Breast Implant Removal (Explantation)
By Female Plastic Surgeon, Traci Temmen, M.D.
Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the world with more than 300,000 breast implant surgeries performed in the United States each year. Despite its popularity, some patients may eventually consider removal of their breast implants for a variety of reasons. Deciding to have breast implants removed, also known as explantation, can be a difficult decision for some women but a liberating and exciting decision for others. Whatever the background, history, or circumstances, Dr. Traci Temmen is an understanding, careful, and meticulous female plastic surgeon experienced in performing breast implant removal.
What is Breast Implant Removal (Explantation) Surgery
Just as the name implies, breast implant removal surgery in its most basic form is simply the removal of previously placed breast implants. Depending on the reason for removal or the desired postoperative outcome, the scar tissue, or capsule, surrounding the breast implant may also be removed in a procedure known as capsulectomy. If specific, troublesome pieces of the capsule are removed, this procedure is called a partial capsulectomy. Removal of the entire breast implant capsule is called a complete capsulectomy. Occasionally, the patient or surgeon may decide to remove the entire breast implant capsule in one piece with the breast implant still inside of the capsule; this procedure is known as an en bloc capsulectomy or en bloc removal of breast implant. During the initial consultation, Dr. Traci Temmen in Tampa, Florida will take the time to discuss your history, reason for removing breast implants, your desired outcome, and perform a thorough physical examination. She will then be able to help you decide what surgery is best for you whether it be simple breast implant removal, explantation with partial capsulectomy, implant removal with total capsulectomy, or en bloc removal of breast implants.
Why Do Women Decide to Remove Their Breast Implants
With time, weight gain, or pregnancy some women who were once happy with breast implants later feel that their breasts are too large or interfere with their lifestyle. On the other hand, some women may have felt rushed into the decision to get a breast augmentation, or ended up with breast implants much larger than they intended, and immediately regret the decision to get breast implants. Regardless of the reason, the decision to remove your breast implants is often not any easy one. Dr. Traci Temmen has found that women considering breast augmentation occasionally do so quickly; however, women deciding to remove their breast implants rarely decide quickly and often agonize over the decision for months or even years. Patients considering breast implant explantation usually consider every option, think about every postoperative outcome, and look into every revisionary surgery possible. However, once the decision is finally made, most women that decide to remove their breasts implants feel relaxed, sure of their decision, and at peace.
Who is a Candidate for Explantation Surgery
Obviously, anyone who has had breast implants in the past can choose to have them removed. The best candidates for breast implant removal surgery are those patients who are healthy enough to undergo anesthesia, are at or near their ideal body weight, and have considered all aspects of explantation. Prospective patients must be emotionally ready for removal and have realistic expectations of what their breasts will look like without implants. Dr. Traci Temmen will help you manage your fears and expectations when considering breast implant removal and will guide you from the initial consultation all the way through recovery.
Who is Not a Good Candidate for Breast Implant Removal
Patients who are not ideal candidates for breast implant removal are those who have not given full consideration to their decision and its repercussions. Most women who have their breast implants removed will obviously have decreased breast volume following surgery and may experience sagging or an unaesthetic change in breast shape. For this reason, many patients may choose to undergo a breast lift, breast reduction, or fat transfer to their breasts during their explantation surgery or at a second stage surgery.
Implant Removal, Breast Lift, Breast Reduction, or Fat Transfer to the Breast with Explantation
Some patients that decide to remove their breast implants may do so with little deleterious consequences to their overall appearance. These patients usually have smaller implants, sturdy overlying breast tissue, and good skin quality. Initially following removal in these patients, the breasts can look thin and deflated. However, over time the skin contracts, the overlying breast tissues “fluff up,” and the breast can improve in overall appearance by up to 30%. Some plastic surgeons may try to dissuade patients from removing their implants by showing “scary” photos of women on the operating room table where their implants have just been removed and the chest is completely flat, possibly concave, and the skin is stretched out of shape. While this may be the outcome of implant removal in some cases, there are plenty of other women that have a cosmetic result they find completely acceptable following a simple explantation. These women simply need to be advised of the expected changes their breasts will undergo in the weeks to months following implant removal and have a trusted plastic surgeon willing to hold their hand along the way. Dr. Traci Temmen finds it easy to discuss all aspects of explantation surgery with her patients and will always take the time to listen.
