Breast implant removal, also called explant surgery, is a procedure to remove saline or silicone breast implants. Some women are unsatisfied with the look and feel of their implants, and this procedure allows them to restore their natural appearance or enhance their breasts in another way. In most cases, patients with breast implants undergo explantation after around 10 years, as this is the usual time to exchange them. For some women, their implants cause discomfort, were poorly placed, or are not compatible with an active lifestyle, while for others an underlying medical condition may mean explantation is the best option.
Whatever the reason may be, Dr. Alyson Wells believes every woman deserves the chance to feel amazing in their body. As a researcher, publisher, teaching physician, and double-board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Wells’ extensive training makes her the perfect choice for your explant surgery.
At Valley Plastic Surgery & Medi-Spa in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Wells and her staff are more than ready to meet you and discuss your needs at a personal consultation. Call (410) 628-8200 or fill out our online form to get started on your breast transformation journey today!
Before and After Photos
About Breast Implant Removal
No pair of breast implants are meant to last a lifetime. At one point or another, every woman with breast implants will require replacements or another type of reconstructive surgery. The longevity of implants depends on the woman’s body and the implant type, texture, and size.
In a study of 522 patients with breast implants, the top reason for removal was dissatisfaction with appearance. This was followed by concern over safety, dissatisfaction with the feel of them, and pain. After ten years, 43.5% of the women had their implants removed for medical reasons. (1) Here are just a few reasons that might warrant saying goodbye to your implants:
- Capsular contracture – Scar tissue formed around an implant is normal and is called an implant capsule. However, in some cases, unwanted tightening and hardening of the capsule can occur, distorting the shape of the breast.
- Breast implant illness (BII) – BII consists of many symptoms ranging from joint and muscle pain, anxiety or depression, fatigue, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, and much more. It also occurs more often in women who have textured or silicone implants. (2) Although the condition is not well understood, explant surgery is a safe removal option, providing significant relief from BII symptoms.
- Implant rupture – It’s easy to identify if a saline implant has ruptured because the breast will appear deflated within a few days. With silicone implants, the silicone gel can escape within the implant capsule or outside of it, leading to scar tissue formation. An MRI is the most sensitive imaging available that will be able to identify a silicone rupture. Rupture is extremely rare, and often results from surgical error or a traumatic injury.
- Limited movement – Both capusular contracture and a loose implant capsule can limit your movement. While contracture causes pain, a weak implant capsule can easily displace an implant, negatively impacting breast contours.
- Pain – Poor implant placement, scar tissue buildup, and pinched nerves may be the cause of your breast implant pain.
- Infections – A bacterial infection can grow and spread in the first weeks following a breast augmentation surgery. If antibiotics are ineffective, implant removal may be necessary.
- Dynamic distortion – If an implant is placed under the chest muscle (pectoralis), then the implant may move around when the muscle flexes. This is known as dynamic distortion.
Benefits of Breast Implant Removal
Explant surgery can give you the freedom to reconsider your options for another type of breast implant or reconstruction. You’ll be able to customize the vision you have for your breasts. It can provide better long-term comfort and mobility, and can also increase your body confidence. When you look good and are proud of your body, you’ll no longer have to hide your irregular or painful implants. You’ll be able to flaunt an updated look that will boost your happiness and confidence.
Explant Surgery Options
This procedure doesn’t have to leave your breasts sagging or lacking volume. After all, we understand why you got breast implants to begin with- for your breasts to look shapely and attractive!
Explant surgery doesn’t just consist of removing the implant; it is more complex than that. Dr. Wells can incorporate one of the following to ensure that you’re pleased with the results:
- Breast implant replacement is ideal if you’ve been enjoying your implants for some time but need replacements. We offer a wide selection of silicone and saline implants to support your breast enhancement desires. A capulsectomy can break down any excessive scar tissue before new implants are placed inside.
- Breast augmentation with fat transfer involves taking fat from your own body via liposuction and injecting it back into the breasts to recreate the look of natural shapely breasts.
- Breast augmentation with lift is a type of breast augmentation of your choice (fat transfer or implant) that can be coupled with a breast lift, also called a mastopexy. This involves removing excess skin of the breast to produce a rounder, uplifted breast.
- A simple explant surgery is preferred by some women who don’t want their breasts lifted or restored aesthetically.
This procedure is ideal for any woman who deals with daily discomfort, pain, or hardness related to their breast implants.
Overall, if you are in good health, a non-smoker, at a stable weight, have experienced any of the other medical conditions mentioned above, and are bothered by the appearance of your breasts, then explant surgery may be your best course of action.
Our Baltimore County location is recognized as one of the top surgery centers in the United States and is endorsed by the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF). Dr. Wells and her staff follow the most up-to-date safety measures and provide the highest quality medical service possible at our state-of-the-art facility.
