Breast Implant Removal
Many breast implants have been inserted into women over the last 60 years. The immense popularity of breast augmentation has been in large part, due to the very high level of patient satisfaction with the procedure and the safety of the procedure. The patients usually love the way they look, and as a result, often have improved self-esteem. With such a great number of people who have had breast implants for so many years, it is no surprise that a small number of individuals would desire to have them removed.
Reasons for breast implant removal include being unhappy with breasts that have become too large because of weight gain, no longer feeling the need for larger breasts, not wanting to worry about the possibility of needing future surgeries at an older age, having medical conditions, and wanting to be able to focus exclusively on these issues (and not worry about breast implants) or just being “over” or done with implants.
Whatever the reason, Dr. Eric Schaffer will help. Breast implant removal is usually a relatively short, safe procedure and easy to recover from. Breast implants will often be removed through the original implantation incision or if advantageous, through another alternative incision. The implants may be removed by themselves or if desired, with the associated capsular scar tissues that always forms around each implant.
The main reason for a capsulectomy (capsular excision ) is to remove a capsule which has become extremely calcified. Calcification is more common with old silicone implants. Calcified capsules may interfere with future breast examinations. Another reason for removing a breast implant capsule is if a patient has had textured surface implants. A textured surface capsule may be responsible for the development of a cancerous tumor known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). The removal of this capsule type may
decrease the incidence of ALCL development. Another reason for having the capsule excised is that the patient “just wants it removed.” Note, the capsule is not part of the implant, but rather part of the body’s own scar tissue. One further reason for implant removal with capsulectomy is that the patient may have a medical condition or is just not feeling well and is concerned about the possible role that the implant may have in their condition. This has been termed by some as breast implant associated illness. In thesesituations, the capsule will be sent for biopsy and analysis as well as a variety of cultures such as bacterial, fungal (mold), or mycobacterial.
What Happens During a Breast Implant Removal Procedure?
Breast implant removal is a straightforward procedure that may take from one to three hours. Performed under general anesthesia in an outpatient surgical facility, this plastic surgery involves four steps. First, Dr. Schaffer makes incisions as is most appropriate for aesthetic results. Usually, he follows the same incision pattern that was made for your breast augmentation surgery. He then removes your old implants and any scar tissue that has formed around them. If you have elected to replace your breast implants, he will insert the new implants in the selected position above or below the pectoral muscle. Finally, after observing your breasts for symmetry and position, he closes your incisions and sends you off to the recovery area.
Is Breast Implant Removal Painful?
No. Like breast augmentation, this procedure is performed using general anesthesia. You will not feel any pain and will likely not remember your procedure at all. When you wake up after surgery, you may feel very similar to how you felt after your initial breast procedure, sore and tender and groggy. Your surgical wrappings will help support your breasts as the incisions and tissue heal. You may need to take prescription medication for a few days to manage comfort effectively.
How Long Is the Breast Implant Removal Recovery?
You may need to curtail your normal activities for a week or two after breast implant removal. Your post-operative aftercare instructions may be very similar to your first breast surgery. Guidelines usually include instructions for incision care and activity restrictions that limit you to walking and other light tasks. You may be advised to avoid lifting objects that weigh more than a few pounds. While you may return to work as soon as one week after breast implant removal, provided that you are comfortable enough, you must resume more strenuous activities gradually and at your doctor’s discretion. Typically, we expect full recovery six to eight weeks after surgery.
Does the Procedure Leave Noticeable Scars, and If So, Can They Be Treated?
Scarring is inevitable anytime we make an incision. Your breast implant removal should not incur new scars. The doctor usually performs this surgery using your original scars as a guide for new surgical incisions. For several weeks after surgery, your scars may look red or pink and slightly puffy or raised. The skin may look puckered as new collagen forms to repair the tissue. As your new incisions heal, you can begin to consider scar treatments to support tissue regeneration. We may discuss your options at your final post-op visit once we have confirmed that your incisions have completely closed.
For How Long After the Procedure Will Daily Activities Be Hindered?
You can expect to have somewhat strict activity restrictions for a week to 10 days after breast implant removal. After that time, you will be able to gradually resume activities, beginning with the lightest, like returning to work or driving. Strenuous activity, running, and heavy lifting will continue to be restricted for up to six to eight weeks. Our primary objective in making recommendations and instructions for breast surgery aftercare is to ensure that you enjoy a smooth recovery and long-lasting cosmetic results.
Dr. Eric Schaffer will be happy to discuss your situation with you and help you arrive at a course of action that best suits your needs. Call 210-227-3223 to set up your informative consultation with Dr. Schaffer.