What is Breast Implant Removal?
Breast implant removal surgery is performed to remove breast implants from a previous breast augmentation or breast reconstruction procedure. There are many reasons why an individual may wish to remove their breast implants, including an implant leak, capsular contracture, or discomfort from the implant. While breast implants do not expire, they do have a limited life span, which means that breast implants should be exchanged or removed after 10-15 years.
For some people, removal of their breast implants may lead to excess skin, leading to sagging or drooping breasts. In these cases, a breast lift can be performed following breast implant removal for a more youthful breast appearance.
Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Implant Removal?
Anyone who has experienced a breast implant leak is experiencing discomfort from their breast implants, or simply no longer desire to have breast implants can benefit from breast implant removal. The best way to determine if this procedure is a good fit for you is through a consultation appointment with one of our plastic surgeons. Contact our Tucson office today to get started!
Breast Implant Removal Procedure
The breast implant removal procedure is generally performed under general anesthesia. To remove the breast implant, an incision is often made along the lower fold of the breast, or an incision is made around or below the areola. Because breast implant removal is a highly personalized procedure, the exact steps may vary depending on your individual case. Breast capsules and implants can be removed using a combination of different techniques. If a breast lift is also performed after the breast implants are removed, then excess skin and tissue will be removed and the breasts lifted for a perkier appearance. Sutures of skin tapes will be used to close any incisions.
PLASTIC & RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGEONS
Our mission at Tucson Plastic Surgery is to provide you with an unparalleled experience by taking time to listen and understand your individual needs and concerns. We believe creating a custom-tailored plan based on your goals and unique anatomy is essential to achieving your best possible results.
Breast Implant Removal Recovery
Following breast implant removal, dressings or bandages may be placed on the surgical sites, and drains may also be placed to drain any excess fluids or blood. While the healing process can vary depending on the complexity of the procedure, recovery usually takes several weeks. Discomfort, swelling, and bruising may occur, which will dissipate with time. Once your swelling subsides, you will begin to see your overall results. Your plastic surgeon will provide you with instructions on how to best care for your surgical sites and minimize any complications.
It’s okay to make yourself a priority. You are worth it. ”
If you would like to learn more about the breast implant removal procedure and if it is a good fit for you, contact Tucson Plastic Surgery today! Our team will be happy to help you schedule your consultation appointment with Dr. Mahabir or Dr. Kurtovic to get started. During this appointment, you can discuss your concerns, aesthetic goals, and ask any questions that you have. Your plastic surgeon will then create a personalized surgical plan to help you meet your aesthetic goals.
Breast Implant Removal FAQs
How often does breast implant illness occur?
At this point, we really dont know. Studies are underway to try and get better data to answer that exact question. In the meantime, we are working collaboratively and diligently with the Breast Implant Safety Alliance (breastimplantsafetyalliance.org). To that end, we helped co-author and pass an Arizona law (first in the nation) that will now ensure that every woman considering breast implants will learn about BII in order to make a truly informed decision.
What breast implants have been recalled?
In the United States, the FDA asked Allergan to voluntarily recall its textured breast implants and expanders (Biocell). The implants have been linked to a rare cancer know as breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Of note, in other parts of the world, ALL textured implants have been recalled as BIA-ALCL has been found with all manufacturers textured implants albeit with different rates.
What are the symptoms of breast implant illness?
Breast implant illness can present with a variety of symptoms: joint and muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, rash memory loss, chronic pain, depression, chronic flu-like symptoms, headaches / migraines, rashes or skin problems, frequent infections, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia and brain fog. While the causes of these symptoms are unclear, patients have reported relief of these symptoms with removal of their implants and surrounding scar tissue capsule. We are working to better understand the possible link between breast implants and these symptoms.
What breast implants are linked to lymphoma?
Textured breast implants and expanders have been linked to a rare cancer know as breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). In the United States, the FDA asked Allergan to voluntarily recall its textured breast implants and expanders (Biocell). Of note, in other parts of the world, ALL textured implants have been recalled as BIA-ALCL has been found with all manufacturers textured implants albeit with different rates.
