What Is Breast Implant Removal Surgery?
Breast implant removal surgery is reconstructive breast surgery. It should be performed by an experienced plastic surgeon who is performing this procedure regularly.
Removing implants can leave extra skin around the breasts that may shrink or tighten a little over time. To help remove any unwanted breast laxity, the surgery is more commonly combined with a breast lift surgery (mastopexy) or fat transfer.
If you have an implant leak (rupture) or capsular contracture, the capsule or scar tissue can be dissected and removed during surgery. This can be done as a either full capsulectomy or partial capsulectomy and for some patients – enbloc which is total and complete removal of the implant and capsule intact – as one piece.
Why Are Breast Implants Removed?
Breast implants are very durable but are not life-long devices. You can have modern implants for around 10-20 years without needing them changed.
Eventually, you might want to have your implants removed for one of the following reasons:
- Ageing – Aged implants are more likely require replacement
- After 10 to 15 years, you might want revision surgery after pregnancy or weight fluctuation
- Change of heart – some women decide that they don’t want to live with a foreign prosthesis anymore and choose explant surgery
- Implant malrotation – the implants rotate and cause an irregular breast shape and uneven breasts
- Capsular contracture – this can be a complication of breast implants. It’s when a scar tissue capsule forms around the implants, causing the breast to contract and become painful or deformed
- Breast Implant rupture – Silicone and saline breast implants can rupture or become deflated causing misshapen breasts and sometimes pain
- Fear of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) – This is an extremely rare cancer of the immune cells that might arise with specific types of breast implants (most are currently out of circulation)
- Symptoms of BII – Breast Implant Illness
Regardless of why you want to have your breast implants taken out, Dr Hunt will aim to provide support and care throughout the process.
Why Patients Might Consider Implant Removal Surgery
Some patients may choose to have their breast implants removed for a number of different reasons. Some common reasons incude:
- Improved breast shape – if your breasts have changed shape over time or you have breast implant complications, like capsular contracture or implant rupture.
- Easier mammograms – not having breast implants helps make screening for breast cancer with mammograms easier.
- Reduced uncomfortable symptoms – if your breast implants have ruptured or if you have capsular contracture, you might experience breast pain or deformity.
How Is Breast Implant Removal Performed?
Explantation surgery is usually done under general anesthesia (you will be put to sleep). So, you won’t feel anything during the procedure. A small incision is made under the breast – in the inframammary fold. Dr Hunt will access the breast and implant compartment through this incision. He will then detach the breast implant from any surrounding soft tissue and scar tissue, and take it out.
Depending on what you have and what you want, Dr Hunt might perform any one or more of the following options:
- Implant Removal with Capsulectomy: This is when Dr Hunt removes the hard fibrous tissue capsule around your implants. The capsule is especially problematic and can cause deformity in cases of capsular contracture and implant rupture. Dr Hunt might perform partial, full, or enbloc capsulectomy. En-bloc capsulectomy is when the capsule and implant are removed in one bloc – usually when suspecting BIA-ALCL or BII
- Breast Implant Removal with a Lift (mastopexy): Breast implant removal is almost always done with breast lifting, also called mastoplexy surgery. After 10-15 years of having breast implants, your breast skin might stretch due to implant weight and ageing. If you remove the implants, it is common that this breast laxity may remain, even if you get new implants. For this reason, mastopexy with breast reconstruction techniques can help you attain the desired firmer breast appearance
- Breast Implant Replacement: In many cases, women who want to have their breast implants removed ask for new implants. Some want bigger, smaller or different type of implant. In such cases, a breast lift mastopexy can aid in providing the desired result
Once done, Dr Hunt closes the wound in several layers using a thin suture line. Drains may be used if required.
Recovery After Breast Implant Removal Surgery
Your recovery after having breast implants removed depends on what you had done, whether a capsulectomy, mastopexy, or the insertion of new implants.
In general, you can expect to require 4-6 weeks for full recovery. You can get back to work much earlier though; usually after a week or two after your breast implant removal procedure depending on your occupation.
You can start walking as of the second day after your surgery. Light exercise is okay as of the second week. Strenuous exercise and lifting heavy objects should be avaoided for around 6-8 weeks.
Dr Hunt usually asks his patients to wear a surgical compression bra for 4-6 weeks, day and night. Side effects of breast implant removal can include pain, tingling, bruising, and swelling in the breasts. These are normal symptoms and should start to improve as of the second week after explantation.
How Will My Breasts Look After Having Implants Removed?
