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BREAST IMPLANT REMOVAL

What is breast implant removal surgery?

The goal of breast implant removal surgery is to remove breast implants from breast augmentation or breast reconstruction patients. During these procedures, the surgeon may also remove silicone material from implant leaks and the breast capsule, which is the scar tissue that forms after the placement of a breast implant. Often, this scar is soft and does not need to be removed, but it may harden, causing pain and discomfort. This is often a reason to have the implants and scar tissue removed.


Breast implants are not lifelong devices and it is important to have them exchanged or removed approximately every 10-15 years. This decision is typically based on the individual and the patient's needs and desires. In some cases, the outside shell of the implant breaks down causing silicone to leak and the scar tissue around the implant to harden. It is important to understand that your implants should be removed for this reason.

“Breast implant removal surgery is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfil someone else's desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image, especially those coming from social media. Choosing a procedure based on “what’s new” is never a medically sound decision. Hearing about a procedure on television, through an advertisement or online does not necessarily mean it is the best procedure for you”.

Who is a good candidate for breast implant removal surgery?

In general, you may be a good candidate for breast implant removal surgery if you are physically healthy and at a stable weight, have realistic expectations, are a nonsmoker or have stopped smoking recently, are bothered by the appearance of your implants, have experienced discomfort or pain, feel your breasts are too heavy, are starting to feel your breast scar tissue is getting harder or tighter, have a breast or implant imaging exam suggesting a leak or rupture of implants or have experienced a rupture or leak of implants.

What should I expect during a consultation for breast implant removal surgery?

During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Dr Ricardo will evaluate you as a candidate for breast implant removal surgery and clarify what approach is best for you. Alternative and additional treatments may be considered, once he understands your goals and medical condition. It is important to be completely honest during the consultation and be prepared to discuss your surgical goals, medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments, current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use, and previous surgeries.

Dr Ricardo will also evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors, examine your existing breast implants, take photographs, discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment, discuss any risks or potential complications and share before-and-after photos of cases similar to yours.

The success and safety of your breast implant revision surgery depend very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. It's very important to understand all aspects of your procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement about your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr Ricardo.

How should I prepare for breast implant removal surgery?

In preparing for breast implant removal surgery, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, get breast or implant imaging, such as a mammogram, ultrasound or MRI, take certain medications or adjust your current medications, stop smoking in advance of surgery and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding.

Your surgery will be performed in an accredited hospital and is usually performed on an outpatient basis unless you and Dr Ricardo have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery. You must arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you the first night following surgery.

Dr Ricardo and the entire staff will provide thorough preoperative instructions and answer any questions you may have. The goal is to help you achieve the most beautiful and natural-looking results, as well as to make your surgical experience as easy, comfortable and safe as possible.

What are the steps of a breast implant removal procedure?

Step 1 – Anaesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anaesthesia. Dr Ricardo will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – Surgical procedure

The type of incision used in breast implant removal surgery will vary depending upon the type of procedures that will be performed. The incision can include but is not limited to, the crease under the breast (Inframammary incision), either vertical incision or wise pattern incision (breast lift incision), or incision partway or around the areola (Peri-areolar incision).

The procedure will depend on your particular indication and Dr Ricardo's recommendations. Often, the breast capsules and implants are removed using a combination of techniques.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

Sutures, skin adhesives (glues), or tapes close the skin incisions.

Step 4 – See the results

Your breast implant removal will result in a different shape of the breast profile, which may be flatter or droopier than before surgery and have irregularities and/or indentations. You may also notice that the breast can take on a different shape with indentations depending on how much scar tissue was produced around your implants.

What should I expect during my breast implant removal recovery?

Following your breast implant removal surgery, gauze dressings or bandages and you may have drains. You may be placed in a support bra or surgical garment, and there are times that a compression garment may be used to minimize swelling following surgery.

You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with Dr Ricardo. Remember to always follow his instructions to ensure the success of your surgery.

Because it is possible to bleed into the pockets around the breast implants for the first days, take it easy until you have permission to increase your activity level. Acute pain typically subsides after one to five days, but you may experience soreness and swelling for two weeks. The surgical incisions mustn't be subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Sutures will be removed when it is appropriate. You should be ready to return to work and normal activity after 5-7 days. However, you must realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies based on what your surgery entails.

What results should I expect after my breast implant removal surgery?

The final results of your breast implant removal surgery will depend largely on the size of the implants being removed and the quantity and quality of your breast tissue that is left. The scar tissue that was surrounding your implants also will play a large role in your overall outcome. Swelling and postoperative changes will also need time before the final results. Healing can take up to one year before the final results are visible.

The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. With this particular surgery, the results are not always cosmetic because the breast tissue is thin as a result of having implants for an extended period. The results can also be affected if the implants have been leaking. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary. It may also be necessary to have a mastectomy if silicone has gone throughout the breast and the free-floating silicone is no longer within the scar tissue.

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