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Explant removal surgery

Explant or Breast Implant Removal Surgery

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Breast Lift

I want my breast implants completely removed, also called EXPLANT SURGERY. What options do I have?

This depends on a number of factors and during your consultation, I like to evaluate the following with each patient:

  • Your images before breast implant surgery which shows your baseline breast shape and any issues that may present after explant surgery
  • Skin tone and laxity characteristics as this will give me clues about the likelihood that the skin envelope will shrink back down after explant
  • The amount of breast tissue you currently have and where it sits in relation to the breast implant and the nipple-areola complex
  • Nipple-areola position and size
  • Chest wall irregularities
Common reasons why women decide to have explant surgery

Personal Preferences – one of the most common reasons for explant surgery is the timing in a woman's life.   Often in the latter years, some women feel they no longer need breast implants or prefer not to face the prospect of breast implant revision surgery as they age.  Some of our patients have stated that they want implant removal surgery while they are still fit and able to recover quickly.   Patients preferences may also change over time due to natural changes to the body from things like pregnancy, hormones, and weight fluctuations.

Concerns About Breast Implant Safety – Patients experiencing illness or negative symptoms related to their breast implants is a common reason why some women choose to have their implants removed. Some patients have described a variety of symptoms commonly referred to as Breast implant illness,  which may include anxiety, fatigue, and autoimmune issues.  Despite these reports, there is currently a lack of clear scientific evidence linking breast implants to the above symptoms at this point in time.

Medical Complications  – while breast implants are common, there is a chance of medical complications occurring. For example, ultrasound scans may have confirmed ruptured breast implants.  Other medical complications may include:

  • Capsular contracture or development of firm breasts due to scar tissue
  • Rupture
  • Differences in size or position of the breasts
  • changes in appearance after  pregnancy or weight loss including:

– ptosis or sagging

-hypertrophy or increased size of natural breast tissue

Whatever the reason for wanting to remove your breast implants, there are a number of options available.

These factors will determine the treatment plan which may involve one or a combination of the following procedures:

Breast implant removal with capsulectomy

For patients where the skin envelope, breast tissue and nipple-areola position and shape are good then I would aim for this less invasive approach to breast implant removal as a first stage.  Allow up to 6 months for the skin to shrink or contract back to its original size before considering breast lift surgery.

Will I need a breast lift with breast implant removal surgery?

There are a group of women who have experienced pregnancy and breastfeeding and/or significant weightless patients where the skin envelope, breast tissue and nipple-areola complex is sagging.  I often combine breast implant removal and capsulectomy with a breast lift or mastopexy for this group of patients.  Breast lift surgery is a procedure to lift and tighten the skin envelope, breast tissue and nipple-areola position. This is done by removing and/or tightening the excess skin along with repositioning the nipple-areola and breast tissue to reshape and improve the breast contour. This is common for patients who choose to remove their implants without replacing them. This can give the breasts a firmer and more rejuvenated appearance. For more information on breast lift procedures see our breast lift page.  Some of these women may have developed additional breast tissue after pregnancy and weight gain, hence a breast reduction may also be more suitable for some of these women.

Depending on the severity of the droopiness, a breast lift can also be performed as a stage 2 procedure.

Fat Transfer

This procedure involves removing the original breast implants and using liposuction to harvest fat from other areas of the body to inject into the breasts to improve contouring. This is also referred to as lipoaugmentation, with fat usually taken from the hips, thighs or abdomen region. This procedure is often preferred by patients seeking a relatively small increase in breast size or improving contouring defects after breast implant removal resulting in a more natural look and shape.

Recovery After Breast Implant Removal

Every patient recovers differently from surgical procedures however in the first few weeks especially, rest and recuperation should be prioritised.  As we always say, recovery is just as important as the surgery itself!!

What to expect during the acute recovery phase week 1

  • All surgical patients have Dr Cheng’s direct mobile contact for any immediate concerns
  • You will wake up from theatre wearing a protective bandage around your breasts immediately after surgery
  • Keep wound clean and dry for 2-3 days
  • Typically this surgery is performed as a same-day discharge with breast drains remaining  for 3-7 days depending on the extent of the surgery.
  • Day 1 review with Dr Eddie Cheng and our Nurse.  Our nurse will progress you to a comfort bra at this stage
  • Sleep with your head elevated for a week or 2
  • Light walking is encouraged around the house to avoid blood clots
  • Gentle range of movement for shoulders and arms are encouraged
  • No lifting heavier than a teacup
  • Take pain relief medications as instructed by your surgeon and anaesthetist

Recovery Week 2-6

  • Drains are typically out by now
  • Dressings on incision lines remain and are changed weekly
  • Driving after 7-10 days for short distances 
  • Office-based workers typically return to work after 2 weeks rest
  • Workers with more physical duties including lifting allow up to 6 weeks or return earlier on modified duties 
  • Recovery bra is worn for 6 weeks – no underwire
  • No sex for 3-4 weeks
  • incision line care involves weekly tape changes until week 6
  • Incision line scar gel is commenced at week 6, 2 times daily.

Recovery Beyond 6 weeks

  • Ease back into normal activities including gym 
  • Incision line care continues for 12 months or as needed
  • Bra fitting to determine your new size 

  • Review with Dr Cheng at 6 months and 12 months, where further procedures such as breast lift or fat grafting can be discussed if required to refine breast appearance and shape. 

 

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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Are you a candidate for surgery?

Are you a candidate for surgery?