Of course, not everyone can remove their implants without consequence. Many women, because of implant size, age, pregnancy, or genetics, will have breasts they find cosmetically unacceptable if they simply remove their implants. Depending on their current size, breast implant size, degree of sagging, and desired postoperative appearance, these women may consider a breast reduction, breast lift, or liposuction and fat transfer to the breast along with their implant removal surgery. A breast lift or breast reduction can reshape the breast, remove and tighten excess skin, and reposition the nipple of a breast that has been stretched beyond its ability to contract following breast implant removal. Liposuction with fat transfer to the breast can provide natural volume to breasts that would look deflated or flat after explantation alone. Dr. Temmen performs all aspects of breast revision surgery and will help you develop a plan to achieve the most attractive breasts possible following removal of your implants.
Breast Implant Removal Scars
Breast implants can often be removed through the same incision through which they were placed. If removal of the breast implant capsule is to be performed at the same time as explantation, a scar under the fold of the breast is often needed if the initial surgery was performed through an incision in the axilla or areola.
If additional surgeries such as a breast lift or breast reduction are to be performed at the same time as implant removal, these surgeries require their own scar burden. In the hands of Dr. Traci Temmen, a breast lift and breast reduction are usually performed through a lollipop scar with an incision around the areola and vertical scar down the inferior pole of the breast. A full anchor-type scar with a long scar in the crease beneath the breast is rarely needed to achieve a satisfactory result. Liposuction and fat transfer to the breast is performed through small stab wounds that can be well hidden in the creases and folds of the body.
Most breast implant removal surgeries are performed under general anesthesia. Rarely, a simple implant removal can be performed under local anesthesia or IV sedation (i.e. twilight anesthesia). If simple implant removal is performed, recovery from explantation is very easy. Most patients will not require pain medication, can return to work within a day or two, and will not require drains. Removal of the capsule via a partial capsulectomy, total capsulectomy, or en bloc implant removal and capsulectomy increases the risks of explantation. Thus, in these situations, patients often need pain medication postoperatively, will require drains, and should plan on returning to work or school after a few days.
The recovery for implant removal with a breast lift, breast reduction, or liposuction and fat transfer to the breast is similar to the recovery that of a regular breast reduction, breast lift, or natural breast augmentation procedure. Dr. Traci Temmen and her staff will discuss the recovery process in detail during your consultation for breast implant removal surgery, the preoperative appointment, and during all subsequent follow-up appointments. If necessary, Dr. Temmen’s office can also help arrange private nursing staff to assist in your recovery or recommend luxurious recovery house options in the South Tampa or Tampa Bay area.
Cost of Breast Implant Removal
The cost of breast implant removal surgery with Dr. Traci Temmen in Tampa, Florida starts at $4,900 when performed under general anesthesia. When the complexity or anticipated time in the operating room increases because of capsulectomy or en bloc breast implant removal, the anticipated price of explantation will also increase.
The cost of breast implant removal when performed with a breast lift, breast reduction, or liposuction with fat transfer to the breast is similar to that of a primary mastopexy (breast lift), breast reduction, or natural fat transfer. You can learn more about these surgeries and their respective pricing under the Breast Surgery section of Dr. Temmen’s website.
Risks of Breast Implant Explantation
When simple removal of a breast implant is performed, the risks of surgery are relatively low. The risks associated with implant removal are higher when the procedure is performed with removal of the capsule or other breast surgeries. Partial or total removal of the breast implant capsule increases the risk of postoperative bleeding, injury to the lungs, and decreased blood flow to the nipple. Additional risks of explantation surgery are encountered when removal of the implant is performed in combination with surgeries that reposition the nipple areolar complex, such as a breast reduction or breast lift. These surgeries alter blood flow to the breast tissue and nipple and should be performed with caution when the breast implant capsule is also removed.
Before and After Breast Implant Removal Photos
Dr. Traci Temmen has performed all manners of breast implant removal including simple removal of the implant, explantation with removal of the capsule, and implant removal in combination with breast lift, breast reduction, and fat transfer to the breast. Before and after photos of breast implant removal can be scary if the proper sequence of photos are not shown. For instance, most people considering breast implant removal have done an internet search for “before and after breast implant removal photos” and seen unattractive or even deformed looking breasts. However, these after photos are usually taken immediately following removal or deflation of the breast implant and are posted for shock value. As described above, photos taken just four to six weeks after an implant removal will show a much tighter skin envelope and fuller, more aesthetic breast. When combined with fat transfer to the breast, breast lift, or breast reduction, explantation can result in a full, natural-looking, and soft breast.
To see before and after pictures of breast implant removal, explantation with breast lift or reduction, and fat transfer to the breast following implant removal click on Dr. Traci Temmen’s before and after gallery. To see additional before and after breast implant removal photos in the office, call Dr. Traci Temmen today at 813-877-2277.