All good things must come to an end, and for some women who have had breast augmentation, that can mean removing their breast implants. Women decide on breast implant removal for a variety of reasons, ranging from a desire to change the size of their breasts to a desire to have a more natural look. In some instances, damage to the implants may mean that they need to be taken out for safety reasons.
If you’re considering removing your implants, here’s what you can expect during and after the surgery and what your options are once the original implants are gone.
Why Remove Breast Implants?
The list of reasons to remove breast implants is just as long as the list of reasons to get them in the first place. For some women, removing implants is a personal choice. They might have decided that they prefer to be a smaller size after years of living with larger breasts. Some women come to the opposite conclusion–they’d like to remove their current implants and get bigger ones.
It’s worth noting that implants don’t always last forever. Some women get rid of their implants because they have simply worn out over time. Or, complications sometimes occur, such as a rupture or capsular contracture that requires the implants be removed.
What Happens During Breast Implant Removal
It’s easiest to think of breast implant removal as a breast augmentation in reverse. During the surgery, the surgeon will usually reverse engineer the process used to place the implants. They will usually start with the same incisions to minimize additional scarring. However, instead of placing the implants, they will remove them. The surgeon will also usually remove any scar tissue from within the breasts.
Once the implants and scar tissue are removed, the surgeon will close of the incisions and the patient will move into recovery. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, it can take about an hour.
What to Expect After Breast Implant Removal
The exact recovery process and experience after breast implant removal can vary from patient to patient. Some patients might have drains placed in the area. Drains will need to be removed at a later date.
Generally, people need about a week to rest up and recover after they’ve had their implants taken out. After that, many patients are able to get back to work or other activities. Exercise should be avoided for about a month to help prevent complications and promote healing.
If you had your implants fully removed and not replaced, your surgeon might recommend wearing a compression bra after the procedure to help things settle into place and avoid irregular contours.
Can You Replace Breast Implants?
Although you might be saying goodbye to your current set of implants, that doesn’t mean you need to be implant-free if you don’t want to. Some women decide to exchange their old breast implants for a new set. Whether the new set is the same size, smaller or larger is up to you. Breast implant exchange doesn’t only allow you to change the size of the implants.
Your surgeon can also change their position in the breasts, such as either under the muscle or over the muscle. You can also change the material of the implant. If you had saline implants you can switch to silicone or if you had silicone you can switch to saline.
Will You Need a Breast Lift?
One thing worth considering when deciding to remove your implants is whether you’ll need a breast lift or not. Depending on your skin’s elasticity and the size of your old implants, your breasts might be a bit saggy or droopy once you no longer have implants. A breast lift will help to reposition them on the chest so that they are more youthful-looking and perky.
Usually, a surgeon can perform a breast lift at the same time that your implants are removed. If you think a breast lift is an option or is something you’re interested in considering, be sure to mention it during your consultation. It’s often more cost-effective and condenses recovery time to have the procedures performed at the same time.
Want to learn more about breast implant removal or exchange? Dr. Paul Vitenas is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas who specializes in breast surgeries. He can discuss your options with you and help you decide the future of your implants. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas, call 281-484-0088 today.