Breast Implant Removal

Services / Breast Surgery / Breast Implant Removal

An increasing number of women are opting to have their breast implants removed. The numbers are still dwarfed by those wishing to augment their breasts with implants, but there is some growth in implant removal. This could be due in part to the recent FDA recall and ban on Allergan Biocell textured implants due to their risk of possible development of a type of lymphoma known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

Regardless of the reasons, Dr. Leedy helps patients who want to remove their breast implants. He often combines removal with a breast lift for the best aesthetic results.

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What is breast implant removal?

Breast implant removal with Cleveland Plastic Surgery Institute is a surgical procedure where Dr. Leedy removes a patient’s breast implants from a former augmentation procedure. The implants can usually be removed using the same incision locations from their placement, making for a straightforward procedure.

When Dr. Leedy is removing the implants, if he finds an excessive amount of scar tissue from capsular contracture, he will also remove most of that hardened capsule of tissue. If the scar tissue is still soft and malleable, it will likely be left in place.

What are the common reasons a woman would want to have her implants removed?

There are different reasons a woman may opt for implant removal:

Capsular contracture is the main reason. Capsular contracture is the process of excessive scar tissue forming around the implants causing tightness and pain in the chest. The implants are removed through revision surgery, along with most of the excess scar tissue. Most women opt to have new implants placed, however.

Other women don’t feel they need implants any longer, whether they’ve reached an older age (over 55 years of age, for instance), or whether they’ve come to accept their body without larger breasts. As they reach old age, they’d rather do so without an augmented chest.

Other women are reporting symptoms that have been given the term “breast implant illness.” Although there isn’t any research to specifically link implants to health outcomes, patients anecdotally report these symptoms: fatigue, memory loss, headaches, joint and muscle pain, hair loss, recurring infections, and swollen lymph nodes. At this point, breast implant illness hasn’t been confirmed through research, but some women are worried about the potential and want their implants removed.

There has been confirmation of BIA-ALCL, as discussed above. The incidence has been quite low, but it has led the FDA to require Allergan to remove all textured Biocell implants from the market permanently. The FDA has not, at least at this point, recommended that women with these implants have them removed.

How will my breasts look after my implants are removed?

Some patients assume their breasts will look the same as they did prior to their augmentation, but this is not the case. The weight of your implants will have stretched your breast skin and the support tissues. With larger implants, changes can also occur in the rib area. Without the implants, it’s likely your breasts will be sagging and flattened. They may be asymmetrical.

For most implant removal procedures, Dr. Leedy recommends performing a breast lift at the same time to address these issues.

Is a breast lift necessary after implant removal?

It’s likely that once your implants are removed, your breasts will have many of the characteristics that women seek to correct with a breast lift. That’s why in the majority of cases Dr. Leedy recommends a breast lift as a part of the implant removal process. This is because with a breast lift, he can remove the loose hanging skin, reposition the remaining breast tissue, and likely relocate the nipple/areola complex.

The goal with a breast lift is to return the breasts to a higher position on the chest, which will be important for you to be satisfied with the appearance of your breasts after removing your implants. As mentioned, without a lift, it’s likely your breasts will be quite flat and saggy without the implants. This is especially true the longer you have had implants, and with larger implant sizes.

“Dr. Leedy and staff were wonderful. They were very kind and professional. I was treated with much respect and didn't hesitate to answer my questions to resolve my anxiety before my procedure. They listen and take the time you need to make sure what is truly best for you. I am extremely happy with my results. Definitely recommend ! 👍” - Jeannieann B.

What will my recovery be like after having my implants removed?

Your recovery will depend upon if you also had Dr. Leedy perform a breast lift at the time your implants were removed.

These are not difficult recoveries if you simply have Dr. Leedy remove the implants. You’ll be sore on the small incisions for a few days, but you won’t have a lengthy recovery. Your chest will feel different without the implants, but it isn’t a sensation of pain.

As mentioned above, however, most patients having implants removed also request a breast lift so they aren’t left with flattened sagging breasts after the implants are removed. Because there is more tissue repositioning and excision of excess sagging skin, the addition of a breast lift makes these recoveries more involved. You won’t be able to lift anything more than a gallon of milk for about one month. Any heavier lifting or strenuous exercise will need to wait for six weeks after a breast lift.

