up and move around often to keep your circulation flowing. Walking around the living room counts, as does a stroll to the bathroom. The better your circulation, the faster your healing experience.
Most women are back to work within five days after a breast implant removal procedure. The scars typically heal well and are inconspicuous since the same augmentation scars were used. It may take around three to four months before the scars fully heal. Over time, the tissue will fade, but it may never disappear entirely (similar to augmentation scars).
As you are recovering from your surgery, avoid lifting anything heavier than ten pounds. Avoid strenuous activity for six weeks and give your natural breasts time to settle into their new position. It may take three months or a bit longer before you are fully healed from surgery. While you await the final results of the procedure, follow your doctor’s orders. Avoid heavy lifting, wear compression garments as required, and take pain medication as prescribed.
What Risks Are Involved with Breast Implant Removal Surgery?
All surgeries come with risks. Let’s get to the minor risks of breast implant removal first.
You may experience sagging or loose skin after breast implant removal surgery. In some cases, your doctor may have to remove a significant amount of breast tissue during the procedure.
Infection is possible with any surgery. Infection can occur around the incision or inside the body cavity where the implant removal happened.
You could experience a loss of nipple sensation. Most breast augmentations use incisions under the breast or around the areola (periareolar incision). You may have already lost some sensation in your nipples if you had a periareolar incision. Even if you didn’t lose sensation before, you can experience a loss of sensation after breast implant removal surgery if taken through a nipple incision. The loss of sensation occurs when nerve endings around the nipple are cut accidentally during surgery. The nerves are ultra-tiny, which makes them difficult to see, and easy to sever. If you still have nipple sensation and wish to preserve it, you may want to think again about implant removal surgery.
All surgeries that use general anesthesia come with risks including pain, headache, backache, vomiting, and teeth pain. More serious complications can include hypothermia, hematoma, anaphylaxis, and others.
You must take into consideration the risk to your self-esteem once you take out your implants. If you received a boost of confidence after your original surgery, losing the implants could negatively affect your quality of life. You may see yourself in the mirror the first time after surgery and not like what you see. Speak to your doctor about the results you can expect following breast implant removal.
How Much Does Breast Implant Removal Cost?
Breast implant removal surgery costs, on average, $3,049, according to the ASPS. This is just the baseline cost and does include additional fees like anesthesia, surgeon’s fees, the surgical facility, prescription medications, medical equipment such as the compression garment, and medical tests. If you have to have your breast implants taken out because of pain or other medical reasons, insurance may cover your procedure.
In closing, breast implants help millions of women fit better in clothing and feel better about themselves. While breast implants are an amazing feat of cosmetic surgery science, there are cases where breast implant removal is the best option.
Now that you know the benefits, risks, and cost of breast implant removal, a consultation with an accredited surgeon can give you more information related to your specific case.
Get a more accurate quote and assistance with health insurance by scheduling a consultation with board-certified cosmetic surgeon Dr. Babak Moein at Moein Surgical Arts in Los Angeles, California. (310)694-4486