Top 5 Things You Should Know About Breast Implant Removal Surgery
“Apart from capsular contracture, breast implant removal/ explant surgery may be required when the case falls under lifestyle changes, body contour irregularities, or personal wishes, as breast implants are not considered lifetime devices.!”
- Did you know that breast implants are designed to be long-lasting but are not considered to be lifetime devices?
- If you choose breast augmentation with implants, you should be prepared to keep with your regular annual check-ups as well as self-checks to ensure the devices are still intact.
- Did you know that breasts change over time due to hormonal shifts, ageing, pregnancy, or body weight fluctuations, and can all contribute to the look of breasts that have undergone augmentation?
- Did you know that additional breast surgery is a likely reality for the future, whether it would be a breast lift, placement of a new implant/ revision, or breast explant?
At the Fitzrovia Hospital and the Welbeck Hospital in Central London, most breast implant removal procedures are performed by one of the best-recognized breast surgeons in London, Dr. Ivo Gwanmesia, MBChB, MRCS, FRCS, a British and American board-certified plastic surgeon.
You may want breast implant removal surgery whether you require a new replacement or to remove old implants for personal or medical reasons. Or, you may no longer want implants – it is up to the patient.
According to our expert breast surgeon, Dr. Ivo Gwanmesia, women with breast implants may require replacement, usually between 10 to 15 years. In contrast, some women may have a breast implant revision to achieve a new shape and size of implants as per their lifestyle change, hormonal shifts, ageing, weight change, or breastfeeding. But breast removal or explant is performed when the patient needs the surgery because they have had implant complications. However, it is wholly and solely a medical and personal reason to remove the implants or make a replacement with new ones. And, as a plastic surgeon, we may not recommend that you have them removed if you have not had any complications.
What is Breast Implant Removal Surgery?
Breast implant removal is surgery to remove implants to ease the discomforts caused by implant-related concerns while maintaining a natural body profile. Since breast implant removal surgery involves taking out implants, it is typically more complex than the original placement. A surgeon may also remove scar tissue or silicone from implant leaks during the procedure.
Breast implant removal is requested because you may want to change the implant appearance or, in some instances, experience physical discomforts, such as strenuous gym activities caused by huge implants. However, consulting only a board-certified plastic surgeon with ample experience in breast augmentation/ implant surgery in London is crucial to avoid discomfort.
Moreover, the patient should have a good idea of their desired breast size based on their anatomy and physical profile.
Since breast augmentation is a customized procedure, the volume and shape will be determined by the patient’s anatomy. The following measurements will be evaluated at the time of your consultation:
- Broadness of the patient’s chest
- The base width of the patient’s breasts
- Distance between breasts
- Skin laxity or looseness, which refers to having enough tissue to cover the implant
- Breast symmetry
These measurements allow a plastic surgeon to select the ideal breast size, so the right size, shape, and volume of the implant can be selected.
Note: Implants that are too large for the body can cause implant-related concerns and cause thinning of the skin, excessive stretching, and pain, all of which can lead to the request for breast implant removal.
Secondly, implants are not lifetime devices and require revision or replacement usually after 10-12 years, or in case of implant rupture due to trauma/injury or fatigue of the shell (creases form from wrinkling and the shell weakens), breast explant/ removal surgery is requested.
Top 5 Things You Should Know About Breast Implant Removal Surgery:
1. NO implant is expected to last forever
Technically, breast implants are designed to be long-lasting, but practically, they are not lifetime devices. Why do implants fail? – this is the point where the difference between saline and silicone implants is noticeable. According to the major implant manufacturers, rupture rates range from 10-13% for silicone implants and 5-10% for saline implants at ten years. In a nutshell, you should expect the replacement or removal based on your age of implants, personal wish, and problem status, usually after 10-12 years. An implant may rupture or leak due to injury to the shell (such as trauma to your chest) or fatigue of the shell resulting in a tear or hole that must be corrected with breast implant removal surgery followed by implant replacement- it is wholly a patient choice.
If you have saline implants, the rupture can be noticeable with the sign of deflation or loose breast volume, and it may take a couple of weeks to get prominent, depending on the size and placement of the leak.
In case of silicone implant rupture, it will be difficult to determine a leak until the implant changes shape and gets firmer. Thus, it is not a silent rupture and requires mammograms and ultrasound of the breast and implants, which gives the best evaluation.
Note: There is no emergency of breast implant removal as long as the silicone gel is contained in the capsule; removal surgery is necessitated when the silicone gel has migrated beyond the capsule.
2. If the implant is not leaking, why would one get it replaced?
Many women undergo breast implant removal surgery as they get older and want a new replacement, as ageing, weight change, gravity, and hormonal shifts can all contribute to saggy breasts. First, however, a breast augmentation (with smaller implants) with or without a breast lift addresses the saggy breast concerns. Secondly, the larger augmented breasts, just like those without implants, can cause back, shoulder, or neck pain, and one may feel like they look heavy. And so, breast implant removal surgery is recommended to ease the physical discomforts.
3. What next when you want to switch from saline to silicone implants and vice-versa?
Breast implant removal surgery is requested when a woman changes her mind about saline implants if they wrinkle and wants to switch to silicone. And some with silicone would like to exchange an intact implant before it ruptures. Thus, implant removal and replacement are as simple as exchanging a saline implant. Regardless of your chosen implants, replacement or removal/ explant surgery might be necessary. According to a 2022 research published in the journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, implants are not lifetime devices- the longer a woman has them, the more likely she will need revision surgery, which could include replacement of new ones or breast implant removal.
4. When is Breast implant removal medically necessary?
In some cases, breast explant surgery is medically necessary when the scar tissue hardens around the implants. Most implants sit under breasts, surrounded by natural scar tissue called the capsule. The capsule is normal, and the implant looks fine. But, when the capsule shrinks down, and may leave old residual scar tissue, and that scar tissue hardens around implants called capsular contracture. It can cause pain and discomfort and change the implants’ appearance. However, if the capsule gets inflamed, calcified, or contracted, then the capsule should be removed, so breast implant removal surgery is suggested.
5. What are the post-op care instructions like?
After breast implant removal, your plastic surgeon provides post-op instructions to heal smoothly. Although the healing process can vary from patient to patient, full recovery from breast implant removal typically takes several weeks. Thus, you must limit and refrain from strenuous exercise for at least six weeks. In addition, you will be instructed on how to care for your incisions, what medications to take, wear a compression bra for about two to three weeks following the procedure, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon to achieve a smooth recovery process.
It is essential to avoid the following activities during the recovery process (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 will have a post-op follow-up with your plastic surgeon, and once you are done with the recovery phase, you can resume exercise and other activities.
If you want to learn more about breast implant removal surgery in Central London and get an in-person consultation, schedule an appointment today with a double board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Ivo Gwanmesia. Call our office at Tel: 0203 769 8433 or fill out our online contact form today to learn more.