Top New York plastic surgeon Dr. Darrick Antell is board certified in plastic surgery, emphasizing cosmetic surgery. One of the plastic surgery procedures he performs is breast implant removal, also known as explantation.
Explantation is a procedure where silicone or saline implants are removed, for cosmetic, medical, or lifestyle reasons. The goal is to remove, replace, or reposition existing implants. If you are considering explantation, this section will give you a basic understanding of the procedure.
Women with implant complications or those who are simply unhappy with the size and shape of their augmentation may choose to have their implants removed.
The goal is to give the woman smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion with the rest of her body.
If you're considering breast implant removal, this will give you a basic understanding of the procedure —how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions because a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Please be sure to ask your doctor if there is anything about the procedure you don't understand.
The best candidates for Breast Implant removal are those who wish to remove their existing implants for medical or personal reasons. Medical reasons may include breast cancer, or implant complications such as implant rupture, deflation, folding, capsular contracture, displacement, or infection.
Breast Implant Removal is not a simple operation, but it's normally safe when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications, including bleeding, infection, or reaction to the anesthesia. You can reduce your risks by closely following your physician's advice both before and after surgery.
The procedure may leave scarring, although they'll typically be covered by your bra or bathing suit. (Poor healing and wider scars are more common in smokers.)
Some patients may experience a loss of feeling in their nipples or breasts which may last up to six months, or in some cases may be permanent.
Breast deformity or sagging of the breast area may occur in some patients depending on how your breasts have aged.
In your initial consultation, it's important to discuss your expectations frankly with your surgeon, and to listen to his or her opinion.
The surgeon will examine and measure your breasts, and will probably photograph them for reference during surgery and afterwards. He or she will discuss the variables that may affect the procedure - such as your age, the size and shape of your breasts, and the condition of your skin.
Your surgeon will describe the procedure in detail, explaining its risks. The surgeon should also explain the anesthesia he or she will use, the facility where the surgery will be performed, and the costs. (Some insurance companies will pay for Breast Implant Removal if it's medically necessary. Check your policy, and contact our office to perform a benefits check.
Your surgeon may require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery. You'll also get specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.
While you're making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery.
Breast Implant Removal is generally done in an ambulatory surgical facility as an outpatient procedure. The surgery itself usually takes two to three hours, but may take longer if a breast lift is also performed. You can expect to remain in the recovery room for one or two hours after the surgery, but after you are free to go home.
Breast Implant Removal is typically performed under twilight anesthesia. You'll be asleep and comfortable through the entire operation and a board certified anesthesiologist will monitor you. In a limited number of cases, you may be able to have the implants removed with only local anesthesia.
If your initial incision was under the breast, you can usually remove implants through the same incision. That is also sometimes true for the nipple incision. The armpit incision however; is typically not an option for implant removal. Depending on how your breasts have aged, you may be able to simply remove the implant and the remaining breast can have a very acceptable appearance (see before and after photos by clicking here). However, if your breasts have sagged with age, or if your breasts have increased in size with weight gain, you may require additional procedures to improve the shape. Those procedures may include a breast lift or a breast reduction.
Breast lift surgery may be done at the same time as breast implant removal surgery if skin has been overly stretched or shows signs of sagging. The goal is to create smaller, shapelier breasts in better proportion to the body. In some cases, the areola may be resized or reshaped to better fit your smaller breasts.
After surgery, you'll be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a bra over gauze dressings.
You may feel some discomfort for the first couple of days — especially when you move around or cough — and mild discomfort for a week or more. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to lessen the discomfort.
The bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery. If you also have a breast lift or breast reduction you may be advised to continue wearing a bra around the clock for several weeks, until the swelling and bruising subside. Stitches are dissolving with limited sutures on the surface, which can be removed in 7-10 days.If your breast skin is very dry following surgery, you can apply a moisturizer several times a day, but be sure to keep the suture area dry. Your first menstruation following surgery may cause your breasts to swell and hurt. You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This usually fades over the next six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more.
Although you may be up and about in a day or two, your breasts may still ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. You should avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for 2-3 weeks.
Your surgeon will give you detailed instructions for resuming your normal activities. Most women can return to work (if it's not too strenuous) and social activities in less than a week. But you may have less stamina for several weeks, and should limit your exercises to walking until your energy level returns. You'll also need a good athletic bra for support.
You may be instructed to avoid sex for a week or more, since sexual arousal can cause your incisions to swell, and to avoid anything but gentle contact with your breasts for about six weeks.A small amount of fluid draining from your surgical wound, or some crusting, is normal. If you have any unusual symptoms, such as bleeding or severe discomfort, don't hesitate to call your doctor.
Although much of the swelling and bruising will disappear in the first few weeks, it may take 3-6 months before your breasts completely settle into their new shape. Even then, their shape may fluctuate in response to your hormonal shifts or weight changes.
Your surgeon will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible.
Breast Implant Removal results can help you achieve smaller, shapelier breasts in better proportion to your body.
However, as much as you may have desired these changes, you'll need time to adjust to your new image. Be patient with yourself, and with them. Keep in mind why you had this surgery, and chances are that, like most women, you'll be pleased with the results.
Dr. Darrick E. Antell and his staff will be happy to discuss Breast Implant Removal with you. Please call for a private consultation or schedule an appointment online at our office.