Will I have noticeable scarring after my implants are removed?

That depends. Dr. Leedy will use your original incisions to remove your implants, so obviously this doesn’t create any new scarring. But if he also performs a lift to improve the sagging loose skin, that will create some scarring. The typical incision method for a lift in these cases would be either a lollipop incision (circling the areola and dropping down to the breast crease) or an anchor incision (the lollipop incision plus the incision extends along the breast crease in both directions). The method he uses will be dictated by the amount of sagging skin that needs to be removed. This will leave scarring.

How to prepare for Breast Implant Removal Procedure?

The below-mentioned guidelines will enable the patient to prepare appropriately for breast implant removal: Arrange to have the health records sent from the physician and specialist directly to the surgeon’s office Enlist all medications such as prescription drugs, NSAIDs, blood-thinner, herbal supplements and vitamins that the patient currently uses Get medical tests and mammograms done according to the instructions of the surgeon If the surgeon wants to alter the schedule of any prescription drugs, they will do so in discussion with the prescribing physician In case the patient is a smoker, they will need to quit smoking for the period specified by the surgeon Complete any urgent work-related or household tasks in advance of the procedure to enjoy a relaxed recovery duration Ask a family member or friend or engage a caregiver for assistance during the early recovery period, as required The patient should enlist someone responsible to drive them home following the breast removal plastic surgery

The surgeon’s team may provide the patient with a copy of common surgery instructions or do’s and don’ts to allow her to prepare for her impending breast implant revision plastic surgery. These guidelines may include: Do not use aspirin, ibuprofen, and other blood-thinning meds as well as NSAIDs for a minimum of two weeks prior to the surgery. Do not take vitamin C, vitamin E, homeopathic remedies, herbal medicines, and supplements, for at least two to four weeks prior to the procedure. Avoid wearing makeup, body piercings, jewelry, or contact lenses to the surgical venue. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable shoes, and clothing on the day of the surgery. The top should ideally be front-open as the procedure involves the upper body. Avoid the consumption of alcohol for a minimum of 48 hours before the surgery. In case the breast revision surgery is being undertaken general anesthesia, avoid eating and drinking for eight hours before the procedure. Patients with diabetes should have their parameters evaluated on the morning of the procedure.

How safe is the Breast Implant Removal procedure?

It is necessary to wear the recommended compression bra 24 hours a day until the first follow-up visit after surgery. The garment can be removed for showering but should be worn at all other times. Patients will likely need at least two compression bras to accommodate this amount of wear. Depending on the healing process, Dr. Leedy may advise patients to continue wearing compression for 4 to 6 weeks.

How long will I need to wear a compression bra after Breast Implant Removal?

It is necessary to wear the recommended compression bra 24 hours a day until the first follow-up visit after surgery. The garment can be removed for showering but should be worn at all other times. Patients will likely need at least two compression bras to accommodate this amount of wear. Depending on the healing process, Dr. Leedy may advise patients to continue wearing compression for 4 to 6 weeks.

Are there any risks associated with Breast Implant Removal?

The vast majority of patients who undergo breast implant removal do so with no complications or with minimal post-surgical side effects. That said, all surgeries carry some degree of risk. Breast surgeries, including breast implant removal, carry risks for unsatisfactory cosmetic outcomes as well as infection, bleeding, poor wound healing, asymmetry, fluid or blood accumulation beneath the skin, and nerve damage resulting in nipple or tissue numbness or other changes in sensation.

What are "Cupping" and "Fluffing" and why does this occur?

Cupping is a form of alternative therapy that involves placing specially designed, flexible "cups" against the skin to create mild suction. Cupping is done for many reasons, including to help with pain, inflammation, and blood flow. Some women who undergo breast explantation perform cupping or have this therapy done by a trained practitioner to enhance their healing process. The technique must be done accurately and not before 4-weeks post-op.

Fluffing is the term that is commonly used to describe the natural smoothing and softening of the breasts after any kind of breast surgery. Even after explantation and a breast lift, the breast tissue can be firmer and tighter due to fluid in the soft tissue. As inflammation and fluid accumulation subside, the breasts become softer and more natural-looking and feeling.

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