There are many reasons for women to remove or replace their implants from their initial augmentation surgery, on both the aesthetic and medical ends of the spectrum. If you are interested in this procedure, schedule a consultation with Dr. Joubin Gabbay, an expert in the cosmetic surgery field.
Reasons to Remove Breast Implants
There are a variety of reasons that drive women to get breast implant removal surgery. A majority of these procedures occur for one of two main motives: the patient wishes to alter the size or shape of her breasts for aesthetic reasons, or she is experiencing an unforeseen issue with the implants such as rupture or capsular contracture.
Breast implants are not meant to be left in the body permanently. They may need to be changed after many years (often ten years or greater) if there are changes than require their removal or replacement. These situations include implant rupture, capsular contracture, personal decisions to remove implants or other reasons. Fortunately, surgeons like Dr. Joubin Gabbay are here to help women who wish to remove or replace their implants.
Although not a common occurrence, capsular contracture accounts for majority of explantation procedures. This condition happens when the body forms a lining, or “capsule”, around the implant made from layers of tissue and collagen fibers. As time goes on and the condition’s severity increases, this capsule continues to contract and tighten, causing deformity, discomfort, and potential pain. There are four levels of severity when it comes to capsular contracture, according to the Baker scale.
- Grade I: The breast still looks and feels natural, remaining shapely in appearance and soft in texture.
- Grade II: The breast still appears normal, but has begun to feel slightly firmer.
- Grade III: The firmness quotient is noticeably higher, and the shape of the breast looks somewhat misshapen.
- Grade IV: The breast has hardened substantially and appears deformed to a more extreme degree. It may also feel sore, painful, or tender at this level of contracture.
This condition can occur at any time during the implant’s presence in the body. This can happen for both silicone or saline implants.
Implant rupture is also a possibility with either silicone or saline implants, although the symptoms can differ. In the case of silicone implants, which have a thick, cohesive gel, if a leak happens the gel can remain contained inside the casing or inside the scar tissue that surrounds the implant (known as an intracapsular rupture.) In very rare cases, if the gel extends outside of the implant capsule, it can move into other surrounding areas of the breast and create inflammation and lumpiness. Women whose silicone implants have ruptured may notice distortion, shrinking, and discomfort in the breast. If no symptoms are present the event is known as a “silent rupture”.
When it comes to saline implants, the fluid inside is salt water that is absorbed by the body when it leaks out of the implant. For this reason the breast will actually begin to deflate, making the condition noticeable almost immediately.
Additional and less common complications that can happen as a result of breast augmentation include:
- Ptosis (sagging)
- Implant position changes
- Calcification (calcium buildup)
- Extrusion (implant becoming visible through the skin of the breast)
- Necrosis (presence of dead tissue in the breast)
- Seroma (fluid pooling)
Many women also decide to remove their breast implants due to purely cosmetic reasons, without the presence of any medical problem. If the patient feels the augmented breasts are too large or too small, if they are asymmetrical, if the results are simply not what they had hoped, or if they are simply ready for a change, Dr. Gabbay can help decide on the right move to address and fulfill these aesthetic preferences. Some patients also opt for a more natural approach to keeping their breasts looking young and perky, and may decide on a breast lift or fat transfer instead of a silicone or saline implant.
Options After Implant Removal
A fat transfer can be a wonderful alternative to silicone or saline implants. This process does not entail any external materials being placed inside the body; instead Dr. Gabbay will take fat from other areas of the body using liposuction (the thighs, waist and abdominal areas are all popular regions for this step). The fat is then purified and injected into the breasts, creating the beautiful fullness of implants without any foreign materials. Fat transfer to the breasts usually cannot accomplish the same amount of volume increase as implants can, but can often come close. Fat transfer can be performed in conjunction with a breast lift to further sculpt and lift the breasts.
If you don’t want to augment your breasts, a simple breast lift procedure can be done on its own. This has the benefits of keeping your body natural and providing a sexy new contour without the size increase, so patients can enjoy a proportional body. Some women love the look of larger breasts and can have the lifting and shaping effects of a breast lift along with a fat transfer procedure for a complete and optimal enhancement.
For patients who are happy with implants but want an aesthetic change, an implant replacement of either a larger or smaller size may be a good choice. Dr. Gabbay can remove the pre existing implants and insert new ones so you can return home with just the body you want.
Before deciding which implant removal procedure is the best for your situation, set up a consultation with Dr. Joubin Gabbay to explore your options. You will get answers to all of your questions and concerns, as well as an assessment of your physical circumstances and a projection of the expected results. Dr. Gabbay will also evaluate your medical history and current medications to make sure that any procedure is undertaken with utmost safety, and discuss the estimated cost of surgical options.
Dr. Gabbay of Beverly Hills is skilled at resolving all issues pertaining to breast implants.
Preparing properly for an operation is key for optimal results.
Patients are advised to stop smoking and taking aspirin, ibuprofen, and any other blood-thinning substances well before the appointed day. Dr. Gabbay may also ask you to adjust or stop taking certain prescription drugs to avoid complications during the procedure and recovery process. Patients are asked to arrange for a family member or friend to pick them up from surgery, postoperative breast surgery patients cannot drive on their own. Dr. Gabbay will provide you with more detailed instructions specific to your circumstances during your initial consultation.
The removal procedure is performed in most cases on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. After creating the incision appropriate to your situation, Dr. Gabbay will remove the old implant and capsule and revise the surrounding tissue as needed. The incision typically traces the old incision location from your previous breast augmentation surgery to keep scarring to a minimum. He will then either proceed to replace the explanted one with a new silicone or saline implant, inject the purified fat graft from elsewhere in the body to augment the breast without an implant, or perform a breast lift to boost and tighten the skin and reshape the breast. Patients with naturally smaller breasts may not require a breast lift after removal.
Recovering from breast implant removal surgery is similar to recovering from your original augmentation surgery. Plan to have a friend or family member take you home after the outpatient procedure and spend two to three days getting plenty of rest. Physical activity should be avoided for at least four weeks. Alcohol and smoking should be avoided during the entire healing period.
As with the initial implantation surgery, results should be visible immediately following the procedure. However, as swelling and bruising starts to disappear over the ensuing days, your final results will become apparent. You may take pain medication prescribed by Dr. Gabbay to control any discomfort.
Women who receive an implant replacement can expect the same longevity as the original – an average of ten years, barring any further complications. In the case of fat transfer, results will shift somewhat over the following weeks as the fat cells adapt to their new environment. For breast lift patients, the results are likewise permanent but are subject to the natural effects of the aging process.
The cost of breast implant removal varies based on of all the different surgical options involved. Depending on whether you get a straightforward removal, an implant replacement, a fat transfer, or a breast lift, the pricing will fluctuate. Inquire about cost during your consultation to get some estimates of what any of these procedures involves in financial terms.