Breast Implant Removal

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular of all plastic surgery procedures, with over 1.6 million breast augmentations performed worldwide in 2021. These implants aren’t permanent, however, and may require replacement or removal after 10 - 20 years.

  • Average Cost: Starting at $5,500
  • Typical Recovery Period: Six Weeks
  • Discomfort Level: Relatively Mild
  • Anesthesia Options: Local, General, or IV Sedation
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What is breast implant removal?

Breast implant removal, also called explant surgery, is done when you no longer wish to have the implants or because of complications with the implants.  You’ll find yourself a candidate for this procedure if:

  • You no longer like the look your implants give you
  • You find they hinder your lifestyle or important activities
  • One or both of your implants have sustained damage or ruptured
  • You’ve experienced a hardening of your breast due to scar tissue, or what is termed capsular contraction

What are the benefits of breast implant removal?

Patients having breast implant removal can look forward to several benefits, not the least of which is of course having faulty or unwanted implants done away with. Other benefits include the following:

  • Clearer mammogram results
  • Removed risk of implant rupture
  • Options for new implants that better suit the patient’s current aesthetic

Removing unwanted implants often helps to improve self confidence, especially for patients who have experienced breast changes or who want a fresh approach to breast augmentation, such as a different implant size or shape, or fat transfer breast augmentation.

Am I a candidate for breast implant removal?

Most patients who would like to have their breast implants removed are good candidates. Various factors, such as capsular contracture, pain, capsule leakage, or other concerns make a patient a candidate for breast implant removal.  Patients who meet the following requirements are generally ideal candidates for this procedure:

  • Are physically healthy
  • Do not smoke
  • Are not taking or can stop taking blood thinning medications
  • Are unhappy with the appearance of their breast implants
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What happens during a breast implant removal procedure?

Breast implant removal is done under general anesthesia and can take between one and three hours. Your surgeon is likely to use the same incisions made during your original breast augmentation to avoid creating additional scar tissue. There are two methods of extracting the implants: a total capsulectomy and an en bloc capsulectomy. 

Total capsulectomy is done by first removing the breast implant and then removing the capsule of scar tissue in pieces.  En bloc capsulectomy is when the implant and encapsulating tissue are removed in one piece. If a silicone implant has ruptured, an en bloc capsulectomy will prevent any silicone from leaking into the surrounding tissue. Having an en bloc capsulectomy may not be possible if the scar capsule around the implant is extremely thin or stuck to the chest wall and ribs.

What should I expect during the recovery period?

Post-explant recovery takes approximately 6 weeks, similar to the recovery time for the original implant surgery.  It is common for the surgeon to place drains underneath your skin to drain excess fluid or blood, which can be removed at a follow-up appointment a few days after surgery.  Your surgeon may also recommend wearing a supportive bra during the first few weeks after your breast implant removal.  Depending on your situation, you may be prescribed antibiotics after explant surgery.  

You'll also receive after-care instructions to be followed such as:

  • How to keep your incisions clean 
  • What medicines you need to take 
  • What activities you need to avoid and for how long 
  • When to schedule a follow-up appointment with Dr. Cho or Dr. Climov
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Why choose Integrated Aesthetics for breast implant removal?

Choosing to remove your breast implants is a decision made after careful consideration, and choosing the surgeon to perform this delicate surgery is just as important. Dr. Young Cho is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience helping patients achieve the breasts they have always wanted. 

Dr. Cho and understands that problems with breast implants can be quite concerning. After a thoughtful consultation, Dr. Cho creates an individual plan and approach for each person under his care who would like a fresh approach to their breast implants. His approach to achieving your goals is focused on bringing about natural-looking, beautiful results that meet or exceed patient expectations.  This is why Dr. Cho was recently awarded Houston’s “Top Plastic Surgeon” Curator’s Pick in 2022 by The Houston Chronicle.

Learn More About Dr. Cho

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Breast Implant Removal FAQ

How long should I wait before having a breast implant removal procedure?

Is the incision site from my breast implant reused for my implant removal?

Will a breast implant removal procedure cause more scarring?

Can anything potentially increase my risk of breast implant removal complications?

What are the general surgical risks and breast implant removal complications?

What if I develop an infection?

How long should I wait before having a breast implant removal procedure?

Patients sometimes report a sense of dissatisfaction with the results of implant surgery in the first weeks or months after the breast enlargement procedure. This is because it takes time for the breast tissue to settle and the bruising and swelling to go down.

Furthermore, it can take up to six months before you will be able to see the final results. As a result, it is suggested that you wait at least six months after having implant surgery before considering having a revision for cosmetic reasons.

Is the incision site from my breast implant reused for my implant removal?

Ideally, your surgeon will try to conceal any incisions and use the old ones from your previous operation. However, in some cases, they may have to make new incisions. Your surgeon will make every effort to ensure these are as small and discreet as possible. They will inform you where they plan to make their incisions before you have your implants removed.

Will a breast implant removal procedure cause more scarring?

Scarring is a part of any surgical operation. It happens as part of the body’s natural healing process and is difficult to avoid. Dr. Cho will try to reduce the amount of scarring from the revision procedure by trying to use the old incisions rather than making new ones.

Can anything potentially increase my risk of breast implant removal complications?

Outside of preexisting medical conditions, smoking and nicotine use can increase your risk of developing complications during or after any surgery:

  • Nicotine, which is in cigarettes and other tobacco products as well as many e-cigarettes, is a vasoconstrictor meaning it naturally reduces blood flow. Limiting blood flow to any tissue during surgery increases the likelihood of complications like tissue necrosis and infection. Limited blood flow may even increase the time it takes you to recover from breast implant removal.
  • It is strongly recommended to stop any nicotine use or smoking 6 weeks before surgery. For the best results possible, you should continue abstaining from nicotine use or smoking for at least 6 weeks after surgery as well.

What are the general surgical risks and breast implant removal complications?

Every surgery is associated with some risk.

General surgical risks and complications include:

  • Blood clots
  • Anesthetic risks
  • Allergic reaction to a surgical component (i.e. medical tape)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain

Your surgeon and their medical team will do everything possible to prevent any breast implant removal complications from developing. You may be given medication to thin your blood, control your pain or ease nausea. You may also be given compression socks or a compression bra to wear after surgery.

What if I develop an infection?

An infection can develop after any surgery. An infection will become apparent in the first 2 to 3 weeks of your recovery from breast explant. It’s important to contact our office at the first sign of infection.

In most cases, infections are mild and easily treated with a course of antibiotics. However, if allowed to continue untreated, an infection can be a serious breast implant removal complication. Infection can severely impact your health and the look of your breast explant results. Call Dr. Cho’s office immediately if you’re displaying any of the following symptoms of infection:

  • A temperature above 100.4° F
  • Redness surrounding your incision that begins to grow and spread out
  • Any foul-smelling fluid coming from the incision area
  • Pain or discomfort that can’t be controlled with painkillers

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At Integrated Aesthetics, we offer our clients many ways to accomplish their goals with us through custom treatment plans and special offers. View our Specials

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