An increasing number of women are opting to have their breast implants removed. The numbers are still dwarfed by those wishing to augment their breasts with implants, but there is some growth in implant removal. This could be due in part to the recent FDA recall and ban on Allergan Biocell textured implants due to their risk of the possible development of a type of lymphoma known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Regardless of the reasons, Dr. Rhee helps patients who want to remove their breast implants. She often combines removal with a breast lift for the best aesthetic results.
What Is The Breast Implant Removal Process?
These are not difficult surgeries. Dr. Rhee enters through the original incisions used to place the implants. She then removes the implants. If you have any signs of capsular contracture, where scar tissue continues to build around the implant, the hardened capsule of scar tissue will also be removed. If the scar tissue is still soft, it will likely be left in place.
Is A Breast Lift Necessary After Implant Removal?
It’s likely that once your implants are removed, your breasts will have many of the characteristics that women seek to correct with a breast lift. That’s why in the majority of cases Dr. Rhee recommends a breast lift as a part of the implant removal process. This is because, with a breast lift, she is able to remove the loose hanging skin, reposition the remaining breast tissue, and likely relocate the nipple/areola complex.
The goal with a breast lift is to return the breasts to a higher position on the chest, which will be important for you to be satisfied with the appearance of your breasts after removing your implants. As mentioned, without a lift, it’s likely your breasts will be quite flat and saggy without the implants. This is especially true the longer you have had implants, and with larger implant sizes.
How Do I Know When Breast Implants Need Replacing?
If you have saline implants, a rupture will be obvious, as your implant will deflate as the saline solution leaks out and the body absorbs the salt water.
Things are not as simple with silicone gel implants. This is especially true if you have newer highly cohesive gel implants or gummy bear implants. In these implants, the silicone gel adheres mostly to itself, meaning that it won’t exit the ruptured implant but will stay in place. Because of that, you will not have any visual changes in your breast.
This is why the FDA recommends women with silicone breast implants have an MRI three years after their initial surgery and then every other year after that. This is typically when a rupture can be detected.
You would also need to remove and replace your implants if you have signs of capsular contracture, where scar tissue continues to build around the implant. This can cause pain, firmness, and distortion of the implant and the breast.
How Often Do You Need To Replace Breast Implants?
Like any manufactured item, breast implants have a lifespan. Manufacturers generally warranty their implants for 10 years, and if they rupture within that timeframe they pay for removal and replacement. The duration of a person’s implants can last anywhere from 10-20 years, but anything longer than that would be quite rare without a rupture.
If you’re in your 30s, you should expect to have to replace your implants at least two or three times. Replacement surgery is easier, as the surgeon can enter through the same incisions used for the original augmentation.
What Happens To The Capsule After Implant Removal?
When Dr. Rhee is removing the implants, she checks the capsule. This is scar tissue that has formed around the implants. This is the body’s natural response to a foreign body (the implant) placed inside it — to build scar tissue around it. When excessive scar tissue continues to build around an implant, this is capsular contracture, and the scar tissue will begin to constrict and deform the implant. If the reason you are needing to remove and replace your implants is capsular contracture, Dr. Rhee will remove the capsule.
However, is the scar tissue is still soft and not rigid, it is often left in place.
What Is A Capsulectomy? When Is This Necessary?
Capsulectomy is the surgical removal of scar tissue (the capsule) that has become thickened and hardened around a breast implant.
As mentioned above, the formation of a capsule around your implants is normal. The capsule is composed of fibroblasts, collagen, and blood vessels. Its formation is your body’s immune system’s protective response to the presence of a foreign object (your implants).
When having implants removed or replaced, a capsulectomy is necessary if the scar tissue (the capsule) has become overly thick and hardened. This is the case when capsular contracture has occurred, but it is not the norm. If the scar tissue doesn’t have those characteristics, it is left in place.
What Is Recovery Like After A Capsulectomy?
Since a capsulectomy is a part of surgery to either replace or remove a patient’s implants, the recovery is basically the same as with any augmentation procedure. These are not difficult recoveries. If the patient has had capsular contracture, removing the hardened capsule will provide immediate relief of the discomfort caused by the constricting scar tissue.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you’re interested in learning more about breast implant removal please contact us for a consultation at (631) 424-6707 or fill out our contact us form below. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.