Breast implant surgery, properly known as breast augmentation mammoplasty, is designed to add volume to the breats. They can fix breast asymmetry and give patients their desired shape and volume. Nevertheless, the day might come when you’ll need or want to bid your implants farewell. There are a variety of reasons to undergo Breast implant removal. Capsular contracture, implant leak, or malposition can all happen years after you get your breast augmentation mammoplasty. You can either replace your implants or remove them without replacing them.
Either way, a good recovery after breast implant removal is essential to reduce risks and encourage a pleasing outcome. Like it is the case with other Breast procedures, you can expect some level of breast discomfort, bruising, and swelling. After 3-4 weeks, you should be able to return to your normal daily routine.
Guide to Recovery
Preparing for Breast Implant Removal
After your breast implant explantation, you will need to spend a few days at home resting. You will need to limit your physical activity. In fact, you won’t have much energy to pursue many activities.
This is why it is important to plan and prepare your recovery period before you have your breast implants taken out. Here are a few things you can do to prepare:
- Take up to two weeks off from work
- Organise some entertainment. You will likely be spending 2-3 days in bed and won’t have much to do. Get some movies, a new series, or an interesting book to help the time pass
- Make sure everything you need will be within easy reach, you shouldn’t have to stretch to get things
- It’s also important that you get a friend or family member to be your caretaker and driver. You will need someone to get you to the hospital, help you out when you’re there, and then take you back home. Make sure they are aware of your needs after the surgery
- Stock up on healthy foods and snacks. Good nutrition can help speed up recovery
- Prepare a comfy and supportive bed, maybe even a recliner
- If you have kids, make plans for them. Either get someone to take care of them for a couple of days as you recover, or plan a 2-3 day family visit for them
What to Expect During Recovery after Breast Implant Removal
So, what will recovery be like after you have your breast implants removed? Will it be painful? How long will it last? Removing breast implants is not a procedure as invasive as breast augmentation mammoplasty, for example. Sure, it does include tissue dissection, however, most of the cut tissue is fibrous (scar) tissue and contains no blood vessels. Nevertheless, an explant procedure is still a complex surgery that causes tissue injury. Therefore, it is normal to have some side effects after.
Normal symptoms that you should expect after your implants are taken out include:
1. Pain and Discomfort
- Breast and underarm pain usually lasts 1-2 weeks
- You can manage it with routine painkillers (paracetamol, ibuprofen)
2. Breast Swelling
- Fluid normally accumulates around surgical wounds
- Expect your breasts to be swollen for up to 2 weeks after your implant removal
- Wearing a surgical compression bra and sleeping on your back can help reduce swelling
- Bruising should be expected after any surgery
- It might involve the breasts, upper belly, and underarm regions
- Bruising usually lasts 2 weeks before it fades away completely
4. Numbness or Tingling
- This is a possible side effect of surgery
- When small sensory nerve endings are damaged by tissue dissection, you might temporarily experience changes in sensitivity in the area
Tips for the Recovery after Breast Implant Removal
We’ve put together a list of tips and advice to help you recover faster after the removal of your breast implants. These aftercare tips will help speed up recovery and help minimise (but not eliminate) the changes of complications:
1. Wear your surgical compression bra as instructed
- This is one of the tips for recovery after breast implant removal. There’s a risk that fluid will accumulate after the implants are taken out (seroma). Wearing a compressive bra, day and night, for at least 4 weeks can help reduce this risk.
2. Sleep on your back
- Like it is the case with other breast procedures, you’ll need to sleep on your back during the first 3-4 weeks of recovery. Avoid sleeping on your sides or stomach, as this can lead to more swelling and can stretch the incisions.
3. Get a recliner
- It’s recommended that you sleep with the upper body elevated during recovery after implant removal. It helps reduce swelling. Sleeping in a recliner is an excellent alternative to using multiple pillows under your upper back.
