Breast Implant Removal
3 Min Read
Breast implant removal has likely been on the minds of many women over the recent weeks (since Allergan™ announced the voluntary recall of their BIOCELL® textured implants). While the recall is a prominent reason why women are considering breast implant removal right now, it is not the only reason.
Breast implant removal is performed for both health and cosmetic reasons, and implant removal doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with the implant.
Reasons for Removal
Change in Preference
Often, women choose to remove their implants because they are no longer happy with the aesthetic appearance that their implants provide. This dissatisfaction may have been present from the time that the implants were placed, or it could be something that has developed over time.
It can be challenging to know what you want before you get your implants, and it is difficult to see how those implants will impact your lifestyle. Some women wish to remove their breast implants permanently, while others decide to change their implants for different sizes, shapes, and textures, or choose to undergo fat grafting in place of implants.
Implant removal may be necessary after an implant complication. These complications include:
- Capsular contracture: a condition where the scar tissue capsule around the implant tightens and begins to constrict the implant, causing significant pain and aesthetic distortion.
- Implant rupture: a condition where the silicone shell of the saline or silicone implant rips and allows the silicone or saline filling to escape into the body.
- Implant displacement: a condition where the implant moves away from the designated breast pocket.
- Natural aging: breast implants are not designed to last forever. Some last 30 years; others experience complications after five to 10.
The FDA has been researching breast implant safety for decades. Recently, they released findings that suggest textured breast implants (specifically Allergan BIOCELL® textured implants) are linked to BIA-ACLC (breast-implant associated large-cell lymphoma). This is a rare type of cancer that affects the immune system—only a tiny fraction of the millions of women with these implants have experienced any complications.
BIA-ALCL is diagnosed through an MRI of the affected breast. This MRI may be required if you experience fluid buildup around the implant that causes pain, lumps, asymmetry, or hardness of the breast. BIA-ALCL is a dangerous disease; however, it is rare and very treatable when detected early.
How Is Implant Removal Performed?
Implant removal is a straightforward procedure. An incision is made along the breast crease, and the implant, tissue capsule, and any loose silicone (if the implant has ruptured) are removed. The breast pocket is cleaned, and the incision is closed.
* Individual results may vary.
View before-and-after pictures of real patients of Daniel Reichner, MD, FACS
Unfortunately, breast implant removal without replacement can result in premature breast sagging because the extra weight from the augmentation causes the breast skin to stretch and weaken. The excess, stretched skin can be tightened through a breast lift. A breast lift may be recommended after implant removal to ensure that the breasts remain taut and perky.