With the rise in patients suffering from self-diagnosed “Breast Implant Illness,” many females choose to have their breast implants removed and others what them checked by a plastic surgeon. The on-going increase of social media awareness has debated that many women suffering from these chronic symptoms have recovered and healed after the implants’ removal. Whether its a breast implant or explant surgery, all the surgical procedures carry some sort of minor and major postoperative complications. Generally, elective surgery constitutes the minimum amount of risk. Specialized board-certified plastic surgeons try their best to perform the procedure without any adverse consequences.

This article answers all your questions about the risks and complications that can occur during  and after a surgery over a specified period.

What happens in the breast implant removal surgery?

The explant involves the removal of an implant along with the scar capsule. Scar capsule is developed as a response to a foreign implant and continues to develop over time until it causes some sort of complication. This might happen 2-3 months after the surgery until anytime in the next 10 years. As a result, the implant and/or the capsule is surgically removed. The patient’s medical history, scar, and other factors help the surgeon determine the incision type. The successful explant crosses out all the concerns such as uneven breast, stretched skin, and capsule contracture.

What are the risks and complications of the breast explant procedure?

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) revealed in research that around 45,000 females have their implant removed in 2017. Your doctor will thoroughly guide you about the surgery and associated risk before signing the consent form. Following are the adverse effects commonly associated with explant surgery:

1.Risks of general anesthesia

Early symptoms of general anesthesia could be nausea, vomiting, headache, backache. However, the late complications could be thrombosis, pneumonia, embolism, allergies, and anaphylaxis. Luckily, the risk of developing severe complications is minimal.

2. Infection

The infection often occurs around the area of the incision. Antibiotics can have a protective role by fighting the bacteria and reducing inflammations through naturally activated healing mechanisms. Your doctor will provide you with the most appropriate antibiotic to minimize any risk of infection. 

3. Sensation

Numbness and other changes might take place in the skin, nipples, and areola. 

4. Discomfort and Soreness

The removal of the implant will cause soreness to the body and slight discomfort. Don’t worry; it will go away in a couple of days. Many patients feel more comfortable after the explant surgery.

5. Bleeding 

Bleeding depends on the damage to the body tissue and blood vessels, which can be well managed by your aesthetic surgeon.

6. Loose Skin

The removal of an implant leaves the skin saggy, loose, and with a reduced volume. Some patients undergo further surgery later to lift their breasts and regain the volume.

What are the post complications of an explant?

Not every patient will develop these post complications.

  1. Fluid accumulation into the breasts
  2. Sensation and Numbness
  3. Chronic pain and delayed healing
  4. Removal of the nipple during the surgery
  5. Partial or complete loss of the nipple
  6. Permanent scars
  7. Fat necrosis
  8. Uneven breasts
  9. Undesirable aesthetic and emotional stress
  10. Further surgery might be needed for the removal of scars

Most of the patients have been pretty satisfied with their explant results. Although it is hard to tell how breast implant removal surgery will affect you because every woman has a unique body and various genetic and environmental factors play a significant role in the outcome. Therefore, it is always best to go for a thorough consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon before making any decision.

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms after the explant surgery.