Changes occur daily in our lives.  Breast implants are not permanent prostheses.  Some people choose to have their breast implants removed and replaced due to implants ruptured or other unforeseen medical complications such as asymmetry and capsular contracture or excessive scarring around the implants.  Others simply do not want their implants any longer.  Breast implant removal is an outpatient patient surgery that’s performed to remove the implants.  The scar is well concealed in the fold of the breast.  If you choose to have replacement and do not have capsular contracture, the implant is simply removed and replaced.  If you have capsular contracture, the capsule will need to be removed before replacement to allow the implant to move freely and return the soft sensation back to the breast.  No drain will be needed in these cases typically.  If you choose to have your implant removed without replacement, the capsules will need to be removed and a drain is placed in each breast to remove the fluid your body produced into the empty space.  The drain will be removed in the office in 1-2 weeks depending on the amount of drainage.  Frequently, a breast lift is performed with breast implant removal without replacement to lift the deflated breasts and restore the breast to a more natural shape. (see before and after photos of breast implant removal surgery)

What is the recovery for breast implant removal?

This is an outpatient surgery that is done under general anesthesia, but you can go home after the surgery on the same day.  If the breast implants are replaced, then a surgical bra must be worn at all times for 4 weeks.  If the implants are removed without replacement, a compression garment is worn on the chest at all time for 6 weeks to help reduce the swelling and reduce the risk of fluid collection.  The limitation is no strenuous exercise and no heavy lifting for 6 weeks.  Most people return to normal activities in 1-2 weeks.  If you have drains, they will be removed in 1-2 weeks depending on the amount of drainage.

What are the risks of surgery?

As with any surgery, there is risk of bleeding, infection, hematoma, fluid collection, tissue necrosis, nipple necrosis, open wound, contour deformity, scarring, asymmetry, decrease or no sensation in the surgical area, and need for further surgery.  Frequently, a breast lift is performed with breast implant removal without replacement to lift the deflated breasts and restore the breast to a more natural shape.  Otherwise the breast can look distorted and deflated after breast implants removal without replacement.