Navigating the Path: Explant Surgery and Implant Removal

Navigating the Path: Explant Surgery and Implant Removal

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Have you ever felt like a passenger in your body, hostage to discomfort and unease? Imagine having implants in your breast that are causing you discomfort and concerns. Explant Surgery and Implant Removal frees you from physical burdens holding you back.

Picture feeling lighter, more at ease, and free of symptoms associated with silicone material. Breast surgery to remove breast implants can be very technical and can only be designed after a comprehension evaluation. Patients must be evaluated regarding their implant size and whether they need to remove silicone from their capsule.

Removal of the capsule, in addition to the implant, will have precautions on their aesthetic goals beyond the capacity of implant removal performed. If you’ve experienced pain in your breasts, it may be related to scar tissue that has penetrated your chest muscles, which may delay your healing process and require the potential use of compression garments.

Suppose your breast tissue capsule must be removed in addition to your implants. In that case, you’ll receive pain pills from your surgeon dr to help with postoperative discomfort throughout and surrounding breast areas.

What is explant surgery?

Simply put, it means to undergo breast implant removal surgery. Women may decide to or need to have implant removal with or without removal of the scar capsule for a variety of reasons. This blog will examine the seven most common reasons women undergo breast implant removal surgery.

You’re not alone if you’ve had breast augmentation and are now considering having your implants and even your scar capsule removed. It may be for health reasons or to change your implants for new ones with a different size or shape.

The FDA has given its blessing for the use of breast implants for breast augmentation and breast reconstruction. Each year, many women successfully undergo these procedures, but as with all medical devices, breast implants come with risks that you should be aware of.

Required testing is performed on all FDA-approved breast implants to show their effectiveness and safety before implantation. The FDA continues to monitor how patients respond to breast implants, reviewing new safety information and keeping in touch with patients and doctors as risks change. Recently, the FDA outlawed the use of textured implants due to a rare but identified risk of developing lymphoma in patients.

Breast implants are largely enjoyed but can occasionally negatively affect a woman’s health for several reasons. The reasons why women choose to have their breast implants removed and replaced are multifold. Let’s look at the seven most common reasons for explant surgery.

#1 Implant Exchange Requires Explant Surgery

Women sometimes feel that their implants are too large or too small. In other cases, they believe their breast mound size has changed for many reasons, such as aging, weight gain, or loss. Ultimately, the most common reason for breast implant removal (explanation) and exchange is dissatisfaction with breast size or appearance, not necessarily a health reason.

A breast augmentation patient who undergoes explant surgery can:

  • Alter the size of their implants
  • Change the material or shape of their implants
  • Place their implants in a different location (above or below the muscle)
  • Undergo a simultaneous breast lift to address breast sagging (ptosis)

The fact that breast implants affect some women’s quality of life is a factor in their decision for implant removal. For example, if they have put on some weight, they may feel that their breasts mounds are too small. These women would likely desire a larger implant to be used. When placing a larger implant in a breast pocket, naturally, the breast capsule must be incised to create more space.

In contrast, some physically active patients participating in strenuous activities may desire to downsize their implants. This surgical technique could benefit from tightening their current breast pocket through capsulorrhaphy. It becomes apparent that explant procedures are very complex and require a strategically sound surgical plan to provide a successful breast implant surgery.

#2 Capsular Contraction

The body responds to the placement of breast implants by creating fibrous scar tissue around the implant. Typically, this protective capsule is supple. However, your surgeon may recommend releasing or removing it if it becomes moderately firm. Breast surgeons universally recommend movement exercises with all breast implants to avoid this condition.

But sometimes, the capsule tightens and hardens around one or both implants, causing pain and altering how the implant affects the breast mound.

The two techniques for treating capsular contracture are either a capsulotomy, release of the capsule, or capsulectomy, removal of the capsule. Which surgical maneuver to choose is the art of breast explant surgery and requires a detailed appreciation of the patient’s desires and physical constraints.