4. Avoid smoking and vaping
- Smoking is forbidden during recovery. It can ruin your results and lead to complications. It interferes with healing and reduces blood supply to your wounds.
5. Be prepared
- Do your research, make sure you get all the information and facts. Check our website to learn more about breast implant removal, recovery after cosmetic surgery, and potential risks and complications of surgery. Check out the tips above on how you can effectively prepare for your recovery period after breast implant removal.
Dos and Don’ts for Recovery after Breast Implant Removal
Below is a list of DOs and DON’Ts after breast implant removal:
DON’T: Things to avoid
- Don’t sleep face down. It can alter your results
- Avoid sleeping on your side. It can cause swelling on a single side and can interfere with healing and cause complications
- Don’t sleep braless until at least 4 weeks have passed
- Avoid participating in intense sports for at least 4 weeks
- Don’t hesitate to visit your surgeon if you have any concerns
DO: Things to Do
- Sleep on your back, preferably with pillows under the upper body
- Wear your compression bra, day and night, for at least a month
- Use ice packs and cold compresses to reduce swelling and bruising
- Follow all of your surgeon’s aftercare instructions
A Timeline for Recovery after Breast Implant Removal
So, what will the weeks after your explant be like? To answer this question, here’s a detailed week-by-week recovery timeline with all the info you need to know:
Early Days – Right after the Explant Surgery
After you wake up, it is normal to feel tired and a bit dizzy after surgery. You might have a couple of thin plastic drains coming out of your breasts. These are to prevent fluid and blood collection and Dr Hunt will remove them after a few days.
You might spend the night at the hospital or leave home on the same day after getting your breast implants removed. Either way, your medical team will give you post-op care instructions that you should adhere to strictly. This will include things like:
- Return in 3-4 days for drain removal
- Return in 7-10 days for suture removal
- Take your antibiotics as prescribed
- Take your painkillers only when needed
- Wear your compression bra for at least 4 weeks
- Sleep on your back for at least 4 weeks
- Avoid sports for at least 3-4 weeks
- Rest at home for 1-2 weeks
- After you go home, you should spend the first few days resting. Don’t go around cleaning the house, cooking or doing chores. Rest is rest. Just sleep and try to relax
- As mentioned above, on day 3 you will need to visit your surgeon to have your drains taken out and again on day 7, for suture removal
- The pain will peak during the first few days after removing your implants. Take your antibiotics and painkillers to manage the discomfort. Swelling and bruising might keep increasing till the end of the first week
- You can walk around the house and outside during this time, but no running or jogging yet
- By week 2 most of the pain will be gone. The bruises will be turning blue and on their way to fading. The swelling will also start to decrease, but this will be a slow process
- Most women usually feel well enough to go back to work 1-2 weeks after breast implant removal. However, if your job, requires heavy lifting and excessive upper-body activity, then you should wait longer
Weeks 3 – 4
- By the third week, the pain and bruising should be mostly gone. Swelling, on the other hand, takes more time to go away
- Nevertheless, most of the swelling will be gone by the 4th week. Some minor degree of swelling might linger for up to 6 months before being completely reabsorbed by your body
After 4 weeks
- After 4 weeks of breast implant extraction, you can start going back to the gym and exercising. We recommend that you start gradually and slowly, especially when it comes to weight lifting
- After a full month has passed on your explant, the final shape of your breasts should settle in. Keep in mind, though, that your scars will keep developing for up to 12 months after your surgery. They will change shape, size, and colour intensity
How to Care for Your Body After Removing Your Breast Implants
- Consider a breast lift mastopexy or fat transfer after breast implant removal
- Consider getting new implants to replace your old ones – Implants are often removed and then replaced with new implants
- Read more about Implant replacement after Breast Implant Removal Surgery
- Talk to Dr Hunt about the available scar reducing therapies – Our clinic can offer scar reducing therapies that you can commence after a few months of removing your implants
- Don’t smoke – Smoking is toxic for the body and can influence the results of plastic surgery. It can delay wound healing and ruin your results
- Maintain a healthy diet – Eat your greens, fruit, lean meats, beans – A diverse and rich diet can boost immunity and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to heal
Potential Risks of Breast Implant Removal
There are a few risks that can occur after removing your breast implants:
- Seroma: This is particularly a concern in breast implant removal, since removing your implants will leave a small pocket behind, which might fill with fluid (seroma). Your surgeon will try to prevent this by closing the pocket with sutures and putting in a temporary drain after your surgery
- Hematoma: Sometimes, a loose tiny blood vessel might cause some blood to accumulate at the level of the surgical site
- Wound infection: Dr Hunt and Dr Maryam follow surgical sterility techniques to prevent infections. If you develop fever, start feeling pain, notice redness or oozing pus, you might have a breast infection – contact us!
