Although problems with breast implants are uncommon, as time goes on the chance of having a problem with breast implants increases (with the common ones being capsular contracture, malposition & rupture).
Although the majority of patients with problems with breast implants choose to have them replaced, some patients choose to have their breast implants removed if they have problems with them. Recently some patients concerned with ‘breast implant illness’ or the rare risk of BIA-ALCL, (breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma) have requested breast implant removal.
Breast implant removal (or breast explant surgery) is something that should be considered carefully, as patients end up with smaller, droopier breasts, with a significant percentage of patients then requiring other operations to improve the appearance of the breasts, with the commonest being a breast lift (mastopexy), fat transfer to increase the size of the breast again, and a small percentage of patients request to have breast implants reinserted 3-6 months later (redo breast augmentation).
Nevertheless, if you have decided to have breast implant removal then Dr Charles Cope in Sydney performs this.
The breast implant is removed (together with as much leaking silicone as possible if it is ruptured), together with as much of the breast implant capsule (scar tissue) as possible – complete (en-bloc) removal is required in some situations such as concern with BIA-ALCL.
There is a Medicare rebate for breast implant removal, which means that if you are insured your health fund may cover the hospital bed fee and theatre fee costs (depending on your level of insurance)
Breast implant removal is performed as a day-surgery or overnight stay procedure in an accredited hospital, depending on what you are like with anaesthetic recovery
An incision in the crease under the breast is used, even if the previous scar to perform breast augmentation was not in this position
During the first week after surgery you need to rest and take things quietly at home. When you go home there will be waterproof dressings covering the wounds, which normally stay on for one week, allowing you to shower normally. Most people find these dressings supportive, but if you find it more comfortable to wear a supportive sports bra that’s fine. Some people feel well enough to drive to the postoperative visit, which is usually 5-7 days later. Most people return to office work 7-10 days after the removal of breast implants.
For most people it is 3-4 weeks until they are ready to return to sport and full activities