Breast Implant Removal / Replacement
Women were likely excited when they first got their breast implants, and enjoyed the increased size and fullness they had desired before they underwent surgery. But after many years of use, some women might think that now is the right time for an upgrade or a refresh. Some patients might also develop reservations about the look of their old implants and desire a revision, while others may have concerns about breast implant related illnesses (BII). No matter your reasons, breast implant removal surgery, also known as explant surgery, will help you achieve your goals.
Dr. Carl Pearl begins every explant surgery with a patient’s end goal in mind. Depending on the results you seek, he will ensure that you know the facts about your implants and you are aware of all your options after your implants have been removed so you can still enjoy an aesthetically pleasing outcome.
What is Breast Implant Removal?
Breast implant removal, also known as explant surgery, is a surgical procedure that extracts the implants from the breast pocket. In some cases, this can be a very straightforward procedure, where the surgeon performing the implant removal can use the same incision locations as the original implant surgery, eliminating the need for additional scarring after your procedure. However, when there are additional complications such as capsular contracture or implant ruptures, it can become more involved.
Depending on the specifications of the surgery, there can be multiple outcomes, which is why it is extremely important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with the technical know-how and experience to perform your explantation surgery. When breast implant removal is performed by an experienced breast surgeon like Dr. Pearl, the results are usually highly satisfying. Depending on your goals for the procedure, this surgery can be performed alone or in conjunction with another treatment, such as new implant replacement, fat transfer or a breast lift/mastopexy.
Reasons for Breast Implant Removal
Women opt to have their implants removed for a variety of reasons:
While implants are considered medical devices that don’t have an expiration date, most implants have a lifespan of about 10 to 20 years inside the body.
Some women opt for implant removal for cosmetic reasons. As time goes on, patients may feel that their old implants no longer suit their body. Many women received large implants when they were young because they were trying to avoid needing a breast lift. As time goes on, their breasts are simply too large for them. Age, pregnancy and breastfeeding may have taken its toll on the breast tissue surrounding a woman’s implants, and she may no longer be satisfied with the size or shape of her breasts and wants to make a change. If your implants are making you feel self-conscious about your breasts, it might be time for a change. Dr. Pearl will consider your goals to help you determine whether this would involve the use of brand new implants, a breast lift, breast fat transfer or a combination of these procedures.
Pain Or Discomfort
If your implants are causing you any pain or discomfort, implant removal can help relieve this. Soreness or even greater pain around the implant site can be due to scar tissue build-up or capsular contracture, or even implants that are too large for the body. Others may find the additional weight on the chest leads to neck and shoulder strain. If your implants are making you feel uncomfortable, implant removal may be a way to rectify your issues. Dr. Pearl will assess your anatomy and overall goals to determine whether or not downsizing might be the best option for you, and whether incorporating fat transfer to the breasts can create a more natural result.
Capsular formation around any type of implant, is an entirely natural part of post-surgical recovery. The body’s automatic reaction to a foreign body is to isolate it through the generation of a barrier or capsule. In most cases, this is a positive thing as it helps to keep breast implants in place, while the breasts still appear entirely natural and remain soft to the touch. However, when the capsule contracts and becomes firm it can become unusually hard, distorting the look of the breasts, or even contracting around the breasts and causing pain. At this point it becomes important to address it. The only way to ease the symptoms of capsular contracture is to remove the implants and the scar tissue surrounding them.
Implant ruptures are another reason why women might consider surgery to remove their implants. When a rupture occurs in a saline implant, the effects are noticeable almost immediately as the breasts will take on a ‘deflated’ appearance. Although the rupture of a silicone implant may not be immediately visible, it is imperative that after a ‘silent’ rupture occurs, the implant should be removed relatively quickly to prevent the silicone from spreading to other areas of the body. While most patients who experience a silicone implant rupture do not experience any symptoms, when symptoms are present they may include uncomfortable sensations such as the formation of lumps or hard knots or sometimes even changes to the appearance of the breasts.
Implant Rippling And Palpability
Patients with insufficient breast tissue, or who have lost significant amounts of weight, may notice wrinkles or ripples from their implants appear on their skin. Palatability occurs when these wrinkles can be felt when you touch your breast. If modest weight gain is not enough to reduce the look and feel of implant rippling, Dr. Pearl can work with patients to reposition an implant, change the type of implant used, or address any loose or stretched out skin.
Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
While ALCL has been associated with certain types of textured breast implants, it is important to note that the total number of cases of this exceptionally rare breast disease are around a thousand worldwide, out of millions of implants used. Still, patients who are concerned about their risks should schedule a consultation with Dr. Pearl if they desire to remove their implants. Patients who experience this rare cancer can rest assured that it can typically be completely cured by removing both their implants and the surrounding scar pockets. Dr. Pearl performs En Bloc or Total Capsulectomy surgery for these patients to ensure that both the implants and any surrounding tissue that was in contact with the implants are removed as well.
Creating Beautiful Breasts After Implant Removal
When you choose an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon for your breast implant removal, you are making a choice that gives you the best chance of having beautiful breasts after removal of your implants. Dr. Pearl will assess your situation and listen to your goals to ensure your outcome meets your needs and expectations. He may advise you to have a breast lift in conjunction with implant removal to maintain a perky, youthful shape and position to the breasts. Another option is to use fat transfer to add a subtle amount of natural fullness to the breasts after the implants are removed. If you want to replace your implants, Dr. Pearl has the skill and expertise to help you select new implants that will fit your ideal body shape and mesh beautifully with the rest of your body proportions.