Breast implant removal surgery is carried out to address health or aesthetic concerns.
Over time, changes in perception, lifestyle and health can all contribute to a woman’s desire to reverse her original breast implant procedure.
Why women consider breast implant removal
A range of factors can play a role in the decision to remove breast implants. Patients may not feel they need them any longer or there may be more than one issue involved.
Some common reasons can include:
Personal preferences – Some patients may simply want to have their breast implants removed. Some patients have enjoyed having implants, but have found their body has changed with age,
pregnancy, hormones or weight fluctuations. The natural breast volume can increase with
age and overall body proportions can also change. For some patients, removing their implants is about rebalancing their body proportions and being free of implants.
Medical complications – There may be a rupture of the implant which has resulted in visible changes or which may be asymptomatic and identified on routine ultrasound. Pain, tightness and changes in appearance related to a capsular contracture would also warrant removal of the implant. This refers to an adverse scarring around an implant that can eventually distort the implant as well as feel uncomfortable.
Breast Implant Illness – In recent years, an increasing number of patients have reported illness and symptoms linked to breast implants. Whilst the link is still controversial amongst specialists, patients continue to present with concerns about this possible association. Some women experience extreme symptoms that they believe to be linked to their implants. Common symptoms can include fatigue, mental clouding, anxiety and autoimmune signs such as rashes, arthritis or gastrointestinal upset. These symptoms can be debilitating at times and patients have often been through the process of investigations and seeing specialists to exclude other diagnoses that may explain their symptoms before presenting to have their implants removed.
The en bloc technique : Following a breast augmentation, your body naturally forms a layer of scar tissue around the implant to separate it from your body. This layer is known as the “capsule”. In most cases this capsule is thin and filmy, but in capsular contracture, this can become thick and uncomfortable often distorting the shape of the implant.
The use of the word capsule can be confusing as the shell of an implant is also often referred to as a capsule. In this situation sometimes it is more specifically called the implant capsule. It is worth keeping this in mind when reading about this topic. To be clear, I will use the term capsule to describe the scar tissue produced by the body to wall off an implant.
The en bloc capsulectomy describes the surgical removal of a breast implant and its overlying capsule in one piece. The idea is that by removing the implant within the capsule, it ensures that the implant and any residue of silicone is removed without leakage into the surrounding tissue.
Click on the link for more information on en bloc capsulectomy.
This is an umbrella term to describe any number of strategies used to improve or rectify problems related to breast implants. This may involve capsulectomy, replacing implants for a different size, manipulating the implant pocket, breast lifting and even fat grafting.
Click on the link for more information on breast revision surgery.
Breast lift surgery can be performed in conjunction with implant removal with or without capsulectomy. This is a complex procedure which aims to restore shape and position of the breasts following the loss of volume when implants are removed. It carries some risks owing to the complexity of the surgery and is therefore not always appropriate to be offered at the same time as an implant removal.
Dr Lam will discuss your risks based on your general health, smoking status, the types of previous surgeries on your breasts and the thickness of your skin and tissue over your implants. It is sometimes safer and wiser to delay a breast lift procedure until 6-9 months after the implants are removed, but this is a detailed discussion that needs to be tailored to you.
Click on the link for more information on breast lifts.
Also known as lipoaugmentation or fat grafting, this procedure involves transferring fat from other areas of the body (often the hips, thighs or abdomen) to the breast area. This is a relatively new technique that has seen big advances in the volumes able to be transferred, while maximising fat survival. Fat transfer can sometimes be performed at the same time as a breast implant removal with or without capsulectomy depending mainly on the amount of residual tissue left over in the breast. If there is adequate volume to support new fat from other areas, it may be appropriate to perform at the same time. However, if your tissue is too thin to initially support transferred fat, it may be better to wait until you have healed completely before fat grafting is to occur. In this delayed manner your breast tissue will be adhered to your chest and fat can be transferred into several plains with the assurance that it can be supported physically and have adequate nutrition to maintain its viability. As you can see, it is not a case of one size fits all. The decisions regarding fat grafting following implant removal are complex and these discussions need to be guided by Dr Lam based on your goals and general health.
Click on the link for more information about fat transfer.
Ask a question or book a consultation
When you visit Dr Lam at Cranford House Plastic Surgery in Adelaide, he will assess your health and discuss with you what your desired outcome is. Everyone is unique, and so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. To find out how Dr Lam can help you, or to request a consultation, please contact us.