Breast Implant Removal

A very small percentage of breast augmentation patients ultimately choose to have their implants removed. When this happens, it's a decision best made with the support of an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. At CaloAesthetics® Plastic Surgery Center, our doctors have specialized training and years of experience performing explant surgery, often called breast implant removal, in Louisville and Lexington, KY. If you're experiencing a complication, concerns, have questions or a change of heart, our team is ready to help.

Why do women have their breast implants removed?

While breast implants are not meant to last a lifetime, they do not need to be removed or replaced if you are happy with how you look and feel. Here are some of the most common reasons women choose breast implant removal:

  • Personal preference: Some women no longer wish to have larger breasts for aesthetic or lifestyle reasons; others have never felt quite right with implants because of self-consciousness or body image issues.
  • Complications: While rare—especially when the original surgery is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon—complications do occur after breast augmentation. Capsular contracture, a tightening of the natural scar tissue that forms around the implant, is the most common complication.
  • BIA-ALCL: A form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma called breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) has been linked to some brands of textured breast implants. This rare form of cancer usually affects the capsule around the breast; it is not breast cancer. Early diagnosis is key to treatment and recovery.
  • Breast implant illness (BII): Some women feel that their breast implants (silicone as well as saline) may be related to a range of symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, chronic pain, brain fog, and hair loss. While there is no medical diagnosis for BII, women can opt to have their implants removed if they believe it will improve their health.

If you are considering implant removal, our plastic surgeons are happy to meet with you to review your concerns and options (learn more in this blog post). You may choose to have revision surgery to correct a complication, have your implants exchanged or have them removed and not replaced.

What happens when breast implants are removed?

Our plastic surgeons perform implant removal as an outpatient procedure using general anesthetic. In most cases, the incision is placed in the same location as the original procedure. Whenever indicated, the en bloc resection technique is used, which involves removing the capsule of scar tissue around the implant along with the implant itself. The empty space, called the pocket, is irrigated with antibiotic solution and temporary drains are placed to prevent the build up of fluid.

Because the breasts probably will not return to their original shape, our surgeons can perform a variety of procedures to improve the aesthetics of the breast. A breast lift can be performed after removing the implants to lift and reshape the remaining skin and breast tissue. You can undergo liposuction and then have your own fat injected into the breast to take the place of the implant.

What can I expect during breast implant removal recovery?

Recovery after explant surgery varies between patients and with the specifics of the surgery. In most cases, patients experience minor swelling and need a few days of downtime. If a capsulectomy is performed, you will have a drain for a few days. It is important to follow your post-op instructions carefully to avoid complications and optimize the healing process.

How much does it cost to have breast implants removed?

Because each case is unique, breast implant removal costs vary widely. A consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons will allow you to see which procedure is best suited for you.

To learn more about your options, request a consultation with a Louisville breast implant removal specialist at CaloAesthetics Plastic Surgery Center or call (502) 899-9979 to schedule your visit.

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