FAQS about Recovery after Breast Implant Removal Surgery
How long does it take to heal after breast implant removal?
- It usually takes 4-6 weeks to completely heal from breast implant removal. You can resume work 1-2 weeks after your implant removal. However, keep in mind that scar healing can take up to a year before reaching the final shape and skin colour.
What happens to your breasts when you remove implants?
- You can either have new implants inserted, or your surgeon will pull the natural tissue together (an internal bra lift mastopexy).
Will I feel better after breast implant removal?
- If your breast implants had been causing you discomfort or pain (e.g. with severe capsular contracture), then removing them can improve your symptoms. Patients suffering from BII are most likely to have some relief from breast implant and partial capsule removal. That being said, the way you feel after surgery will depend on your personal circumstances.
How long after breast implant removal can I exercise?
- You can walk the next day after your implant removal. You can generally start light jogging approximately 3-4 weeks post-surgery. However, when it comes to more intense exercise you will have to wait approximately 4 weeks.
Is breast implant removal painful?
- Breast implant removal involves the use of anaesthesia. Patients can experience a certain level of pain and discomfort after surgery. However, the pain is usually well handled with routine pain medications.
When can I shower after explant surgery?
- You can shower 2 days after your breast implant removal surgery. By then, your wound will have sealed enough to be protected from water. Make sure you gently dry your wounds and keep them clean all the time.
How long do you wear a compression bra after implant removal?
- It is recommended that you wear your surgical bra for at least 4 weeks after your breast implant removal.
How do I sleep after explant?
- After having your implants removed, it is recommended that you sleep on your back with an upward inclination of your upper body. This sleeping position is recommended for at least 4 weeks after breast implant removal.
Medical References – Breast Implant Removal Recovery
- Breast Implant Removal | ASPS
- Breast Implant Removal Recovery | ASPS
- Need To Have Your Breast Implants Removed? Here’s What To Expect | ASAPS
- Breast Implant Removal Risks and Safety | ASPS
- Aesthetic Outcome of Breast Implant Removal in 85 Patients: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- The Infected or Exposed Breast Implant: Management and Treatment Strategies
Further Reading about other Breast Surgery Options
- Uneven Breasts? – Surgery Options for Asymmetric Breasts
- Mini Augmentation – Breast Augmentation Mammoplasty with Smaller Implants
- Be Breast Aware – Read the blog on Breast Self Examination
- Internal Bra Lift: A More Durable Breast Lift Mastopexy Technique
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon performing breast, body, face and nose surgery in Australia. He is a member of FRACS & ASPS and has over 20 years of experience providing plastic surgery in Sydney.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is suitable for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and requires a personalised approach to reach their goals.
Dr Hunt has provided his one-on-one service and attention to detail to thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A. Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from well-established and experienced plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Want more information before scheduling your consultation?
- Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
- Request more information about the procedure – call on 1300 157 200 or contact us
If breast reduction mammoplasty is something you’re considering, Dr Hunt can thoroughly explain all the options to you in a one-on-one consultation.
- Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.