What to Expect After Breast Implant Removal

What to Expect After Breast Implant Removal

Plastic surgeon removing breast implants from patient.

Breast implant removal (“explant”) is a popular procedure in our breast practice. We often consult with women who have had their implants for many years and feel they don’t want or need them anymore. Some of the most common reasons that our patients decide to remove their implants include:

  • Weight gain over time- now feeling too large
  • Breast tissue drooping with age
  • Implant rupture – usually beyond 12-15 years
  • Capsular contracture
  • Pain or discomfort

Breast Implant Removal Options

If you’ve had your implants for a relatively short period of time and don’t have much droop, you may be a candidate for simple implant removal.

If you’ve gained weight and have more droop than you like, it’s a popular choice to remove implants and rearrange the breast tissue with a lift. You probably have more breast tissue now than you did when you got your implants so we will have more to work with. Sometimes we will add fat graft to plump up the upper part of the breast after the implant is removed.

If your silicone gel implant has ruptured, or if you’ve developed thick or tight scar tissue around your implants making them feel hard, we’ll probably recommend removing the capsule along with the implant. Recent studies have shown conclusively that capsules do not need to be removed unless these conditions exist.

Will I need to go to the operating room?

If your situation is uncomplicated and you simply want to remove your saline or gel implants, we can offer simple removal in the office procedure room under local anesthesia. This involves a 30-minute procedure and a small incision and is tolerated very well. You can even drive home!

If we need to remove the capsule or rearrange your breast tissue with a lift or if your implant is ruptured, we’ll recommend a trip to the operating room under anesthesia so we can get you the best result.

Avoiding Strenuous Activities

If you have a simple explant under local anesthesia in the office procedure room, you’ll have minimal restrictions after a few days. If you have a more involved procedure such as a capsulectomy or breast lift at the same time as your explant, you’ll need to avoid strenuous activity for the first 2 weeks to avoid bleeding. This includes lifting objects over 10 pounds, such as toddlers and pets. We’ll give you a detailed timeline for when you can gradually return to your regular activities as you heal.

Adjusting Emotionally After Surgery

Breast implant removal can be a big decision, meaning it may have an impact on your emotions afterward. If you’ve had your implants for a long time, it can be a big body image change to have them removed. On the other hand, many women (especially those who have gained weight over time or had problems with their implants such as pain or rupture) feel a sense of relief and freedom after their implants are out. Often patients are pleasantly surprised at how good their breasts can look without implants.

Schedule a Consultation

Each woman’s implant situation is different and we’ll often have multiple options for you to consider. Give us a call or fill out our online form to request more information.