#3 Rotating or Shifting of Implants

Sometimes, one or both breast implants rotate or move out of position, giving the breasts an unnatural look. This change may occur for several reasons, such as:

  • Trauma. If an accident or other incident impacts you hard enough, your breasts may shift.
  • When putting in implants, movement or rotation can happen if the pocket made by the surgeon is too big or too small for the size of the implant.
  • Heavy lifting or engaging in strenuous exercise. Doing these activities too soon after breast augmentation can cause your implants to shift out of position. It’s important to allow your natural scar capsule to form around your implant before engaging in strenuous exercise, as this will push your implants upward and create an unnatural chest wall prominence.

Malpositioned implants can sometimes be moved and repositioned by your surgeon in the early period, but surgery is usually needed.

#4 Implant Removal Due To Age Of The Implants

Breast implants are frequently thought to have a shelf life of 15 to 20 years or more, though there is no guarantee. Although you may not need to remove them, as your implants age, they become more likely to have various implant-related complications, like rupture, hardening tissues, or leaking.

Some plastic surgeons encourage patients to remove their implants and replace them with more updated ones. An exchange may be the safest and healthiest option, depending on their age.

Remember, once you do explant surgery, you may need a breast lift to keep the proportions of your breasts youthful, regardless of whether you replace the implants.

#5 Infection, Breast Implant Illness (BII), and Rupture

Having your breast implants removed will be necessary if you develop health-related problems due to them. The top three of these complications are as follows:

  • Breast implant infection: Although uncommon, the infection might happen close to or around the implant. Explant surgery is typically required since antibiotic therapy is frequently ineffective.
  • Breast implant illness (BII)– Following breast augmentation, some women complain of weariness, joint discomfort, brain fog, dry eyes, and other severe symptoms. Although there is no recognized medical diagnosis, BII is established by ruling out other illnesses. Although it affects a relatively small number of women, this condition is very real to those who experience it. An important step in treating BII is explant surgery.
  • Breast implant rupture: Women who have silicone implants must undergo routine MRI scans to determine if they have a potential leak. Women with saline implants can typically detect a rupture readily because the implant deflates quickly.

Due to the difficulty in detecting silicone breast implant ruptures, imaging is required. While newer silicone implants’ cohesiveness helps prevent the contents from escaping their protective capsules, ruptures of saline implants pose less of a risk to a woman’s health.

#6 Breast Cancer

Explant surgery is required if breast cancer develops. New implants can be inserted if the remaining breast tissue is sufficient for breast reconstruction surgery. This is, of course, once all cancerous tissue has been removed, typically during a partial or full mastectomy.

It may be necessary to stretch the skin to fit the implants or reconstruct the nipple area. This requires a plastic vs. cosmetic surgeon with extensive reconstructive procedure training.

It is important to note that textured breast implants increase the incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, known as BIA-ALCL. Removing the implant and surrounding scar tissue successfully treats most instances; however, some patients require chemotherapy or radiation.

The FDA confirmed 573 cases as of July 2019, but the organization discovered 733 distinct cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) worldwide as of January 2020. This cancer is on the rise, but fortunately, it is highly treatable.

#7 Implants Are No Longer Desired

Lastly, removing breast implants may be as simple as you no longer desire them. Perhaps you would rather have a more modest or natural appearance. You may need a breast lift to restore your natural look and ensure your breasts are firm and perky.

Talk with your surgeon about fat transfer to the breast for patients considering liposuction. Fat can add a modest increase or rounding of the breasts and look natural.

Is Explant Surgery For You?

If you are considering explant surgery for health or cosmetic reasons, we would happily answer your questions and address any concerns. Please fill out the contact form on this page for an appointment, or give our appointment coordinators a call at (949) 867 3811

This post will take you on an intimate journey of understanding explant surgery and why it might be necessary for some women. You’ll learn about health concerns leading to implant removal and get insight into the procedure itself – even topics as specific as dealing with rotating or shifting implants are covered here.

I invite you along this road of discovery, where we delve deep into selecting the right plastic surgeon for such a pivotal moment in your life. Let’s set sail together on this sea of knowledge!

Table Of Contents:

Understanding Explant Surgery and Implant Removal

If you’re considering explant surgery or implant removal, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of what the procedure involves. Let me share my knowledge as a plastic surgeon who has performed countless such surgeries.

Breast implants aren’t forever; they have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, according to FDA information on breast implants. This is one reason women might opt for implant removal, also known as explant surgery. Sometimes complications arise that make this necessary.

