What is Breast Implant Removal?
Breast implants are not considered lifetime devices, so that they might require replacement or removal at some point. Breast implant removal surgery, also known as explantation or breast explant surgery, is a procedure that involves the removal of breast implants.
The lifespan of breast implants can vary depending on several factors, including the type of implant, the patient’s age, and lifestyle factors. That being said, the average “life” of implants is about ten years.
This procedure may be performed for various reasons, such as old implants, implant malfunction, capsular contracture (scar tissue formation around the implant), implant rupture or leakage, or personal preference.
Dr. Patrick Briggs is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with substantial knowledge of removing implants, partial and total capsulectomy and en-bloc implant removal.
What are the main reasons for Breast Implant Removal?
There are several reasons why someone may choose to have breast implant removal surgery, including:
- Implant complications
- Breast implants can develop complications such as rupture, leakage, and capsular contracture, which can cause pain, discomfort, and changes in breast shape and size.
- Personal preferences
- Some women may decide to remove their implants because:
- Having implants no longer fits into their life.
- They no longer like the idea of having to undergo surgery to have the implants replaced throughout their life.
- Health concerns
- In some cases, breast implants can interfere with breast cancer screening and diagnosis or cause autoimmune symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, and swelling.
- Lifestyle changes
- Pregnancy, weight loss, and ageing can affect breast size and shape.
- Some women may choose to remove their implants to return to a more previous appearance.
- Upgrading or downsizing
- Some women may opt for implant removal surgery to switch to a different implant size or type or to remove their implants altogether.
It is important to note that breast implant removal surgery is a personal decision and should be carefully considered with the guidance of a qualified plastic surgeon.
What are the Benefits of Removing Breast Implants?
There are several potential outcomes after removing breast implants, which can include the following:
Women who experience discomfort, pain, or heaviness due to their implants may benefit from their removal, possibly contributing to potentially improving comfort.
Some women may choose to remove their implants due to cosmetic reasons, such as changing preferences or dissatisfaction with the appearance of their breasts.
Address Concerns About Health
In some cases, breast implants may cause medical concerns such as breast implant illness, development of scar tissue around the implant, implant malposition, bubbling, rupture and capsular contracture.
Removal of the implants may address these concerns and help alleviate these issues.
Reduced risk of complications
Over time, breast implants may rupture, leak, or cause other complications, and removal of the implants may eliminate the risk of these complications.
Am I A Suitable Candidate for Breast Implant Removal?
During a consultation, Dr. Briggs will assess your current health condition and aesthetic goals to determine the need for the surgery.
In general, you may be a suitable candidate for breast implant removal if you;
- Experience pain or discomfort due to damaged breast implants.
- Are mentally prepared both for the procedure and the outcome
- You will adhere to your surgeon’s instructions after the procedure.
- Do not have a history of clotting or bleeding disorders.
- Do not smoke.
- Have realistic expectations regarding the procedure.
- Want to change your breast size or the type of your implant?
- Discover your breasts feel harder or tighter due to scar tissue formation.
- And finally, if your magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detects the presence of ruptured or leaking breast implants.
Breast Augmentation Before and After Photos
Looking at the results of previous breast implant removal procedures can help see what surgery and a specific surgeon can achieve. If you want to see more Breast Implant Removal before and after surgery photographs performed in Accredited Melbourne Hospitals by Dr. Briggs, you can click here.
All before and after photos shown on our website/s or in our office are for informational purposes only. They are meant to provide you with an idea of the types of results that can be achieved through plastic and cosmetic surgery. However, individual results may vary and the outcomes of any surgical procedure cannot be guaranteed. Photos are not intended as promises or a guarantee of specific results. Rather, as a tool to help visualize what is possible.
Remember each person is unique, and the results of surgery will depend on a variety of factors including overall health, body type, and healing ability.
During your consultation, Dr Briggs will assess each person and provide every individual with an honest and realistic evaluation of what to expect from the procedure.
What happens during a Breast Implant Removal?
If you have breast implants, you will most likely need to undergo a procedure called breast implant removal (explant) at some point in your life. Your surgeon will usually recommend you have the system or start considering implant removal around ten years after your primary breast augmentation mammoplasty.
You will be placed under General anaesthesia for the duration of the procedure (you will not be awake). Depending on your reason for the design and cosmetic goals, Dr. Briggs will perform different implant removal surgery techniques. He will discuss these with you before surgery.
