An equally popular procedure other than the breast augmentation surgery is the breast implant removal surgery that is extensively performed all around the world. There are a lot of breast augmentation cases wherein the patient is not exactly happy with the results of the surgery and would like to get the implanted prosthetics replaced or removed permanently. In other words, the breast implant removal surgery is the ideal medical procedure for removing and replacing breast implants in women who no longer wish to have them.
What are breast implants?
Breast implants are artificial prosthetics that are surgically placed within an incised breast tissue pocket to reconstruct the breast mound and achieve fuller and shapelier body contours. The breast implant surgery is a safe and reliable approach to augmenting the breasts and enhancing their projection against the chest wall. As a result, the patients are typically able to achieve the desired result of curvy and perky breasts soon after the surgery is carried out.
The breast augmentation surgery can be carried out by incorporating either of the two types of breast implants namely saline implants and silicone gel implants. Both saline and silicone implants come in different shapes and sizes and can be used for enhancing the cup size among small breasted women as per their individual cosmetic goals and body type.
What is breast implant removal?
Given the efficacy and reliability of the breast surgery, women world over no longer hesitate to go under the knife for enhancing their bust size and achieving fuller and more youthful body contours. While a majority of the breast implant surgeries yield excellent results, in some cases the patient might not be as satisfied with the new look of their bust. And although the breast implant surgery is pretty reliable with negligible side effects, in a few rare cases the implants might end up causing any physical complications in the patient. In such cases, a surgical procedure called breast implant removal may be carried out by an experienced and qualified surgeon to get rid of the previously implanted breast prosthetics.
How is the breast implant removal surgery performed?
The breast implant removal surgery may either be performed as a standalone operation or clubbed with a subsequent replacement surgery for replacing the removed implants with new ones. In the event that the removed implants are not replaced with new ones, the breast implant removal surgery may be followed by a consecutive breast lift to provide support to the originally sagging breast mound.
The breast implant removal surgery itself takes somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour to perform and is carried out after administering the patient with an intravenous sedative or general anesthesia. Once the anesthetics kick in, the doctor will begin the operation by first incising the scar tissue or the capsule that surrounds the actual implant.
Once the surrounding tissue has been moved out of the way, the doctor will then retrieve the implant by a method that will be determined by the types of implant used. For instance, if you had saline breast implants, the doctor will first pinch and deflate them to reduce their volume and then pull them out of the breast tissue pocket. The saline gel implant, on the other hand, will be retrieved as is.
In a bid to minimize scarring, your breast implants are typically retrieved via the same incision that was earlier made during the breast augmentation surgery. In addition to removing the implants, in some cases, the doctor might also choose to remove the surrounding scar tissue or capsule as well through a process termed as capsulectomy. Capsulectomy might be carried out in certain specific cases where:
- The breast implants will not be replaced.
- A new set of breast implants will be incorporated but in a new position.
- The new replacement breast implant is larger in size as compared to the ones that were removed.
- The new replacement breast implants have a different texture or type that the ones that were removed.
Once the implants are retrieved, the remaining breast tissue pocket is sealed with layered sutures and left to heal. However, if the removed implants are to be replaced with new ones, a consecutive surgery may be performed in the same session.
The doctors take special care in ensuring that the surrounding tissue is not damaged while the implant is being removed and that there is minimal scarring in the process. Once the implant is removed, the remaining breast tissue would eventually retreat back to its original shape. If, however, the implant had been there for a prolonged period of time, the breast tissue and the overlying skin might get loose or sag upon the removal of implants. In such cases, the breast implant removal surgery can be followed up with a breast lift surgery to pull the skin taut and restore the natural contours of the bust area.
When can you go for a breast implant removal?
The breast implant removal surgery is typically performed for the purpose of removing or replacing previously implanted breast prosthetics. Here are some of the common situations in which you might want to go for a breast implant removal surgery.
- In some cases, the patient is not happy with the results achieved by a breast augmentation surgery and might be dissatisfied with the appearance of their new breasts. A breast implant removal surgery can be performed to replace the old implants with a different type, texture, size or positioning of implants and achieve an appearance that is more aligned to the patient’s needs and expectations.
- If you have had your breast augmentation surgery done quite a while ago, you might realize that your old implants are not as stable as the ones available today. If this is the case, you might go for a breast implant removal and get your old implants replaced with more technologically advanced versions.
- If you have saline implants, there are chances of them being damaged or deflated through a major trauma or impact to the breasts or weakening of the implant shell. If a saline implant gets damaged, it will leak and the implant solution will be absorbed or expelled by your body within a couple of days. However, the deflated implant will end up leaving a void within the breast pocket and cause your breast to go back to its original small size and shape. A breast implant removal surgery can be then performed to remove the deflated implants and replace them with new ones.
- As opposed to the silicone gel implants in the past that could be harmful to your body in case of a leak, the latest technology silicone implants are made of cohesive gel that does not escape to the surrounding tissue and stays intact within the shell when ruptured. However, a damaged silicone implant will most certainly cause your breast to get deformed and an implant removal surgery is the best way to replace your damaged prosthetics with fresh ones.
- In some cases, the implants might end up getting rippled and cause wrinkling on your breast skin. Rippling occurs when the outer layer of your implants develops folds or creases that gradually begin to show up on the outside as well. There are a number of factors such as sudden weight loss, a manufacturing defect or inadequate filling of the implant that might cause them to ripple. As such, the best solution to fix this problem is the breast implant removal surgery.
- Another common risk associated with the breast augmentation surgery is the capsular contracture where the surrounding scar tissue gets taut around the implant and forms a sort of capsule that begins squeezing the implant. While capsular contracture can typically cause the breast to get deformed, in certain extreme cases, the entire breast might get hardened or shapeless. In such cases, your doctor is most likely to recommend a breast implant removal surgery to fix the situation at hand.
- While it is fairly uncommon, an infection might develop post breast augmentation surgery. The best approach to dealing with severe surgical infections of this kind is the breast implant removal surgery.
- If a woman with implants is diagnosed with breast cancer, her doctor might prescribe a removal of the prosthetics to ensure proper treatment of the affected tissue. Also, the implants might be removed if the patient needs to undergo a mastectomy for eliminating the malignant breast tissue.
What is the recovery like?
While you can largely resume your daily activities within a couple of days of the operation, it is advisable to wait it out a few weeks before engaging in any strenuous activities that might strain the operated tissue. Your doctor will prescribe a few anti-inflammatory and analgesic