What Is Explant Surgery?

The term ‘explant surgery’ refers specifically to removing breast implants. It’s not just about taking out an object; it often requires careful handling of surrounding tissue and sometimes includes issues like capsular contracture – where scar tissue forms around the implant, causing discomfort or distortion in shape.

Explant procedures can vary based on several factors, including your health condition type and the age of your existing implants. The complexity can range from simply removing the old ones through incisions made at original sites (in some cases), up to something more intricate like en bloc capsulectomy.

Capsular Contracture And Its Role In Explantation

You may wonder what causes an otherwise happy patient with breast augmentation to consider having their loved assets removed. Capsular contraction is one answer. When our bodies perceive foreign objects – which include silicone or saline-filled devices, we know as “breast implants” our natural defense mechanism kicks in, forming protective shells around them over time–these are called capsules.

In many patients, these capsules remain soft, but unfortunately for some, they harden and contract. This can cause pain and alteration of the breast mound, which may warrant implant removal.

En Bloc Capsulectomy Explained

Have you ever wondered about an en-bloc capsulectomy? It’s a method where we take out the implants and their capsules together. Picture it like pulling out a letter still tucked inside its envelope. The goal here is to

Key Takeaway: Explant surgery, or implant removal, is a crucial procedure often performed due to the natural lifespan of implants or complications like capsular contracture. The complexity varies based on individual health and existing implants. One common method used in this process is en bloc capsulectomy – removing both the implant and its surrounding capsule.

Why Women Choose Breast Implant Removal

It’s a surprising truth, but many women decide to have their breast implants removed. Why? The reasons are as diverse as the women themselves. But some common threads emerge when we take a closer look.

Health Concerns Leading to Implant Removal

Breast size or appearance dissatisfaction is the most commonly cited reason for explant surgery. It’s not uncommon for females to feel that the initial selection of breast size was too voluminous, scanty, or doesn’t suit their physique anymore. Aside from aesthetic considerations, medical concerns may also necessitate explant surgery.

According to the FDA, potential issues such as capsular contracture and implant leaks can cause serious discomfort and warrant the removal of silicone-filled prosthetics. Capsular contracture happens when scar tissue forms around the implant, creating pain and distortion in shape – it’s like wearing shoes two sizes too small.

Apart from physical discomfort, there has been growing concern about Breast Implant Illness (BII), which refers to various symptoms, including fatigue and joint pain, reported by patients even though these symptoms haven’t been directly linked scientifically yet with breast implants.

Capsular Contracture: A Painful Problem

Capsular contraction affects cosmetic augmentation procedures and reconstructive surgeries following mastectomy—it respects no boundaries. This condition causes hardening of the area around an implant due to excess scar tissue growth, leading to discomfort and potentially altering its position, causing visual asymmetry—think Picasso rather than Michelangelo.

Breast Implant Illness: An Emerging Concern

The subject of BII has seen increasing attention recently. Though not officially recognized as a medical condition, women with implants have reported experiencing various symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and joint pain that they attribute to their implants – think Cinderella after the ball but without the glass slipper or prince.

Another major issue leading to implant removal is implant rupture or leakage. While modern breast implants are designed robustly for longevity, they’re not lifetime devices. A bit like tires on your car—over time and mileage—they can develop wear and tear.

Key Takeaway: Women opt for breast implant removal due to diverse reasons. A common cause is dissatisfaction with size or appearance, but health issues like capsular contracture and concerns about Breast Implant Illness also weigh in. It’s crucial to remember that implants aren’t lifetime devices – they can develop wear and tear just like car tires.

The Process Involved in Explant Surgery

Explant surgery isn’t just about removing breast implants. It’s a delicate procedure involving several steps to ensure optimal patient outcomes.

Dealing with Rotating or Shifting Implants

A significant issue that can arise is the rotation or shift of implants out of their original position, which often requires surgical repositioning. This isn’t uncommon, as statistics indicate that implants may rotate or shift, necessitating this action.

The surgeon makes incision sites and gently adjusts the implant to its desired location. The approach helps rectify capsular contraction problems, which cause pain and alter the breast mound.

