7 Reasons to Remove Breast Implants (Explant Surgery)
Posted November 21, 2022 in Breast Implant Removal
4 Minute Read:
If you’ve had breast augmentation and are thinking of having your implants removed or exchanged for a different size, shape, or placement, you’re not alone.
There are several reasons a woman might want to undergo breast explant surgery to remove and/or replace her current breast implants.
1. Implant Exchange
Sometimes, women might feel that the size of their implants is too big or too small. In other circumstances, they think their implant size is no longer of their liking due to aging or other personal reasons. Dissatisfaction with breast size or appearance is a common reason for breast implant removal (explantation).
Explantation provides a breast augmentation patient to:
- Increase or decrease the size of their implants
- Choose a different material or shape
- Have their implants placed differently (above or below the muscle)
Another reason some women choose to have their breast implants removed is that they are interfering with their lifestyle.
2. Capsular Contracture
After breast implants are placed, the body reacts by producing fibrous scar tissue around the implant. This protective capsule is normally soft or somewhat firm.
However, sometimes the capsule hardens and tightens around one or both implants, causing pain and aesthetic distortion.
A capsulectomy is the best treatment for capsular contracture and involves removing the breast implant(s) and tissue capsule.
3. Shifting or Rotating of Implants
Sometimes one or both breast implants move out of place or rotate, causing an unnatural appearance. This shift can have several causes, including:
- Trauma – Your breasts may shift if impacted hard enough by an accident, or other mishaps.
- Lifting or vigorous exercise – If you lift heavy objects or exercise too soon after breast augmentation, this can cause your implants to move out of place. It’s essential to let your upper chest muscles relax and allow the breast implants to settle into place naturally.
- Placement of the implant – if the pocket made by the cosmetic surgeon is too big or small to accommodate the implant’s size appropriately, movement or rotation can occur.
In some cases, the implant(s) can be repositioned manually by the patient or surgeon, but usually, surgery is necessary to remove and reinsert the implant(s).
4. BII, Infection, or Rupture
If you experience health-related issues due to your breast implants, you will need to have them removed. The three most common of these complications include:
- Breast implant infection – While rare, infection near the breast implant can occur. Because antibiotic treatment is often unsuccessful, explantation is usually necessary.
- Breast implant illness (BII) – Some women experience fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, dry eyes, and other serious symptoms after breast augmentation. While no official medical diagnosis exists, BII is established by excluding other conditions.
- Breast implant rupture – Women with saline breast implants can usually spot a rupture easily as the implant deflates quickly, but those with silicone implants must have regular MRI screenings to look for any possible leaks.
This imaging is necessary because ruptures in silicone breast implants can be difficult to detect. Saline implant ruptures pose no threat to a woman’s health, while the cohesiveness of silicone implants helps prevent these contents from escaping their protective capsules.
5. Detection of Breast Cancer
When cancer of the breast occurs, breast implants must be removed during treatment. After all signs of cancer have been eliminated, usually by a mastectomy, new implants can be placed during breast reconstruction surgery.
Tissue expanders are often needed to stretch the skin and allow it to accommodate the implants.
6. Age of Implants
While there is no guarantee that you will have to remove your implants (and there is no reason to if your implants are healthy), breast implants are often estimated to have a shelf life of 15 to 20 years or more. The older the implants, the more prone they may be to a range of implant-related complications like rupture.
7. No Longer Desire Breast Implants
Another common reason to remove your breast implants is that you no longer wish to have them and you would now prefer a more modest or natural appearance. In this case, you will probably need to undergo a breast lift to reshape your natural tissue and ensure your breasts are firm and perky.