Breast implant removal, also known as breast explant surgery, is a procedure designed to extract silicone or saline implants from the breasts. While a large number of women are more than satisfied with the results of breast augmentation, some individuals eventually consider having the implants removed altogether, or removed and replaced with new breast implants. For women who decide to undergo breast implant removal surgery, The Layt Clinic offers advanced procedures that utilise state-of-the-art techniques to successfully achieve our patient’s goals. Dr Craig Layt is extensively trained and experienced with breast implant removal procedures and will be happy to discuss the options available for explantation of breast implants. To schedule a consultation, please feel free to contact our practice.
What Are Some Common Reasons for Breast Implant Removal?
Breast implants are not lifetime devices. There are many reasons why a woman may decide to remove their breast implants altogether or remove and replace them. These can include both personal and medical considerations. For instance: she may feel that, as the aging process continues, the implants no longer suit her shape or weight. Perhaps she may have experienced certain lifestyle changes that have created a preference for smaller breasts, or she simply does not want the breast implants any longer. Some women may desire breast implant removal in order to upgrade their implants to a new size, type, or shape. This is what’s known as a revision breast augmentation.
For other women, there may be medical reasons for an explant procedure. These can include implant complications such as implant rupture, capsular contracture, breast asymmetry, implant displacement, infection, or leakage of silicone. Some women with breast implants are concerned that a variety of symptoms they are experiencing are related to their implants and, as such, wish to have their implants removed. This situation is commonly referred to as breast implant illness. Concerns regarding a distinctly different rare condition called Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) can also lead some women to consider breast implant removal.
Whatever the specific reason cited by our patients, our ultimate goal is to provide informative, attentive, and compassionate care to deliver the best possible treatment so that individuals can successfully achieve their goals.
What Does the Breast Implant Removal Procedure Involve?
Breast implant removal procedures are performed under a general anaesthetic, usually as a day surgery procedure, and are individualized to the patient’s requirements regarding the management of the capsule and of the breast itself. The different techniques for breast implant removal include:
- Removal of the breast implant and a capsulectomy of varying degree – removal is often through the initial surgical incision site but may need to be through an alternative or extended incision, depending on the required or desired capsulectomy procedure. Some degree of breast deformity or ptosis of the breast area may be evident afterwards, and sometimes this can be unpredictable.
- Removal of the breast implant and a breast lift – this technique may require some breast tissue removal and reconfiguration to result in a smaller, non-ptotic, appearance of the breasts. Sometimes the areola may also need to be reduced in size. The breast lift can help improve breast shape and position after a removal, or change of size, in order to create a more aesthetically appealing appearance.
- Deflation of saline implants – further surgery may be required to remove the empty implant, and a breast lift may possibly be recommended as well. Sometimes this technique allows the breast tissue to retract and give a more accurate assessment as to the final outcome.
The technique that is best will depend on each patient’s individual needs and treatment goals. During the initial consultation with Dr Layt, you will receive a comprehensive evaluation and the treatment options will be thoroughly explained. Dr Layt always encourages patients to be honest and forthcoming about their expectations, and to ask any and all questions they may have. Once the technique is agreed upon, he will create a customised breast implant removal treatment plan designed to provide the best results possible.
What Is En Bloc Capsulectomy?
An en bloc capsulectomy is a method of breast implant removal that extracts both the implant and the capsule of scar tissue that has developed around it in total and as one piece. This is usually performed at the patient’s request. This technique requires a longer procedure time and often results in more scarring and a higher risk of complications, such as hematoma and postoperative pain, than a partial or full capsulectomy in order to remove the implant and capsule as one piece. Sometimes, due to the quality of the capsule or firm adherence to the ribs, it is impossible to perform this procedure even with the best technique.
By contrast, in a partial or full capsulectomy procedure, a large portion of the capsule or all of the capsule will be removed and the breast allowed to heal without an implant, or a new implant will be placed in this modified pocket. In some cases where the breast has poor tissue quality, part of the capsule may be kept, helping provide stability for a new implant or for the breast itself. The scar is kept to a minimum by removing the implant separate to the capsule.
Dr Layt will discuss all options with you during the consultation and make a recommendation based on your unique anatomical characteristics and ultimate goals.