En Bloc Capsulectomy Explained

Breast implant removal surgery information tells us that en bloc capsulectomy is one method used during explant surgeries. In layman’s terms, it means “in the block,” pointing to how the implant and surrounding capsule are removed together as one unit from your breast tissue.

This technique ensures no part of the breast capsule remains within your body post-surgery, reducing risks associated with leftover silicone particles from ruptured implants or biofilm linked to BII (Breast Implant Illness).

Selecting the Right Plastic Surgeon for Explant Surgery

“All surgeons are not created equal.” Funny but true. Your choice matters significantly when considering explant surgery.

Why Board Certification Matters?

Credentials count. A board-certified plastic surgeon has passed rigorous exams, showing high skill and knowledge. But there’s more to it.

Board-certified surgeons are required to continue their education throughout their careers. This means they’re always up-to-date with the latest techniques and technologies in explant surgery.

A board-certified plastic surgeon is your best bet for achieving desired results while ensuring safety during implant removal.

Key Takeaway: Explant surgery is more than just removing implants. It involves dealing with shifting or rotating implants, using methods like en bloc capsulectomy to remove both the implant and capsule together, reducing post-surgery risks. Selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon ensures you’re in skilled hands for optimal results and safety.

Selecting the Right Plastic Surgeon for Explant Surgery

Regarding explant surgery, picking a plastic surgeon is no small task. Deciding on a plastic surgeon for explant surgery is about comfort, ease, safety, and well-being. You’re entrusting someone with altering your body in significant ways.

This choice requires careful consideration of several factors, including their experience, skills, qualifications, and whether they are board-certified plastic or cosmetic surgeons.

Why Board Certification Matters

The term ‘plastic surgeon’ may sound professional, but you might be taking an unnecessary risk without board certification. Board certification is like a badge of honor among surgeons—it shows they have met stringent standards set by their peers in medical education, training, and ethics.

A board-certified plastic surgeon has undergone rigorous exams administered by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). The ABPS only certifies doctors who’ve completed specific training and continue to adhere to strict ethical standards. A board-certified cosmetic surgeon has similarly completed rigorous objectives set by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.

You wouldn’t let anyone remodel your house, so why would you let any doctor perform surgery on something as precious as your body? Just think about it this way: Would you hire an uncertified electrician to fix wiring issues at home?

Experience & Expertise Matter Too

In addition to being board certified, consider how much experience potential surgeons have, specifically with implant removals or ‘explant surgeries.’ The more often they do these procedures, the better equipped they’ll likely be when faced with unique challenges during surgery.

  • Credentials: Check out where they went to school, what kind of training they received, and if they are a part of any professional associations.
  • Experience: How many explant surgeries have they performed? More experience often means better results.
  • Patient Reviews: What do other patients say about their experiences with the surgeon?

It might feel overwhelming, but remember, we’re discussing your body here.

FAQs about Explant Surgery Implants Removal

What happens to breast tissue when implants are removed?

The surgeon usually reshapes the remaining natural breast tissue. It might initially seem deflated, but it often fills out over time.

What happens when breast implants are removed and not replaced?

If you remove implants without replacement, breasts will likely look smaller and may sag or have excess skin due to stretching from the implant.

How painful is breast implant removal?

Pain varies for each person. Generally, discomfort post-surgery is manageable with medication and subsides after a few days.

What do breasts look like after implants are removed?

Breasts can appear flat or saggy right after explant surgery. But in time, they’ll regain more natural contours as tissues heal and adjust.


Explant surgery implant removal is more than just a procedure. It’s liberation from physical discomfort, the start of feeling lighter and more at ease.

You’ve learned that health concerns like capsular contraction or dissatisfaction with breast size are common reasons for implant removal. Remember, it’s your body, and you have every right to decide.

The process involved in explant surgery isn’t a mystery – from dealing with rotating or shifting implants to understanding en bloc capsulectomy. You’re now equipped with knowledge, empowering you on this journey.

Lastly, never underestimate the importance of choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon for such pivotal moments. They are your allies in achieving comfort and confidence again!

So here’s to freedom: Freedom from unease, freedom to live comfortably, freedom that comes through Explant Surgery Implants Removal!

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