It’s easy to think that we’ll always want something, especially when what we want involves a major, life-altering decision. But we’re always growing and evolving, and that means sometimes what goes in, must come out. In the case of breast augmentation, breast implant removal, also known as explant surgery, is a surgical procedure that removes (or explants) the implants from the breast pocket. If you’re thinking of having breast implant removal surgery, there are several things you should keep top of mind for your plastic surgery consultation.

  1. Any symptoms you may be experiencing. Things like hair loss, weight loss and chronic fatigue which may or may not be caused by your implants, so it’s important to discuss these symptoms with both your plastic surgeon and your primary care physician to rule out any other conditions.
  2. How long you’ve had your implants. Most implants have a lifespan of about 10 to 20 years inside the body, however Dr. Barrett (and the FDA) recommend replacing your breast implants every 10 years to avoid any complications.
  3. How they look. We’re constantly evolving, and with that comes evolving tastes and preferences. If you feel your implants no longer fit who you are today, that’s OK! Life, pregnancy and breastfeeding may have changed the way your breast implants look.
  4. Any pain or discomfort. If your implants are causing you any pain or discomfort, it can be due to scar tissue build-up, breast implants that are too large for your body, or additional weight on your chest causing neck and shoulder strain.
  5. Signs of capsular contracture. Breast implant capsular contracture is a complication that occurs when the scar tissue that usually forms around your implant to help keep it in place, instead tightens and squeezes the implant, potentially resulting in chronic pain and a distorted breast shape, making the affected breast rise higher on the chest than the other.
  6. A rupture. Be sure to note any signs of a silicone breast implant rupture; things like burning, tingling or numbness, the formation of lumps or hard knots and changes to the appearance of the breasts.
  7. Weight loss. If you’ve lost significant amounts of weight you may notice wrinkles or ripples on your skin from your implant. You may also notice palatability, which is when you can feel these wrinkles when you touch your breast. Your plastic surgeon can work with you to reposition an implant, change the type of implant used, or address any loose or stretched out skin.

What do breasts look like after implants are removed?

Another reason to always choose an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon for the removal of your breast implants is to ensure you love your new results. You may need 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.

What to expect after breast implant removal?

You can expect a similar recovery with your breast implant removal surgery as you did with your breast augmentation surgery: three days of solid downtime and relative downtime for at least two weeks. You can expect 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. To ensure you have the best possible outcome, Dr. Barrett has curated a breast augmentation recovery kit to set his breast augmentation and breast implant removal patients up for surgical success with the least amount of down time and discomfort possible.

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