The procedure involves an incision to remove the implant(s) and any scar tissue that may have formed around it. Depending on the patient’s circumstances, a breast lift mastopexy may be performed simultaneously to remove any excess skin or reshape the breast tissue.
After the procedure, it is normal for patients to experience some discomfort and swelling, which can be managed with pain medication and compression garments.
Recovery time can vary depending on the extent of the surgery and whether a breast lift mastopexy was performed.
Patients should carefully follow their surgeon’s post-operative instructions to encourage recovery.
Dr. Patrick Briggs will advise a surgical approach during your consultation to help with your situation. It’s important to remember that there is variability in surgical procedures, and outcomes may differ.
Breast Implant Removal – Surgery Options
Your surgeon will discuss the following implant removal options during your consultation with you. You will examine the suitable surgery options and give details regarding the process.
Breast Implant Removal only
- An incision is created in the same place where your breast implant was inserted.
- If you have capsular contracture, the hardened capsules or scar tissue inside your breasts will be removed to prevent complications.
- The breast implants are then removed, and the incisions are closed with sutures.
Combination of Breast Implant Removal and Breast Lift Mastopexy
- During the procedure, once implants are removed, the surgeon will also remove excess skin and fat from your breast.
- They will also alter the position of your areola (if necessary) and the surrounding breast area.
This is surgery to remove existing implants, not to replace them with new ones. The process of your surgery and the types of incisions will depend on the kind of issue you are addressing.
Download a free guide
The procedure guide helps navigate your patient journey, explains what to expect, and offers supportive guidance you need. Click here for a FREE breast procedure guide download.
Take advantage of our free eBook guides that include resources for plastic surgery patients. They’ll assist with your journey from thinking about having plastic surgery to aftercare and recovery.
If you’d like more information about a particular surgery, please call our surgical support team on (03) 8849 1444 between 9am – 5am weekdays.
Recovery from Breast Implant Removal
The length of your recovery following Breast Implant Removal will be dependent on your procedure and other health & lifestyle factors.
Immediately after your surgery, patients will feel discomfort and soreness at and around the surgical site. You will have a prescription for pain medications and anti-inflammatories to help manage the discomfort. You must also wear a support bra or surgical garment to reduce swelling. A surgical drain may be present in your breast area to prevent the build-up of blood and fluids in your incision site.
Before discharge, you will be given detailed instructions regarding how to care for your surgical wound, medications and when to take them, signs and symptoms to watch out for, and when to return for follow-up. Typically, the general rule is that you should allow 4-6 weeks for initial recovery following your Breast Implant Removal surgery. However, scar maturation often takes longer (up to a year or more).
Wear your garment as instructed and take advantage of our aftercare to assist you during your healing and recovery. Ensure you consult Dr. Briggs before returning to daily activities such as driving, lifting, and exercising.
Optimum results depend on a collaborative approach and a healthy lifestyle. Follow the instructions given to you by Dr. Briggs and attend all post-operative appointments as instructed.
How much is a Breast Implant Removal (Explant Surgery)?
All breast surgery is customised, and Dr. Briggs will provide a written estimate for surgery depending on the type of procedure you are having, the hospital you attend and the length of your stay.
At your initial consultation, you will receive a quote with the breakdown of costs. This will include a Surgeon, Anaesthetist, Surgical Assistant, and hospital fees. We will also provide information on Private Health Insurance and different payment methods.
Risks and Complications
Breast Implant Removal surgery, like any other invasive surgery, has risks and complications. Dr. Patrick Briggs will inform you of the potential risks and complications during your consultation. Possible risks and complications include;
- Reaction to General Anesthesia
- Bleeding (Haematoma)
- Wound healing
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Poor scarring
- Numbness or tingling
- Breast Tissue Loss
- Implant Rupture
- And, more.
Always stay informed and healthy; do not smoke before or after your procedure. Dr. Briggs will provide you with literature to read and help you understand your risks.
Does Breast Implant Removal Correct Complications Associated with Previous Breast Surgery?
Evidence suggests that breast implant removal is often helpful in correcting complications associated with breast augmentation mammoplasty.
In a 2017 study assessing the effects of breast implant removal in patients who had breast augmentation, researchers found a decrease in silicone-related complaints in 75 % of the subjects. 
Further Reading – Medical References
Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon.
Both he and his team are dedicated to patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.
Want more information about your Procedure?
What to Bring to Your Consultation
- If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
- Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
- You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.
The information provided in this article is for educational and informational proposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The author and publisher of this article make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the content of this article. The information contained in this article is strictly at your own risk.