What Can I Expect From Breast Implant Removal Surgery?

Not every cosmetic procedure is a success, especially when years go by and the body changes. There are a number of reasons why people might want to revise or even reverse earlier surgeries, including poor initial results, body changes that work against the original surgery’s intended purpose or just a change in point of view about one’s body. Our Atlantic Coast Aesthetics Question of the Week is concerned with exactly this problem. The patient from North Palm Beach tweeted, “What can I expect from breast implant removal surgery?” Dr. Pane wanted to address this question because people are often surprised at just how easy this type of surgery can be, as well as make the point that no cosmetic surgery results can be expected to last forever.

First, Dr. Pane stressed that breast implants are not a lifetime surgery. Most implants can be expected to last between 5-10 years before they need to be replaced or removed, less if they are damaged in some way. Most of the problems that develop with breast implants, barring accident or damage, are usually associated with changes in the patient’s body as gravity and time do their work. Pregnancy, weight gain and loss and other changes can affect how the implant functions over time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that breast implants may perform better or not so well over time depending upon their composition. Fat-transfer breast augmentation is one method that can help prevent this, as saline and to a lesser extent silicone can deflate and leak over time. This becomes most noticeable when the patient attempts to compress the breast/s and they flatten instead of resuming their normal shape and contour.

Third, Dr. Pane observes that breast implants can cause thinning of the surrounding breast tissue. From a medical and mammary function standpoint, this is not a big deal. However, from an aesthetic point of view, it may necessitate doing a breast lift at the same time as the implant removal procedure to help minimize sagging and other possible problems. This is something that can really only be properly evaluated during a clinical consultation, or as a very distant second best by looking at photographs of the breasts to understand how, where and to what degree the implant has affected the tissue.

If this is the case, a breast lift is usually best done simultaneously with the implant removal. The reason for this is simple: Since the surgeon is already inside the breast, it is far easier to do both procedures at one time and have one healing and recovery period than to remove the implants, allow time for that to heal and then make new incisions which start the healing clock all over again. Despite this, many patients prefer to simply have the implants removed, and Dr. Pane says that from a pure health standpoint, this is perfectly fine.

Many patients react well to implant removal procedures, experiencing far less discomfort after surgery than they expected. This is because it is placing the implants under the pectoral musculature that causes pain. Removing them is, as a rule, far less painful than having them put in. As with any other cosmetic surgical procedure, some aftercare and caution in lifting, bending and doing similar activities is indicated. For the procedure itself, many patients can undergo the removal under local anesthesia in an office setting as an outpatient surgery with very little soreness or other associated problems. The biggest variable here would be how thin the breast tissue has become and whether or not a breast lift is also required, because that may change how the patient tolerates the procedure.

Proper aftercare for breast implant placement or removal includes avoiding activities such as deep bending, jumping or similar activities. These can place strain on the sutures that hold the incisions together. In addition, patients should avoid alcohol because of its blood-thinning properties, smoking, direct sunlight and extended soaking, such as in a bathtub or at the beach. By following these precautions, most patients enjoy a reasonably pain-free recovery from breast implant removal procedures.

If you have a question regarding anything to do with cosmetic surgery, the friendly, helpful staff of ACA are always here and willing to assist you. Send us an email at http://acplasticsurg.com, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or call us at (561) 422-4116. There’s even a chance that your question might be answered in an upcoming live Google Hangout by Dr. Thomas A. Pane, our Chief Medical Officer and founder, personally. Remember, at ACA we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!

 

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*Individual results may vary

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