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Breast Implant Explantation

Breast Implant Explantation

Breast Implant Explantation surgery is removal of the breast implants from breast augmentation or breast reconstruction patients. This decision to have implants removed is based on the individual’s needs and desires, and is not always medically indicated. The scar tissue that forms after the placement of an implant is typically soft and does not need to be removed, but it may harden over time, causing pain and discomfort. This hardening of the capsule, known as capsular contracture, is often a reason to have the implants and scar tissue removed. The surgeon may also remove silicone material from implant leaks, which may or may not be contained within the breast capsule. Breast implants are not lifelong devices and many patients decide to have their implants exchanged or removed after 10-15 years. This decision is typically based on the individual’s needs and desires, and is not always medically indicated.

Breast Implant Explantation Considerations

Breast implant removal surgery is a highly individualized procedure. It is performed if you have capsular contracture (hardening of the breast), pain with implants, imaging confirmed leak/rupture of a saline/silicone implant, and/or no longer desire implants for personal reasons.

In general, you may be a good candidate for breast implant removal if:

  • You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
  • You have realistic expectations
  • You are a non-smoker
  • You are bothered by the appearance of your implants
  • You have experienced discomfort or pain
  • You feel your breasts are too heavy
  • You are starting to feel your breast scar tissue is getting harder or tighter
  • Imaging suggests a leak or rupture of implants
  • You have experienced a rupture or leak of implants

If you’re considering surgery, it is important to understand that your breast aesthetics will change to your baseline volume (before implants). There will be some skin contraction and recoil, as the breast settles, however it is unpredictable the amount of breast skin contraction. Some may decide to undergo a concurrent mastopexy (breast lift) or may wish to have a lifting procedure done as a staged procedure.

What To Expect With Breast Explantation Surgery

Breast Implant Explantation is performed as an outpatient procedure at a private surgical facility. Immediately after surgery, you will be taken into a recovery area for close monitoring and will be permitted to go home with a responsible adult when you are stable for discharge, typically after an hour. It is important that you have someone that will stay with you for the first 24 hours. There will be a gauze dressing over the incisions which can be left on for up to two weeks. Patients can start to shower the next day after surgery. You will receive a prescription for pain medication and antibiotics before or on the day of surgery. It is recommended that you set an alarm for the first two days of surgery every 4-6 hours so that you remember to take your pain medication regularly. You will be given detailed postoperative instructions that you should follow carefully.

In general, most women recover well over the first week, and we provide you with all the medication and supplies to help you through this process. When thinking about time off work, or away from social commitments, 2 weeks is most likely a safer window of down time. You will have some comfort garments provided to help you through the recovery period. Heavy lifting and strenuous exercise should be avoided for 4 weeks. Scar tape and massage of the incision is used for the first 6 weeks. All stitches used are dissolvable and are placed under the skin so there are no stitches to remove. It is important to realize that the final scar varies between individuals and is highly dependent on a person’s genetic predisposition. The incisions continue to fade over the first year, and all the important things you can do to help optimize your results are reviewed during your follow-up visits.

Possible Complications

Possible complications include unfavourable scarring, hematoma (blood collection), seroma (fluid collection), sensory changes to the nipple, breast or nipple asymmetry, infection, nipple necrosis, DVT and PE. These risks are low and will be explained to you by Dr. Ho during your consultation.