After your implants are taken out, your breasts will not look like they did originally before you had implants. They won’t look like they did with implants either. Your results depend on whether your procedure involved the insertion of new implants, as well as whether you had mastopexy (breast lift) surgery. These details will be discussed prior to surgery, in your consultation, so that you have a good understanding of the results you can expect.
Risks and Complications
All surgery has risks and these will be explained to you by Dr Hunt during your consultation. Some post-op complications that might occur include:
- Wound infection
- Seroma formation – fluid collection in the wound, prevented by surgical drains
- Hematoma formation – blood collection in the wound, prevented by surgical drains
- Loss of sensation in the nipples – this might be temporary or rarely permanent
Longer term complications could include
- Caved-in or deflated appearance – more likely if you have breast implant removal without new implants. Dr. Hunt will try to prevent this by performing breast reconstruction and mastopexy after taking your implants out.
- Wound healing abnormalities
- Excessive scarring
It is important to choose a surgeon experienced in breast implant removal, mastopexy, and breast reconstruction.
Patient Results for Breast Implant Removal Surgery
The outcomes shown are only relevant for this patient and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience, as results may vary due to many factors including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise.
How much does implant removal surgery cost in Sydney NSW? Prices & Fees
Breast implant removal can be done in several ways and might include different surgical techniques. This is why there isn’t a fixed price for explantation surgery.
It depends on what you have and what you want done. It also depends on the expertise of your surgeon, the location where you’ll get your surgery done, and the cost of aftercare.
After your first consultation, Dr Hunt will give you a quote for on the costs of explantation. You can contact his team for an estimate.
Is breast implant removal covered by Medicare or private health insurance?
If you meet certain strict criteria, you might be eligible for a partial rebate by medicare or health insurance subsidy for breast implant removal surgery.
You can also learn more about possible Medicare & Health Fund coverage for Breast Implant Removal, a Breast Implant Removal Surgery Payment Plan, or the costs for breast implants removal surgery on our Surgical Costs page.
Take the next step today
With over 20 years of experience as a plastic surgeon, Dr Jeremy Hunt aims to provide patient-tailored procedure outcomes using different surgical techniques.
Dr Hunt prides himself on the level of care and attention he offers and that begins from the day of first consultation.
Join the thousands of past patients today by booking a consultation with Dr Hunt.
Download Dr Hunt's Guide
Cosmetic Breast Surgery Guide
A Cosmetic Breast Surgery Guide has been created by Dr Hunt and his team as a useful tool to help you plan and consider this procedure.
Throughout the guide, we will discuss the ins and outs of different types of Breast Surgery, from what makes a good candidate, to pre-surgery planning answers to the most frequently asked questions received from real-life patients.
Considering Implant Removal Surgery?
Can I have my breast implants removed?
Yes. Some women decide that they don’t want breast implants anymore, and they get implant removal surgery. Explantation might also be needed to deal with a breast implant complication, such as capsular contracture, implant rupture or malrotation.
What happens if you don't replace your breast implants?
If you don’t remove breast implants after 10-15 years, they’re more likely to start causing complications. Complications can include capsular contracture, breast pain, deformity, implant rupture, and malrotation.
Can breast implants last 30 years?
Theoretically, implants can last for 30 years, however, they’re more likely to cause complications requiring removal after 10-15 years. More modern implants are now designed to last longer than 15 years.
How do you know when breast implants need replacing?
If you have breast pain, contracted breasts, deformed breasts, uneven breasts, or breast deflation, then you might need implant removal surgery. The best way to know if you need surgery is to speak to a qualified surgeon like Dr Hunt.
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PLASTIC SURGEON SYDNEY
About Dr Jeremy Hunt
Dr Hunt has worked with thousands of patients across his 20-year career. This is reflected in his role as Spokesperson for the ASPS – Australian Society of Plastic Surgery. Dr Hunt is also a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) and Supervisor of Plastic Surgery Training at Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Dr Hunt has a strong interest in helping his patients achieve their desired results by employing the most appropriate practices for each individual patient.
PLASTIC SURGEON SYDNEY
Dr Maryam Seyedabadi
Dr Maryam Seyedabadi has recently joined Dr Hunt’s practice in Edgecliff and is now available for consultations on a range of plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery for breast, body and face.
She is just one of the very few dually qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons, completing both medical and dental degrees. This gives her a unique skillset and ability for face surgery, orthognathic & jaw surgery.
As a Sydney Female Plastic Surgeon, Dr Maryam offers surgery by women for women. She is supported in clinic & theatre by a completely female surgical team for those who prefer being operated on in a women-only or more female-friendly private hospital environment.