Breast Implant Removal Explained
Breast implant removal, also known as explantation, is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of breast implants. Women choose to have breast implant removal for various reasons such as health concerns, changes in personal preferences, and complications from the initial surgery. The cost of explantation varies and depends on several factors. In this article, we will discuss the procedure of breast implant removal, the reasons for removal, and the cost associated with it.
Reasons for Breast Implant Removal
There are several reasons why women may choose to have their breast implants removed. Some of these reasons include:
- Health Concerns: Women may opt for implant removal due to health concerns such as a rupture or leakage, infection, and capsular contracture.
- Personal Preferences: As women age, their bodies change, and what may have been appealing to them initially may no longer be the case. Some women choose to remove their implants for aesthetic purposes or because they feel uncomfortable with them.
- Breast Cancer: For women with breast cancer, the removal of an implant in a reconstructed breast is sometimes necessary as part of their breast cancer treatment.
- Lifestyle Changes: Women who lead active lifestyles or engage in rigorous activities such as sports may choose to remove their implants to improve mobility and comfort.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Women who plan on becoming pregnant or who are currently breastfeeding may opt for breast implant removal due to the potential health risks and physical changes that may occur during these periods.
The Procedure for Breast Implant Removal
The procedure for breast implant removal is similar to the initial surgery for implantation. Depending on the reason for removal, the procedure may be done under local or general anesthesia. The surgeon will make an incision either under the breast, around the nipple, or in the armpit to access the implant.
Once the implant is exposed, the surgeon will carefully remove it, and in some cases, the capsule that forms around the implant may also be removed. After the implant and capsule have been removed, the incision is closed with sutures, and a dressing is applied to the area.
In some instances, women may choose to have a breast lift or other breast procedures performed along with the implant removal. It is important to discuss these options with a qualified plastic surgeon to determine the best course of action for optimal results.
The Cost of Breast Implant Removal
The cost of breast implant removal varies depending on several factors such as:
- Location: The cost of surgery varies by geographic location. Cities and areas with higher costs of living will typically have higher prices.
- Surgeon’s Experience: The experience level of the surgeon will impact the cost of the procedure. Surgeons who are highly experienced and have a good reputation will generally charge more.
- Anesthesia: The type of anesthesia used will also impact the overall cost of the procedure. General anesthesia is typically more expensive than local anesthesia.
- Complexity: The complexity of the procedure will also affect the cost. More complicated surgeries will require more time, which will increase the cost of the procedure.
On average, the cost of breast implant removal ranges from $2,000 to $10,000. This cost includes fees for the surgeon, anesthesia, facility, and post-operative care. However, the cost may be higher if additional procedures such as a breast lift or biopsy are also required. It is important to note that health insurance does not typically cover the cost of breast implant removal unless it is deemed medically necessary.
Potential Risks and Side Effects of Breast Implant Removal
As with any surgery, there are potential risks and side effects associated with breast implant removal. These may include:
- Bleeding and Infection: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of bleeding and infection. Proper pre- and post-operative care is essential to minimize these risks.
- Scarring: Scarring is an inevitable result of surgery, and scars may be more visible in some patients than others.
- Changes to Breast Shape: After implant removal, the shape of the breast may be altered, and it may appear saggy or deflated. Additional procedures such as breast lifts may be necessary to achieve the desired results.
- Changes in Sensation: Some women may experience changes in nipple, breast, or chest wall sensation after implant removal.
- Repeat Surgery: In some instances, additional surgery may be necessary to correct any complications or achieve the desired results.
It is important to discuss these potential risks and side effects with a qualified plastic surgeon before undergoing any surgical procedure.
Recovery from Breast Implant Removal
After breast implant removal, patients should expect a recovery period of several weeks. During this time, patients should avoid strenuous activities and lift nothing heavier than ten pounds for at least a week after surgery. It is also important to avoid any activity that may cause trauma or impact to the breast area.
