While breast augmentation continues to be one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures every year, some women decide later on that they no longer want their implants, due to cosmetic or medical reasons. Breast implant removal, also known as breast explantation, is a surgical procedure that involves removing the breast implants and surrounding scar tissue. Our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Behzad Parva, is highly experienced with performing breast implant removal for those in need of a breast revision, as well as those wanting to completely remove their implants without replacement.
- Reasons for Breast Implant Removal
- Breast Implant Removal Procedure
- What Is En Bloc Capsulectomy?
- Breast Implant Removal Recovery
- Breast Implant Removal Cost
What Are the Possible Reasons for Breast Implant Removal?
Breast implant removal may be performed to alter the appearance of the breasts or to address a health-related implant complication. In many cases a breast revision may be desired to update the breast implants; in other cases an explant may be performed without replacing the implants. The most common reasons that patients may seek breast implant removal include the following:
- Want to exchange breast implants for a different size, type, or shape
- No longer want breast implants and wish to shape or rejuvenate the breast as they have changed over the years
- Need to correct a complication that has occurred, such as an implant rupture or capsular contracture (scar tissue tightening around the implant)
- Are concerned about health conditions related to breast implants—such as Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), an extremely rare disease of the immune system
During your consultation Dr. Parva will help you understand how implant removal may be able to address your concerns and help you achieve your desired outcome. This conversation, as well as a physical examination and review of your medical history, will guide Dr. Parva in recommending the most appropriate surgical technique.
What Does the Breast Implant Removal Procedure Involve?
Breast implant removal surgery will be different for every patient depending on their unique needs. In many cases the surgery can be performed through the same incisions as the initial breast augmentation. The specific technique used for your implant removal will be tailored to effectively address your concerns and minimize your risk of complications. For some patients only the implant will need to be removed, while others will need the entire implant and capsule removed (total capsulectomy), often using the en bloc technique. Drains are often placed to prevent fluid buildup during the beginning of the recovery period.
Some patients may choose to undergo a breast lift (mastopexy) during their explant surgery, since the breast tissue can stretch from accommodating implants. This can enhance the appearance of the breasts after implant removal, especially for those having larger breast implants removed.
A very individualized approach is needed since the breasts will change over the course of time due to aging, weight changes, etc.
What Is En Bloc Capsulectomy?
If a total capsulectomy is performed, this means the entire capsule of scar tissue that has developed around the implant is removed. When this is required, Dr. Parva typically employs what is referred to as the en bloc technique. The term “en bloc” is typically associated with the mastectomy procedure. En bloc resection refers to a cancer operation that removes a cancerous mass and a rim, or margin, of surrounding healthy tissue. With patients considering removal of their textured implants and the surrounding capsule, the correct terminology is total capsulectomy, not en bloc resection. En bloc resection would be accurate if a patient is being treated for a diagnosed BIA-ALCL.
When breast implant removal is performed utilizing this technique, the breast implant is removed while it is still contained inside the capsule. This is especially beneficial if capsular contracture has formed or a rupture has occurred, since any leaked silicone material often remains inside the capsule. Since this technique may not always be possible, Dr. Parva will carefully evaluate your needs to determine the safest and most beneficial technique for your needs.
What Can I Expect in My Breast Implant Removal Recovery?
The details of your recovery from breast implant removal will depend upon the technique used for your surgery. In general, patients can typically resume many of their normal, non-strenuous activities after a few days and return to work after one week. Compression garments will need to be worn to facilitate the healing process. Bruising and swelling are normal side effects after explant surgery, and these should significantly fade within the first few weeks. You should avoid strenuous activities for about six weeks to allow yourself adequate time to heal. More personalized details about your recovery, including post-operative wound care instructions, will be provided before your procedure.
How Much Does Breast Implant Removal Cost?
Breast implant removal costs an average of $3,000 for the surgeon’s fee. However, the total cost of the procedure can greatly vary depending on the specifics of each case. Factors that can influence how much you can expect to pay for explant surgery include the expertise of the surgeon, geographic location of the practice, complexity of the surgery, and fees related to anesthesia and the surgical facility. During your consultation with Dr. Parva, you will be provided with a cost estimate based on the details of your surgical plan.