There are many reasons one might choose breast implant removal surgery — from the simple desire for a change to issues with implant rippling or health problems such as capsular contracture (fibrous scar tissue around an implant and other complications) or breast cancer. And while most patients keep their breast implants for many years, breast implant removal can come as a great relief for many women.
The question is: What happens after breast implant removal? Naturally, patients have questions about what their breasts will look like and whether they’ll have breast explant scars after breast implant removal surgery.
And the answer is: It depends because you have a number of options for this surgery. Depending on your unique anatomy, overall health, and aesthetic desires, there are essentially 5 different ways you can go.
Popular Reconstruction Options After Explant Surgery
#1 – New Breast Implants
Many explant patients are interested in upgrading and having their old implants replaced. Some patients may have gotten saline breast implants many years ago and are ready to take the next step and get silicone implants, which tend to look more natural.
Others want to increase or decrease the overall size of their breasts. Some patients liked the idea of having extra large breasts years ago, but now, they want a more modest and natural appearance and are seeking smaller implants.
There are a wide variety of implant options available. You can choose from round or teardrop shaped, saline or silicone, low or high profile, etc.
#2 – Fat Transfer
When a patient has relatively good skin elasticity and not much excess drooping of the tissue, a fat transfer after implant removal may be ideal.
With a fat transfer procedure, fat is first removed from other “trouble spots” on the body. So, say, for instance, that you’ve always wanted to slim your upper arms because you have some extra fat there. Your plastic surgeon would ideally be able to reduce the fat in your upper arms with liposuction and then repurpose that fat on the top poles of your breasts, so that your breasts appear higher and fuller.
For many women, a fat transfer is the ideal solution after implant removal. It allows you to have fuller looking breasts without implants, plus you get the added benefit of liposuction elsewhere on your body. Just keep in mind that there is a limit to how much fat can be transferred to the breasts before complications may arise.
#3 – Breast Lift
Breast implant removal often leads to flat, pancake-looking breasts, which are undesirable for most women. This can occur simultaneously with weight loss as well.
A breast lift (also called mastopexy) is the ideal procedure for many of these women because it’s often not that they have a lack of breast tissue, but that the skin has been stretched. There also may be excess skin with some drooping and downturned nipples as well.
A lift is going to literally lift the breasts, lift the areolae and nipples, remove the excess skin and tissue, and give you a much perkier look without needing implants. Mastopexy surgery does not boost the volume of your breasts, but it does improve your overall profile by lifting everything higher on the chest wall.
#4 – Breast Reduction
Select patients will still feel like they have too much breast volume even after they have their implants removed. For these patients, we are happy to perform breast reduction surgery.
This surgery is going to remove excess skin, fat, and tissue. The procedure often relieves patients who have struggled with chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain. It can also correct other common problems such as skin chafing and the chronic issue of having trouble finding comfortable bras and clothing.
#5 – Implant Removal and Nothing Else
Finally, there are some patients who will simply want to have their breast implants taken out nothing else. We are, of course, happy to provide this service. It works well for many women who feel comfortable with how their profile looks after surgery and do not wish to alter their appearance in any way.
Often, we like to discuss this option with patients as a “wait and see approach”. At your consultation appointment, we can decide to have your breast implants removed, allow you to recover fully from the breast implant removal surgery, and then revisit the idea of a possible lift, fat transfer, or similar procedure in several weeks or months.
You can see how you look and feel after having the implants removed and then decide how you want to move forward.
FAQ: Breast Implant Removal
Will I be flat after breast implant removal?
Most patients will see a flatter appearance in their breasts after implant removal. However, the extent of the flatness and droopiness will depend on how much breast tissue the patient naturally has and the quality and elasticity of their skin.
You can get an idea of how patients may look after this surgery by looking at breast implant removal before and after photos.
What are the side effects of breast implant removal surgery?
After breast implant removal side effects include soreness, sensitivity, swelling, bruising, and tenderness. These symptoms should go away within one to two months.
How much is breast implant removal?
To get an accurate estimate on your breast implant removal cost, schedule a consultation appointment with your plastic surgeon.
Who is a good candidate for breast implant removal surgery?
Anyone who is unhappy with their current implants or who is experiencing medical complications due to having breast implants (ruptured implants, scar tissue around the implant, etc.) may be a good candidate for this surgery.
Will I have loose skin after breast implant removal?
Some patients — especially mature patients — will experience some loose skin after surgery. For this reason, many decide to add a breast lift or fat transfer to their procedure.
Does explant surgery use general anesthesia?
Yes, most plastic surgeons opt to use general anesthesia for implant removal surgery.
Is explant surgery an outpatient procedure?
Yes, the vast majority of patients will be able to go home on the same day as their surgery
Do I have to get new implants if an implant leaks?
Yes, you should get a new breast implant if your implant leaks. This is because the rupturing of silicone or saline implants may cause complications to your surrounding tissue.
Moreover, a saline implant that leaks and deflates will look very obvious. You’ll naturally want to get a replacement or opt for total removal.
Schedule a Consultation With Dr. Steinberg Today
If you’ve been thinking about getting your implants removed or wondering if insurance covers breast implant removal, contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ashley Steinberg today to discuss your candidacy and find out what reconstructive options would best fit you. Call today to book your consultation appointment.