What Can I Expect During Breast Implant Removal Recovery?
The recovery process from breast implant removal is often different among individual patients depending on the precise nature of the procedure and the techniques utilized. However, in general, patients should expect a certain degree of bruising and swelling in the breasts for several days following surgery. Sometimes drains are required, though they are avoided when possible. Women who have their breast implants removed and replaced with new breast implants often experience a recovery process similar to that of the initial breast augmentation. In most cases, patients are able to resume normal routines in about one to two weeks after breast implant removal surgery. It is important to refrain from strenuous activities for a minimum of four weeks. We will give you specific recommendations based on your unique needs. Patients who have had significant scar tissue removed during the breast implant removal procedure may experience higher levels of discomfort during the initial stages of recovery; however, this can be well-managed with medication, and these effects should dissipate as the breasts continue to heal.
Risks and Complications:
Surgery is not an exact science. Incisions and scars are part of any surgery and the location and extent of the incisions will be discussed with you. Every effort is made by the surgeon to minimise scarring. Scars will fade over time, but they are permanent. They can also become hypertrophic or keloid. Scars vary from person to person and are related to each individual’s skin type, genetics and the ability of their skin to heal.
Every surgical procedure involves certain risks and complications (as per the ASPS brochure) including, but not limited to:
Asymmetry is evident physically in every person. No two sides of the body are ever exactly symmetrical in shape, position or size and the surgeon will make every effort to achieve as close to symmetry as possible but some asymmetry is normal.
Delayed Healing, Infection and Suture Reactions can all be possible healing issues and may require antibiotics or in some cases surgical exploration.
Bleeding, Haematoma or Seroma Collections may resolve themselves but, in some cases may require further surgery.
Loss of Sensation and Numbness may also be experienced. In most cases this will improve over time on its own. In some cases this can be permanent.
Bruising and Swelling may also be a short term effect from surgery and will usually settle in one to two weeks.
Allergies to dressings, medical lotions, sutures or other materials can occur with some patients. You will be advised to cease the use of the dressing, lotion or material that is causing the reaction. In some cases anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed.
Breathing Difficulties may be due to a general anaesthetic or breathing tube during the operation which has caused some swelling, noisy breathing or discomfort.
Blood Clots can also occur in some surgeries and may require urgent treatment and hospitalisation.
Pain thresholds vary from patient to patient. This may lead to different pain management and/or different recovery times to resume normal activities.
Achieving excellent results with minimal risk is a joint effort. It is important to disclosed to the surgeon and clinic and understand the following:
Full disclosure of your medical history including: allergies, personal, physical and mental history, previous surgeries, current medications and co-morbidities (including but not limited to, smoking, vaping, diabetes, prescription and illegal drug addictions, blood or heart disease, obesity or anorexia).
Co-morbidities may impact on outcome and healing post surgery.
Smoking, vaping, or taking recreational drugs must be ceased in the 6 weeks prior to some operations and during the healing phase. Failure to do so may increase the risk of complications, decrease your healing ability and affect your surgical outcome.
You should not take aspirin based prescription drugs 14 days prior to surgery and during the healing phase of the operation unless advised otherwise by the surgeon.
As per the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), all non-rebatable (cosmetic) procedures require a validated screening of Body Dysmorphia to be undertaken.
If Dr Layt is concerned about your mental state or physical state prior to the procedure, he may request evaluation by a psychologist, psychiatrist, general practitioner or other specialist. This referral is to assess your suitability, increased risks during surgery or any underlying physical or psychological problems which may affect your recovery or mental health.
In some cases this may require surgery to be postponed or cancelled by the doctor in his primary role to consider your care and personal well-being.
How Noticeable Are Breast Implant Removal Scars?
For many patients, the incisions required to remove the breast implants can be made in the incision locations that were used to initially place the implants. By utilising the same incision locations, Dr Layt can reduce or even eliminate the possibility of additional scars other than the original scars of the breast augmentation. This may not be the case with all patients since the breast implant removal technique is dependent on each individual’s unique needs; however, it is possible in a large number of cases. We will talk more with you about what you can expect once you have been evaluated in the initial consultation.
Would you like to learn more about breast implant removal procedures? Please don’t hesitate to contact The Layt Clinic for additional information, or to schedule a consultation.