During your consultation, Dr. Wells will discuss your needs, goals, and expectations. Initially, she may order blood tests to get a comprehensive idea of your health. She will review your medications, make any necessary changes, and require that you stop taking blood thinners in order to prevent excessive bleeding during the procedure. Alcohol also counts as a blood thinner, so it’s vital to stop drinking for at least 2 weeks before surgery. If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking 4-6 weeks before surgery. Cigarettes have numerous chemicals that impede circulation and the wound-healing process.
Explant surgery requires sedation and/or general anesthesia, so you should plan to have someone drive you home after the procedure for your safety and comfort.
Once in the operating room, we will administer local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia. Under local anesthesia, you will be awake and in a calm, relaxed state. With general anesthesia, you will remain unconscious throughout the surgery. Both methods provide complete numbing for the duration of the procedure. Next, Dr. Wells will make incisions into the breast mound to carefully extract the implants and remove unwanted scar tissue. If a patient opts for new breast implants, Dr. Wells will break apart the old implant capsules and place new implants.
If the explant procedure is coupled with fat transfer, Dr. Wells will use liposuction to remove fat from a donor area of your body. After the fat is purified, it will be carefully transferred into the breasts using a reverse cannula. The incisions from the liposuction are so small that they don’t require sutures. With a breast lift, Dr. Wells will reshape the breast tissue; the nipples are repositioned and excess skin is removed.
After any one of these procedures, she will close the incisions with sutures, surgical tape, or skin adhesives. Although scarring is expected, but most fade significantly with time and through following aftercare instructions carefully.
With any chosen surgical method, Dr. Wells will ensure that your breasts appear tightened, symmetrical, natural, and fitting for your body.
Anesthesia can stay in effect for up to 24 hours after the procedure, so you will likely experience little initial discomfort. Dr. Wells will prescribe pain medications and may recommend certain over-the-counter pain medications that are safe to take as alternatives. Most women have mild-to-moderate pain during the course of their recovery process, though this will dissipate over time.
The amount and duration of swelling will depend on your chosen surgery, though in most cases it resolves in under 2 weeks. In all cases, patients can expect redness and bruising in the treatment area.
After your explantation surgery, you’ll need to take some time off work to recover. In the first 2-3 days, you should be resting as much as possible. You’ll be able to return to work shortly after that if your job doesn’t require heavy lifting or straining. If your work requires upper body strength, it may take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to resume. The same applies to any strenuous exercise.
Drainage tubes at the incision sites may be required to ensure that fluid does not build up in the breasts; in some cases, they may be required for the first 10 days. These will be placed at the should facilitate a faster resolution of swelling. You may need to wear a compression garment for 2-3 weeks to reduce swelling and to keep your results secure.
Cost of Breast Implant Removal in Baltimore
Dr. Wells is committed to providing her patients with long-term results that they will love. All breast enhancement and revision surgeries are delicate procedures that require extensive planning, especially if a medical condition is involved. When you contact us for a consultation, Dr. Wells will review your individual situation and give you an accurate estimate for the cost of your procedure. Get in touch with Valley Plastic Surgery at (410) 628-8200 to book your personal consultation regarding your breast implant removal, and look forward to experiencing the next stage of your breast augmentation journey.
If you’re interested in learning about our other procedures, visit Valley Plastic Surgery & Medi-Spa’s blog.
Will breast implant removal leave scars?
It can leave scars, but with the right aftercare, scars can fade with time. Scar massage, Vitamin E, scar creams, and silicone sheets have all been proven to help fade the appearance of scars.
How can I make my breast implants last longer?
Taking the proper amount of time to recover and heal is essential, so follow your doctor’s orders carefully. You should make sure that you find supportive bras and avoid weight gain to prevent sagging.
Will my breasts sag after breast implant removal?
It is possible that your breasts may sag after an explant procedure. Many women choose to have a mastopexy, or a breast lift, in order to remove extra skin and reshape the breast tissue.
Are mammograms required with breast implants?
Mammograms are still required as recommended. The FDA also recommends that you should get an MRI screening 5 years after the procedure and every 2-3 years after that. (3)
- Zhang, Z., Qi, J., Zhang, X. et al. What Can We Learn from Breast Implant Explantation: a 28-Year, Multicenter Retrospective Study of 1004 Explantation Cases. Aesth Plast Surg (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-023-03365-4
- Katsnelson JY, Spaniol JR, Buinewicz JC, Ramsey FV, Buinewicz BR. Outcomes of Implant Removal and Capsulectomy for Breast Implant Illness in 248 Patients. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2021;9(9):e3813. Published 2021 Sep 7. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000003813
- Huong T Le-Petross, MD, FRCPC and others, Assessment, Complications, and Surveillance of Breast Implants: Making Sense of 2022 FDA Breast Implant Guidance, Journal of Breast Imaging, Volume 5, Issue 3, May/June 2023, Pages 360–372, https://doi.org/10.1093/jbi/wbad029