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What to Expect from Breast Implant Removal Surgery

For women with breast implants, it’s important to have them replaced usually between 10 to 15 years. While some women may choose to have a breast implant revision, replacing the implants with a different size or shape, some women choose breast implant removal, also called explant. If you’re considering this procedure, our Raleigh plastic surgeon is sharing a closer look at what you can expect from having your implants taken out.

What Does a Breast Implant Removal Procedure Involve?

Whether you’ve experienced a complication, such as painful scar tissue, or you’re simply ready to have them removed, the process is generally the same:

  • Anesthesia is administered;
  • An incision will be made either along the inframammary fold (under the breast) or around the areola. Often, your plastic surgeon can use the original incision from your augmentation procedure to minimize scarring;
  • The breast implants are removed from the breast capsule, which is a “pocket” made of fibrous scar tissue the body creates around a foreign material. Often, the capsule is removed too.
  • The incisions are closed and covered as needed, then you’ll recover as the anesthesia wears off.

Once you’re in recovery, prior to leaving, you will be sent home with the appropriate compression garments (included in the cost of your surgery) and prescription medications as needed. Since you’ll be coming out of anesthesia and will be on pain medication, you’ll need someone to drive you home after your surgery and stay with you for at least 24 hours. We cannot let patients drive themselves home following surgery.

Initial Recovery After Having Implants Removed

The first few days after your surgery, make sure you stay on top of your pain medication to minimize discomfort. It’s important to take it easy, but still get up from time to time, like walking to the kitchen or the restroom, and sitting up. Most people are back to work after three or four days.

You’ll receive in-depth instruction for changing bandages, cleaning incision sites, showering, and other post-op activities, and it’s important to avoid taking baths, swimming, or using a hot tub for two weeks following surgery. You can shower the next day, though. While complications are extremely rare, Dr. Ortiz, or your plastic surgeon, will discuss how to minimize risk of infection and complications.

Long Term Recovery After Breast Implant Removal

It’s normal to experience soreness, tenderness, and sensitivity as you recover from your breast implant removal surgery for around six weeks. While you can go about your day fairly normally after three or four days following the procedure, it’s important to avoid the following activities for at least six weeks:

  • Lifting over five to ten pounds;
  • Exercising or working out (besides minimal walking);
  • Sleeping on your stomach or side;

At around the six week mark, you’ll have a post-op appointment with your plastic surgeon who will clear you for exercise and other activities. Also, for about two to three weeks following the procedure, it’s important to wear a compression bra to allow tissues to shrink back and maintain the shape and lift of the breasts after the surgery.

What Kind of Results Can You Expect?

While every woman’s results are different, the shape and condition of how your breasts will look after explantation depends on the size of your breasts prior to augmentation, the size of the implants, and what kind of changes your body has gone through during the time you’ve had them. Weight loss or gain, pregnancy, and menopause all play a role in the size, shape, and elasticity of breast tissue and skin.

Women with smaller implants will likely experience less sagging and drooping, whereas larger implants may have stretched the skin, which can lead to more pronounced sagging. Additionally, older women or women who have gone through more significant weight and hormonal changes will have less collagen and elasticity to the skin, and thus will be less likely to “bounce back,” so to speak.

If you are having a larger implant removed or are concerned with drooping and sagging, a breast lift can be performed in conjunction with removal, so you can still feel confident in your body and appearance.

Schedule a Consultation for Breast Implant Removal Surgery

If you would like to learn more about breast implant removal surgery and get personalized advice, schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Ortiz, today. Call our office at (919) 532-2270 or fill out our contact form today to learn more.