Rebecca J. Stahl, MA
Breast implant removal is a surgery to remove breast implants.
Breast implants may be removed because of complications, such as:
Women may also need to have implants removed for breast cancer treatment.
The implants may also be removed for cosmetic reasons.
After the implants are removed, the skin will look loose. Another surgery is usually needed to lift the breasts and adjust the tissue and skin. Another option is to have the old implants replaced with new ones.
Your doctor will review other potential problems, like:
Smoking may increase your risk of complications.
Talk to your doctor about these risks before the procedure.
Before the procedure, your doctor will:
You may also have blood tests and imaging tests
You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
Leading up to your procedure:
This surgery may be done with:
A small incision will be made along the crease beneath the breast. The implant will be removed through the incisions. Extra care will be taken if the implant has ruptured. Thick, hard scar tissue may have developed around the implant area. It will need to be removed during surgery. This will require a larger incision.
Another option includes making an incision in the area around the nipple. The implant will be deflated then removed.
Dissolvable sutures will be used to close up the incisions.
It takes about one hour, but it may take longer if there are complications.
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. As you recover, you will have some pain, especially if you have had scar tissue removed. You will be given pain medication.
This procedure may be done in the hospital or surgery center. It may be possible to leave the same day as the procedure. However, you may be asked to stay overnight.
The hospital staff will monitor you. Your breasts may be wrapped in a compression bandage. Dressings will be placed on the incision sites.
When you return home, use a compression bandage or wear a special bra as advised by your doctor.
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Breast Implant Information
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Women's Health Matters
Breast implant replacement or removal. The Hospital Group website. Available at:
http://www.thehospitalgroup.org/cosmetic-surgery/breast-home/implant-replacement. Accessed September 5, 2014.
Breast implant surgery. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at:
http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/BreastImplants/ucm064176.htm. Accessed September 5, 2014.
Risks of breast implants. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at:
http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/implantsandprosthetics/breastimplants/ucm064106.htm. Accessed September 5, 2014.
What you need to know about breast implants. National Research Center for Women & Families website. Available at:
http://center4research.org/medical-care-for-adults/breast-implants-and-other-cosmetic-procedures/what-you-need-to-know-about-breast-implants. Accessed September 5, 2014.
Last reviewed September 2015 by Donald Buck, MD
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