It’s no surprise that as we move through life, our preferences and options change. There’s also circumstances out of our control that may force our hands. If you’re thinking about breast implant removal surgery because you’re experiencing symptoms that may demand their removal, it’s normal to feel apprehensive about your health and about your appearance. One of the best ways to combat apprehensiveness is through information. So let’s discuss the basics of  breast implant removal. Also known as explant surgery, the removal of breast implants is a surgical procedure that removes (or explants) the implants from the breast pocket. It’s done for a number of reasons, from breast implant illness to end of their natural lifespan (it’s recommended that you replace your breast implants every 10 years to avoid any complications) to capsular contracture or rupture and even simple just change in your preferences.

Myth #1: All explant surgeries are the same.

Truth: Just like breasts, not all explant surgeries are the same, and there are generally four kinds of explant surgeries:

  • A subtotal or partial capsulectomy. A subtotal or partial capsulectomy removes only a part of the scar tissue capsule and likely replaces your implant. Additionally, your surgeon may only need a smaller incision for this type of capsulectomy.
  • A capsulectomy is the removal of the breast implant and the breast implant capsule via an incision in the capsule, where the implant is removed first, followed by the capsule. Typically, a capsulectomy is preferred when the breast implant capsule is fused to the muscle or rib cage.
  • Total capsulectomy. A total capsulectomy removes all of the scar tissue capsule, including the scar tissue lining around the implant, and very likely the implant as well, and involves removing the implant first, followed by the capsule.
  • En Bloc Capsulectomy. An en-bloc capsulectomy removes the entire capsule, including the enclosed implant, at the same time and in one-piece.

Myth #2: Your breasts will look deflated after your explant surgery.

Truth: A big reason to always choose an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon for the removal of your breast implants is to ensure you love your breasts after explant surgery. You may need an explant surgery with lift, where your surgeon performs a breast lift along with your breast implant removal to maintain a perky, youthful shape and position to the breasts. Another option to consider is a fat transfer breast augmentation: a two-fold process that takes excess, unwanted fat from one part of the body through liposuction and injects it into the breast to achieve an enhanced size and shape.

Myth #3: You’ll have a lot of scarring after your explant surgery.

Truth: If you’re concerned about scaring, rest assured that Dr. Barrett has developed detailed scar management protocols and closure techniques to reduce visible scarring for his patients. Following the removal of your explant surgical stitches, you’ll likely be instructed to tape your incisions for a period of time. Upon completion, it’s recommended that you begin using scar gel. Skinuva® is surgical scar healing cream that’s backed by science and uses highly selective growth factors which are shown to be twice as effective as silicone cream.

Myth #4: Recovery from explant surgery is easier/harder than breast implant surgery.

Truth: Actually, you can expect a similar recovery with your breast explant surgery as you did with your breast augmentation surgery: three days of solid downtime and relative downtime for at least two weeks. You’ll likely experience soreness, swelling, bruising and sensitivity for a few weeks, but it should subside enough within the first few days to allow you to return to most of your activities without significant discomfort. Most patients can return to light activities within one week and more strenuous exercise after about six weeks. You may also notice you don’t feel mentally like yourself after your explant surgery—don’t worry, it’s completely normal to feel some anxiety and even depression the first week or two following your surgery.

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