Patients may experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort after surgery, but these symptoms should subside within a few days. Pain medication may be prescribed to manage any discomfort.
Patients should wear a supportive bra for several weeks after surgery to prevent any pressure or movement that may cause complications. Strenuous activities and exercise should be avoided for at least six weeks after surgery.
Patients should follow all post-operative instructions provided by their surgeon to ensure a successful recovery. It is also essential to attend all follow-up appointments to monitor progress and address any concerns.
Choosing a Plastic Surgeon for Breast Implant Removal
When considering breast implant removal, it is crucial to choose a qualified plastic surgeon with experience in the procedure. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a plastic surgeon:
- Board Certification: Ensure that the surgeon is board-certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
- Experience: Choose a surgeon with a proven track record of performing breast implant removal successfully.
- Hospital Privileges: The surgeon should have hospital privileges and be able to perform the procedure in a hospital setting if necessary.
- Good Communicator: The surgeon should be able to explain the procedure, risks, and expected outcomes while addressing any questions or concerns.
- Patient Reviews: Read patient reviews and testimonials and look for a surgeon with a positive reputation.
It is also important to schedule a consultation with the surgeon to discuss the specific details of the surgery, including cost, recovery time, and any potential complications.
Alternative Options to Breast Implant Removal
Some women may not be ready or willing to undergo breast implant removal for various reasons. Here are some alternative options to consider:
- Changing Implant Size: Women who are unhappy with the size of their implants may choose to have them replaced with a smaller size or removed altogether.
- Fat Transfer: In a fat transfer procedure, fat is removed from one area of the body and injected into the breasts to improve their appearance without the use of implants.
- Breast Lift: A breast lift can help lift and reshape breasts that have sagged due to age or weight loss.
- Non-Invasive Procedures: Non-invasive procedures such as laser treatments and injectables can help improve the appearance of the breasts without the need for surgery.
It is essential to discuss all options with a qualified plastic surgeon to determine the best course of action to achieve the desired results.
Breast implant removal is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of breast implants. Women may choose to have the procedure for various reasons such as health concerns, personal preferences, or complications from the initial surgery. The cost varies depending on several factors, including the location, surgeon’s experience, anesthesia, and complexity of the procedure.
As with any surgery, there are potential risks and side effects involved, including bleeding, scarring, changes in breast shape or sensation, and repeat surgery. Proper recovery is essential, and patients should follow their surgeon’s post-operative instructions and attend all follow-up appointments.
Choosing a qualified plastic surgeon with experience and board certification is vital to ensure the best possible outcome. Alternative options such as changing implant size, fat transfer, breast lift, and non-invasive procedures may be considered as well.
It is essential to take the time to research and discuss all options thoroughly with a qualified plastic surgeon before undergoing any surgical procedure to achieve the best possible results.
If you are considering breast implant removal, here are some additional resources to help you make an informed decision:
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons – Breast Implant Removal: This resource provides information on breast implant removal, including the procedure, recovery, potential risks and complications, and alternative options.
- Breastcancer.org – Breast Reconstruction: This resource provides comprehensive information on breast reconstruction, including breast implant removal in the case of breast cancer treatment.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information – Breast Implant Removal: What Patients Need to Know: This research article provides an in-depth overview of breast implant removal, including indications, surgical techniques, and outcomes.
- RealSelf – Breast Implant Removal: This online community provides patient reviews, before and after photos, and Q&A with board-certified plastic surgeons.
Remember to consult a qualified plastic surgeon and make an informed decision regarding breast implant removal.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). Breast Implant Removal. Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/breast-implant-removal
- Breastcancer.org. (2021). Breast Reconstruction. Retrieved from https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction
- Preminger, A. (2018). Breast implant removal: What patients need to know. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266798/
- RealSelf. (n.d.). Breast Implant Removal. Retrieved from https://www.realself.com/breast-implant-removal