Many women choose to have their breast implants later in life.

Recent times have seen an increase in the number of women undergoing breast implant removal surgery for a number of reasons ranging through lifestyle to illness and even emotional change. Dr John Flynn is finding an increasing number of Australian women simply change their minds about wanting implants and opt to have them removed, which is why this option is available at Cosmedic and Skin Clinic on the Gold Coast.

Why would I have my breast implants removed?

There are a myriad of reasons why a woman might opt to remove her breast implants. Some of these include:

  • A breast cancer diagnosis
  • Complications such as capsular contraction
  • Calcium build-up
  • Infection and/or bleeding
  • Necrosis (dead tissue) around the implant

Many women who’ve had implants are surprised to discover that they require regular maintenance and are tired of the resulting health issues, inconvenience and cost. With a greater focus on health and a shift in body ideals, women are shying away from the more prominent, round, fake breast look to something that is closer to their natural shape.

Between 2000 – 2006 there was a massive increase in the number of women opting to get implants. Celebs such as Pamela Anderson and Carmen Elektra encouraged the desire for augmented breasts. Ten years on, as implants began to degenerate, women have found themselves weary of the upkeep. Contrary to popular belief, implants are not a lifetime device and the longer they are in, the more likely you will become to need additional surgeries such as replacement or even removal. Overly large fake breasts can result in neck, shoulder and back problems. Ruptures or deflation occurs in about 10 – 25% of silicone gel and saline implants over 10 years. Capsular contraction or the stiffening of scar tissue that results in pain and hard, misshapen breasts happens in 18 – 19% of both implants over 10 years. While more modern implants placed on top of the chest muscle decreases the risk of contracture, many women who had theirs done years ago are now suffering the consequences.

What does breast implant removal entail?

Breast implant surgery aims to remove implants from breast augmentation or reconstruction patients. During this procedure, the surgeon may also need to remove silicone material that has leaked into the breast capsule, which is the scar tissue that forms after an implant has been placed. Most commonly this scar tissue or breast capsule remains soft and does not need to be removed but there is a chance that it may harden which is why it is often removed with the implant itself.

The procedure begins with general anaesthesia or intravenous sedation. Once you are under, the surgeon will make an incision on the lower fold of your breast or around or below the areola. The implant and usually the capsule will then be removed using a number of techniques. Once complete, sutures, skin adhesive, tapes or clips will be used to close up the incisions.

What is recovery like after breast implant removal?

Recovery from breast implant removal surgery is different for each patient through most surgeons agree that recovery is much smoother than that of the initial implant surgery. Most of Dr Flynn’s patients are able to return back to work after five days and report minimal discomfort after the surgery. Once implants are removed, it will take time for them to heal and adjust. Breasts can appear deflated and wrinkled even after a breast lift which many women may require.

It is important to avoid all physical exercise, heavy lifting and strenuous activities for the first three weeks. During the healing process, it is not uncommon to experience tightness and irregular areas which are caused by internal suturing. They will resolve over time though because the sutures are absorbable. Patience is key as they may take several months to fully heal and take on their final shape.

The best results of this procedure will come from the complete removal of the implants, as your breast tissue may be able to reform and tighten as it was before. This procedure is not recommended if you wish to retain the size and appearance of your breasts and the only post-operative options for regaining size are fat injections to fill the breast or to lift to tighten the breast skin and lift the breast tissue.

If you are concerned about your implants and your health or are considering a breast explant, book a consultation to chat to Dr Flynn today.