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Breast Implant Removal

The topic of breast implant removal is often shrouded in mystery and misinformation. Conventional wisdom in plastic surgery training has been that breast implants should not be removed without being replaced by other breast implants except in only the most dire of circumstances. The reasoning behind this was that the breast, following the removal of the breast implant, would be flat and wrinkled and look like an empty, crumpled sock. In my experience in over 20 years of plastic surgery practice, this has not been the reality. Breasts are commonly quite resilient and typically return to an acceptable shape after implant removal. If additional volume, lift or reshaping is desired after removal, patients can choose to add smaller implants or undergo a breast lift.

Why Remove Breast Implants?

Women who are considering breast implant removal may desire it for a variety of reasons. For some women, there may have been a period in their lives where they wanted large breasts and now they no longer do. They have, as they say, “been there, done that.” For others, a variety of common breast augmentation complications such as persistent asymmetry or recurrent capsular contracture may be the reason. And for others, it may simply be a desire to remove the “foreign material” and feel more natural. Whatever the reason, removing breast implants typically can be done safely.

What Can I Expect from Breast Implant Removal?

Breast implant removal is associated with almost no pain and generally requires minimal recovery. In the vast majority of patients, simply removing the breast implants results in a breast form that is much better than what is predicted by historical anecdotes, and no further surgery is generally desired or required. Most patients who have been considering breast implant removal for some period of time often express a tremendous psychological relief following removal of their breast implants.

Can I Combine Breast Implant Removal with Breast Lift or Smaller Implants?

In some cases a secondary procedure may be desired following implant removal. This may involve a breast lift at the time of the breast implant removal or it may involve putting in a smaller breast implant with or without a lift at some point in time after the breast implants have been removed. In patients who have had very large breast implants and are unsure if they want to be without implants, staging the operation in two procedures can be beneficial. The breast implants can be removed at one surgery and the patient can see and live for a period of time without their breast implants. This can also allow for the breast implant capsule and breast skin to shrink down, typically making the replacement with smaller breast implants more predictable. If the patient then decides they prefer to have small breast implants, the implant can be more reliably placed.

Women considering removal of their breast implants should discuss all of these options, the pros and cons, with their board certified plastic surgeon. During a consultation, a surgeon can examine the breasts and develop a treatment strategy for addressing the patient’s needs and aesthetic goals. Plastic surgeons with experience performing implant removal procedures will typically be the most knowledgeable in discussing potential outcomes and most capable of producing optimal results.

Contact Weston Plastic Surgery

Our plastic surgeon Robert Rothfield, MD is highly skilled in all types of cosmetic breast surgery and has extensive experience with breast implant removal. For more information about breast implant removal or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rothfield, please contact us today.

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on November 27, 2014.

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