Breast implants do not last forever. On average, saline-filled implants last about 15 years, and silicone implants may last a little longer. When an implant leaks, most women have both implants replaced. Some women, however, decide to have them removed and not have new implants placed. Today we also see women who are concerned that their implants are causing problems for them. It’s not uncommon for a woman to choose to remove her breast implants altogether. This procedure is referred to as breast explantation. If you’re considering having your breast implants removed, you may be interested in some of the details of this process.
What Does a Breast Implant Removal Procedure Involve?
The explant procedure generally involves the following steps regardless of the reason for implant removal.
- In most cases the patient receives general anesthesia, meaning she will be asleep for the procedure. In some circumstances, the procedure may be done using only local anesthesia.
- An incision is made. Usually the the same incision that was used in the original breast augmentation procedure is used again. This may be around the areola or along the crease beneath the breasts. In most cases there are no new scars.
- The surgeon removes the breast implants from the scar tissue envelope (“capsule”) that surrounds them. The capsule itself may also be removed (called a capsulectomy).
- Depending on the size of breast implants and the condition of the skin, the surgeon may perform a breast lift to restore optimal shape.
- Incisions are closed and dressings are placed.
- The procedure is done as an outpatient; the woman typically goes home about an hour after the procedure ends.
Recovery after Explant Surgery
The recovery after breast explant surgery may be similar to that of breast augmentation. It is important to walk around the house several times a day; in most cases women are encouraged to walk around the neighborhood as well. Patients are often back to work in about a week, but will have certain activity restrictions that they must follow. For example, patients may shower the day after their procedure but must refrain from using a hot tub or swimming for about four weeks after surgery.
Tenderness, soreness, and sensitivity may occur after breast implant removal. These sensations can last a few weeks but get better day by day. To help minimize these issues, patients are instructed to avoid strenuous exercise and lifting objects over 10 pounds, and are also encouraged to try to sleep on their back.
We understand that there are several reasons women may choose to have breast implants removed. If you are ready to explore this treatment option, we’re here to guide you through the process. Contact our Fort Worth office at 817.335.5200 to schedule an appointment.