Can breast implants get infected years later?
Unfortunately, yes. We dont know exactly why, but breast implants can get infected years later. The most common theory is that infections in other parts of the body somehow get to the breast implants through the bloodstream. For example, patients with a UTI (urinary tract infection) or dental infections. We do recommend antibiotics before any dental work to minimize this risk. The good news is that in most cases, the implants can be salvaged with good cosmetic results.
Can breast implants cause cellulitis?
By definition, cellulitis is a bacterial infection that affects the skin. So, no, breast implants do not cause cellulitis, bacteria does. That said, having a breast surgery does increase the risk of infection as the skin is cut during surgery. Once the skin barrier is broken, there is a small risk of infection. We minimize this risk in our practice by giving every implant patient IV antibiotics before and during surgery and we sending them home on antibiotics.
Can you die from breast implants?
There is a rare cancer associated with textured breast implants that has received a great deal of news coverage of late: BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma). BIA-ALCL is a cancer and in some cases can be fatal. We do not offer these textured breast implants in our practice even though other surgeons in Phoenix and Scottsdale do.
Can you get your breast implants removed?
Yes you can. Depending on the reason you are removing them, there are two methods for implant removal. You can just remove the implant. This option requires less surgery and less risk, but leaves behind the capsule. Alternatively, you can remove the capsule and the breast implant at the same time with an en-bloc resection or total capsulectomy. The cosmetic result of removing implants varies depending on your tissues and remaining breast tissue.
Do breast implants cause health problems?
According to the Institute of Medicine, FDA and the WHO, smooth breast implants are safe. However, there are some women who get breast implants that will go on to have symptoms that have now been labelled Breast Implant Illness (BII). Researchers are working hard to figure out how breast implants are triggering this constellation of symptoms in women. Textured breast implants, and we do not offer these, certainly cause health problems, specifically BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma) a cancer.
How is BIA ALCL diagnosed?
The most common symptom of BIA ALCL is a swollen breast. An ultrasound guided sample of the fluid around the breast implant can be tested to confirm the disease. If BIA ALCL presents as a lump, a needle biopsy may be needed to make the diagnosis. Finally, at the time of surgery, tissue removed from the breast can be sent and tested for BIA ALCL.
How common is capsular contracture in breast implants?
The formation of a capsule or scar tissue around the implant is a normal part of healing and helps to keep the implants in place. In some patients however, the scar tissue becomes usually thick. While at one time this was a common problem, thankfully, capsular contracture in our practice is unusual. The new cohesive gel implants (gummy bear), no-touch technique, and Keller funnel have all contributed to the decrease in risk. Where we do see capsular contracture occasionally is in reconstruction patients, especially after radiation.
How long does it take to recover from breast implant illness?
For some, relief is immediate. For others, you will need to be patient with your healing process and understand that it can take months or even years to see significant improvements in your health. It can depend on several factors including how long you had the implants, how long you were sick for, if you have the MTHFR gene or other genetic variant and if the implant was ruptured. Most importantly, we will completely remove the capsule either en bloc (whenever possible) or by total capsulectomy (when en bloc is not technically possible).
How do I prepare for breast implant removal?
First, dont use any tobacco or nicotine products or take aspirin / drugs / supplements that increase the risk of bleeding. Second, try to get some exercise in the weeks leading up to surgery. Even just walking for 30-45 minutes can make a difference in your recovery. And finally, mentally prepare yourself. While we will do everything we can to make you look as good as is possible, removing your implants will not have a positive effect on your appearance.
How much does it cost to have breast implants removed?
Our prices are all inclusive: the consult, all pre-operative visits, the surgery, anesthesia and surgery center, as well as all post-operative visits and garments if needed. Breast implant removal en-bloc costs between $10,500 and $11,500. There is a range as each patient is unique as is each surgery performed. Please contact us regarding a private consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons. We pride ourselves on a patient-centric approach to serving you and look forward to meeting you soon.
