What to Know Before a Breast Implant Removal

What Is a Breast Implant Removal?

The goal of breast implant removal surgery is to remove breast implants from breast augmentation or breast reconstruction patients. During these procedures, the surgeon may also remove silicone material from implant rupture and the breast capsule, which is the scar tissue that forms naturally after the placement of a breast implant.

Why Is This Procedure Usually Done?

Often, the scar tissue that forms after the placement of an implant is soft and does not need to be removed, but it may harden, causing pain and discomfort. This is often a reason to have the implants and scar tissue removed.

Breast implants are not lifelong devices, and it is important to have them exchanged or removed approximately every 10-20 years. This decision is typically based on the individual and the patient’s needs and desires.

In some cases, the outside shell of the implant breaks down causing silicone to leak and the scar tissue around the implant to harden. It is important to understand that your implants should be removed for this reason.

What To Expect During Surgery

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Your doctor and anesthesiologist will recommend the best choice for you.

A breast implant removal requires an incision to be placed along the lower fold of your breast (the inframammary fold) or an incision around or below the areola.  Almost always, already existent incisions/scars are used to gain access to the implants.

The breast capsules and implants are removed using a combination of techniques.

Sutures, skin adhesives, and tapes close the skin incisions.

Your breast implant removal will result in a different shape of the breast profile, which may be flatter or droopier than before surgery and have irregularities and/or indentations. You may also notice that the breast can take on a different shape with indentations depending on how much scar tissue was produced around your implants.

The Recovery Process

Following your breast implant removal surgery, you will have surgical site dressings and you may have drains. You will be placed in a compression support bra used to minimize swelling following surgery.

Drains are small, thin tubes temporarily placed under the skin within the pocket to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.

You will be given specific instructions that may include:

  • How to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery
  • Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
  • Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
  • When to follow up with your plastic surgeon

Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling decreases. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.