Breast Implant Removal
Breast implant removal or revision is a surgical procedure that removes or replaces breast implants placed during breast augmentation. The procedure may be indicated for medical reasons or it may be the patient’s personal choice. Removal of breast implants is frequently followed by replacement with a different implant type, such as silicone gel, or a breast lift (mastopexy) procedure.
First, Dr. Colgrove will work with you to decide on the right surgical procedure. If your implants are ruptured, or if you have capsular contracture or capsular calcifications, you may also need your implant capsule removed through a surgery called capsulectomy.
Most surgeries take 1 to 2 hours under general anesthesia. However, most patients also need internal breastwork done. Dr. Colgrove uses an innovative technique to put the breast tissue back where it belongs. This is critical to having a full, high breast after implant removal.
Finally, depending on the amount of loose skin you have, you may also need a breast lift. The scar from mastopexy varies from patient to patient, depending on the degree of excess skin. Scarring will be kept to a minimum.
Risks and Recovery
Even if every effort is made to place incisions in inconspicuous areas, the implant-removal procedure may leave a longer scar than that which resulted from in the original implant-placement procedure. Breast sensation may be diminished or altered.
Capsulectomy, in which the scar capsule is removed along with the implant, is generally a more involved operation than a simple implant removal. This surgery usually takes longer and more often requires general anesthesia. On the other hand, simple implant removal without capsulectomy may leave scar tissue behind which may be detectable by touch, mammography or other imaging studies.
Plan on relaxing at home the first two days after your surgery. You will be in a comfortable surgery bra that has adjustable straps. After the first few days, most people are up and around, feel no pain, and usually have resumed basic activities. However, it is important to avoid all exercise, heavy lifting, and other more strenuous activities for the first three weeks.
If you go to work, expect to be more tired than usual during the first week and sore by the end of the day. If your work involves a lot of moving of your upper body, take the entire first week off. Gauze dressings that may have been applied will be removed at the surgeon’s discretion. Likewise, stitches will be removed when the physician deems it appropriate. Patients who had replacement implants may be required to wear a surgical bra while the stitches heal. Some bruising and swelling may be present for as long as 4 weeks.