What are the early signs of capsular contracture?
The early signs of capsular contracture usually develop slowly. You may notice that the breast implant moves around less, is slightly firmer than the other side or that it is sitting slightly higher than the other. As it progresses, the breast may start to feel tight or even painful. If caught early, there may be non-surgical options to halt the progression including medications and ultrasound.
How often should breast implants be checked?
You should be doing a regular breast self-exam both for breast health and for the health of your implants. The FDA currently recommends that you get an MRI three years after surgery and every two years thereafter. (Note: the new FDA draft guideline is after 5 years and every 2-3 years thereafter). Your insurance company may or may not cover imaging for breast implants.
Is breast implant illness covered by insurance?
Breast implant illness has yet to receive an ICD 10 code (the universal diagnosis coding system used my insurance companies. Know that we are working diligently with advocacy groups across the country to make this happen. Until then, some insurance will cover breast implant removal when deemed medically necessary. You will have to check with your insurance company for more information.
What are the symptoms of silicone toxicity?
The symptoms of silicone toxicity aka breast implant illness include some or all of the following: joint and muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, rash, memory loss, chronic pain, depression, chronic flu-like symptoms, headaches / migraines, rashes or skin problems, frequent infections, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia and brain fog. While the causes of these symptoms are unclear, most patients have reported relief of these symptoms with removal of their implants and surrounding scar tissue capsule. We are working with patients, surgeons and researchers to better understand the possible link between breast implants and these symptoms.
Is removal of breast implants dangerous?
The surgery is not dangerous and can be done as an outpatient surgery with a relatively short recovery period. Breast implant removal, like any surgery, has risks. General risks of surgery include general anesthesia, bleeding, blood clots, infection, pain and scarring. Specific to implant removal, there is often some deformity or the breast and even the chest wall. There may be reduced sensation to the nipple and the breast that may be transient (lasting several months) or permanent.
What is implant bottoming?
Breast implant bottoming out refers to the implants that have descended too low on the chest. This can happen for a number or reasons including: implants that are too large, pregnancy and breast feeding, loss of skin elasticity (getting less young) or excessive chest muscle use with implants under the muscle. The good news is that it can be corrected with a relatively easy, outpatient revision surgery.
When should you have breast implants replaced?
The short answer is that you should have your implants replaced only when they need to be replaced. For one reason or another, it is likely that you will want / need your implants replaced very 10-15 years. Some reasons to have them replaced include: you are unhappy with the size (desire larger or smaller), soft tissue laxity or drooping of the breast (for example after having children or through weight loss), capsular contracture, implant rupture
What happens if breast implants are not replaced?
Eventually, the implants will rupture. With saline implants, the change is usually very noticeable as the breast can deflate over a few days to weeks. Signs that your silicone implants are ruptured can include changes in breast shape, swelling, pain and capsular contracture. Silicone implants can also rupture and not cause any symptoms at all “silent rupture.” Ruptured implants should be removed or replaced.
Why I removed my breast implants?
Women choose to have their implants removed for a variety of reasons. Some women that have had their implants for years simply decide they no longer want them. Others feel that their breasts are too heavy or have developed capsular contracture. It may be that imaging suggests that the implants are leaking or ruptured. For some women, their breast implants may actually be making them unwell and removing their implants is an effort to feel better. And if women have textured implants, they may choose to remove them to minimize the risk of BIA-ALCL later in life.
Will capsular contracture go away?
Early signs of capsular contracture (one breast is slightly firmer than the other side or is sitting slightly higher than the other) may resolve with non-surgical interventions like medications and ultrasound. More advanced capsular contracture, when the breast is hard or hard and painful, is not likely to respond to non-surgical options and is best treated with complete removal of the capsule. Implants can be replaced at that same time if you desire.
Can breast implants cause autoimmune disease?
While there is not scientific research that shows breast implants cause autoimmune disease, some patient’s with autoimmune issues may have a develop a sensitivity to breast implants and not do well with them long term.