Everything You Need to Know About Breast Implant Removal

There are several reasons why some people have their breast implants removed. When you undergo breast augmentation surgery, you’re probably not thinking about whether you will get your breast implants removed. You’re far too busy enjoying your new assets. Let’s talk about everything you need to know about breast implant removal. 

Why Do You Need to Remove Breast Implants?

Breast implant removal reverses breast augmentation. It involves removing the breast implants or adjusting the size or shape of the implants. Ultimately, you will need to remove your breast implants to either replace, reposition, or remove the implants entirely. 

While most implants last between 10 to 15 years, some patients choose to remove implants before this because of one of the following reasons: 

  • No longer happy with the size of the implants 
  • Infection 
  • Implant complications like ruptures, leaks, or capsular contracture 
  • Medical necessity i.e. undergoing breast cancer treatment 
  • Breast Implant Illness symptoms and pain related to the implants 
  • Tissue death around the implant 
  • Movement of one or both of the implants
  • A buildup of calcium deposits around the breast implants 

It’s perfectly normal to remove breast implants for non-medical reasons too. Perhaps you are no longer happy with the size. They could be too large or too small for your body. Maybe your lifestyle has changed, or natural changes in the body from ageing or pregnancy have left you unhappy with the appearance of your breasts. Whether your breast implants have reached the end of their lifecycle or you’re no longer happy with your breast augmentation results, there are several reasons why patients choose to remove their breast implants. 

How Does Breast Implant Removal Work? 

The breast implant removal procedure is performed under general anaesthetic. The procedure can take between 1 to 3 hours, depending on the technique used. You can remove the breast implants, replace them or combine the procedure with a breast lift if necessary. 

In general, you can expect your surgeon to make an incision where your implants were initially inserted. They will then remove your implant. If your implant has leaked or ruptured, they will also remove the breast capsule and anywhere the implant has leaked. The incisions are then closed, dressed, and the procedure is completed. 

The surgery itself is similar to breast augmentation, as your surgeon uses the same existing scars for the incisions. If you wish to replace your implants, your plastic surgeon would then repair the implant pocket and insert new implants. 

It’s normal to wonder if you will be flat after breast implant removal. After all, your surgeon is removing your implants. The outcome can depend on a few different factors. For some patients, a breast lift will help to place your breasts in a more youthful position after removing implants. If you take the breast implants out, it can leave the area looking a little deflated and smaller. This is why many patients combine it with an uplift. 

Another option is to think about breast augmentation fat transfer. Your surgeon will use liposuction to take fat from one part of the body and inject it into the breasts. There’s no need for implants and it can give you a natural-looking size increase. You can also combine breast fat transfer or breast implants with a breast lift. This is called augmentation-mastopexy.

Breast Implant Removal Before and After 

Breast implant removal and fat transfer from tummy and thighs
Before and after hybrid breast augmentation, breast implant removal, breast fat transfer, and uplift at The Harley Clinic, London

Breast Implant Removal Recovery Timeline 

Recovery can differ from person to person, but recovery from breast implant removal generally tends to be smoother than the original breast augmentation procedure. If you combine breast implant removal with new breast implants or a breast lift, then the recovery time will be similar to your original procedure. Here’s what to expect after breast implant removal. 

You will need to take at least 1 or 2 weeks off work to rest and recover. After your procedure, you will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours. 

Initially, you may experience some bruising, swelling, and pain. But after a couple of weeks, you will start to feel like yourself again and back to normal. You can then begin to return to work and light exercise. After 4-6 weeks, you should be back to your full strength and everyday activities, including more strenuous exercise like lifting weights at the gym. 

For optimal recovery, here are some useful tips:

  • Follow a healthy diet with plenty of protein and whole fruit and vegetables 
  • Reduce salt in your diet
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Avoid smoking as this can hinder the healing process 
  • Get moving after surgery with a gentle walk around the house 

During your breast implant removal recovery, you will need to wear a compression bra. It’s not just after breast enlargement you need to wear one. As you have surgical incisions where your implants were removed, it’s crucial that you keep your breasts in one spot while they heal. A post-surgical bra that clasps at the front is the best option as it’s easy to slip on and off during recovery. Compression is an important part of the healing process and helps to reduce swelling. 

What Are the Risks Involved with Breast Implant Removal? 

Like any surgery, there are some risks and side effects involved with breast implant removal, such as: 

  • Pain 
  • Swelling
  • Scarring 
  • Skin discolouration 
  • Nerve damage 
  • Fluid accumulation 
  • Anaesthetic complications like infection and nausea 

Removing your breast implants is often a personal choice or necessary for medical reasons. Whatever your reason for removing your implants, make sure to speak to an experienced and qualified plastic surgeon who can guide you safely and effectively on this journey. 

If you’re worried about your breast implants or are no longer happy with your results, book a consultation today at our Harley Street plastic surgery clinic. Talk through your options and ask plenty of questions about your breast implant removal to determine if it’s the right path for you. 

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