A 41 year old female patient who had a breast lift with implant exchange. – front view
A 41 year old female patient who had a breast lift with implant exchange – right oblique view
A 41 year old female patient who had a breast lift with implant exchange – right view
Breast implant removal surgery has become popular recently. Traditionally, breast implant removal was an accepted procedure but infrequently performed. Although breast augmentation patients are well aware that silicone breast implants are not permanent, they typically elect to undergo a breast implant exchange rather than a removal procedure when implants get older, or they experience a ruptured implant. Surgical procedures following silicone breast implants typically occur every 10 to 20 years on average. Typically, a plastic surgeon will remove the implant, replace it with another, and frequently perform a breast lift if breast sagging occurs in the interim.
Indications for breast implant removal are several and include:
- Hardening of the breast, coined capsular contracture that, describes the thickening of breast capsules
- Pain around your implants often due to breast scar tissue tethering nerves
- Desire to exchange breast implant size
- Needing a lift following breast implant augmentation
- Imaging that documents an implant leakage following silicone breast implants
- Patient detecting deflation following saline breast implants
- Patients desiring removal of breast implants
Hardening of the Breast, Coined Capsular Contracture
Leakage of the breast implant often leads to hardening of the breast or capsular contracture. Even if imaging does not demonstrate implant leakage, capsular contracture usually develops due to the oozing of silicone molecules from inside to outside the shell. When this leakage occurs microscopically, termed bleeding, it may not be detected radiologically. Your plastic surgeon will have to remove the implant and capsule during your breast implant removal surgery in case of capsular contracture.
Pain around the implants
Pain around the implants typically occurs when the capsule around the implant thickens. This thickening of the capsule can be thought of as a scar. When scars form, they tether to structures around them. When they stick to nearby nerves, pain around the implants can become a concern. As a result, patients with pain around their implants may be offered breast implant removal surgery that includes the removal of the thickened capsule. Although this indicates implant removal, it must be reiterated that implant removal does not guarantee pain relief. This is because sensory nerves in the breasts are not detectable by the naked eye. As such, removal of the scar tissue is the limit of the breast implant removal surgery offered.
You would like to exchange them for another size.
When you live through various life experiences, your body may change. This change applies to your breasts. Most notably, losing or gaining weight will affect your breast size preferentially since it is higher in fat density when compared to other body regions. Another common cause of breast size change includes pregnancy and breastfeeding. Patients may wish to either downsize or enlarge their breast mound size by undergoing a breast implant size change.
Needing A Breast Lift
The effects of gravity and even pregnancy and breastfeeding can result in the sagging of the breasts. The sagging effect of the breasts is further compounded when an implant is implanted in the breast. This is because the breast mound will become heavier. The heavier the breast mound, the greater the effect of gravity. Finally, patients who do not regularly wear a bra will observe quicker breast sagging. If you have had a breast implant in place for over five years, it is prudent to consider implant replacement if you are already undergoing a breast lift.
Imaging That Documents Implant Leakage
Leakage of the implant documented by imaging is a definitive indication for implant removal. If the implant leakage is left unattended, the silicone molecules may freely migrate through the capsule, lymph nodes, and even more distant locations. The migration of the silicone molecules into and through the capsule results in collagen deposition and thickening of the capsule. With time, the capsule can deform the breast mound and thus be undesirable. The negative consequences of the distant migration of silicone molecules are less understood. However, the recent concern of breast implant illness leads us to the final indication.
You Want Your Implants Out
You may remove your breast implants with no questions asked. This desire has become more common with breast implant illness syndrome. Breast implant illness describes cases where patients have developed a variety of autoimmune and nonspecific symptoms such as aches and fatigue. Although this diagnosis has not been scientifically proven, it is important to note that most patients have noted a clear improvement in their concerns after removing their implants.
In summary, if you wish to have your breast implants removed, we encourage you to consult with one of our SurgiSculpt surgeons. Together, you can create a custom, individualized surgical plan for your breast implant removal surgery.