Breast Implant Removal / Breast Explantation - Orange County, CA
What is Breast Explant Surgery?
Breast Explant Surgery (as known as Explantation Surgery or Breast Implant Removal Surgery) is a procedure used to remove breast implants that were previously placed via a Breast Augmentation or a Mastopexy-Augmentation. Implants can be replaced, in which case the procedure would be named an Implant Exchange (learn more here).
In rare cases, patient may need their implants explanted due to infection. In this case, implants may be replaced again at a later date once the infection has been treated completely. However, most patients looking for a Breast Explant Surgery wish to have their breast implants removed permanently.
It should be noted that removal of breast implants will usually cause the breasts to lose volume and sag, especially in older patients. Patients may be unhappy with the cosmetic result and request that a Breast Lift be done at the same time to create a more pleasing breast shape. Whether a breast lift is required or not depends on the breast size before breast augmentation, the size of the breast implants, and the patient's cosmetic goals.
Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Explant Surgery?
Patients may have a variety of reasons for considering removal of their breast implants. These may include one of more of the following:
- Rupture of implants
- Capsular Contracture
- Poor cosmetic result
- Not wanting to undergo future surgeries to care for their implants
- BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma)
- BII (Breast Implant Illness)
Patients should not smoke in order to minimize the risk of wound healing problems after surgery, especially if they will need a Breast Lift at the same time.
Severely ruptured breast implant (after playing around with it a bit)
How Do I Prepare for an Explantation Surgery?
Breast Implant Removal can be done under local anesthesia, so labs and medical clearance are generally not needed unless further workup is warranted due to medical history. Removal under local anesthesia is more typical of saline implants, but it can also be done for smaller silicone implants.
If larger silicone implants are being removed or if you will need a breast lift at the same time, explantation will be done under general anesthesia. Labs and medical clearance may be needed depending on your health.
Any jewelry or metal in the lower body region should be removed for the actual procedure. You should also quit smoking 6 weeks prior to surgery until 6 weeks after surgery to minimize complications. (Better yet, quit for good!)
What is Involved in Breast Implant Removal?
Numbing medication is injected into the incision to reduce pain during and after the surgery. An incision is made and dissection goes all the way through the implant capsule. If the implant is saline, it is poked with a needle and drained prior to removal. If the implant is silicone, the incision may need to be slightly widened before removing it. The capsule is checked for abnormalities and then closed with absorbable suture. The incision is also closed with absorbable sutures so that none need to be removed at your follow-up appointment.
If you have capsular contracture or BII (Breast Implant Illness), you may need to have the whole capsule removed as well. A total capsulectomy (total breast implant capsule removal) is typically required of capsular contracture.
A total capsulectomy or "en bloc capsulectomy" may or may not be indicated if your concerns are related to BII. Oftentimes, the capsule may look normal in surgery (aka it will look thin and wispy and not have much strength to it). If the capsule appears normal, your plastic surgeon may discourage you from removing the capsule because the increased risk of bleeding and puncturing through the chest wall may outweigh any benefits of removing the entire normal capsule. As of now, there is no definitive evidence that the breast implant capsule contains any elements that directly contribute to breast implant illness. However, each case should be discussed thoroughly with your plastic surgeon to ensure that you are informed and your goals are met.
Ruptured right breast implant with removed breast tissue for a lift
What is the Recovery from a Breast Explant Surgery?
Patients usually go home the same day after removal of their breast implants. They may complain of mild soreness for 1-2 weeks. Swelling and bruising may be present for 2-3 weeks, especially if a Breast Lift or an en bloc capsulectomy is performed at the same time. Light duty work may be resumed in a few days as long as you are not taking narcotics. Full healing should occur by 6 weeks after surgery. Heavy duty lifting should be avoided for 4 weeks.
You may also have a drain if a total capsulectomy (en bloc capsulectomy) is performed at the time of surgery.
To access full postoperative instructions, please click here. (coming soon)
What are the Risks of a Explantation Surgery?
Risks from Breast Explant Surgery include bleeding and infection. Patients are given an antibiotic after surgery to help prevent infections. Fluid collections are uncommon. Removal of breast implants may not resolve all symptoms of Breast Implant Illness (BII), especially if the symptoms were not directly caused by the implants. It is important to discuss anticipated results and expectations with your plastic surgeon prior to surgery.
What Can I Expect from Removal of My Breast Implants?
The changes seen in your breast are immediate! There will be a decrease in volume, and the breasts will be lifted if it was included in the planned surgery. Swelling improves over several weeks, and sutures will dissolve on their own by 4 weeks.
If your symptoms are due to Breast Implant Illness, you may find that some resolve immediately while others may take weeks to months to improve. Breast Implant Illness is currently being studied and is an evolving entity that requires more research and more data. Dr. Nguyen will take the time to speak with you about the most current information on Breast Implant Illness during your consultation and help you make the best decision for yourself if that is something you are suffering from. Our goal is to inform you and help you make the best decision for yourself.
Total capsulectomy (total capsule removal). A portion of capsule was ruptured due to infection burrowing through the breast tissue.
Always be sure to consult with a Board Eligible or a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to determine if getting Breast Explant Surgery is right for you! Dr. David Nguyen would be happy to see you in consultation to walk you through the process and discuss your results. Call 657-900-5055 for a free consultation today!
Breast Implant Removal Cost: Starts at
$3,700 $2,900 for General Anesthesia, $2,500 $1,850 for Local Anesthesia Only (Limited Time Only!)
Breast Explantation with Lift Cost: Starts at
$7550 $6050 (Limited Time Only!)
See More Breast Before & After Photos