Breast implant removal is surgery to take out silicone or saline implants. You may have the operation because you no longer want implants. Or you may choose surgery because you have complications with your implants. Often, people choose implant removal because scar tissue has hardened around the implant, causing a capsular contracture.
Breast implant removal is surgery to take out breast implants. During the operation, a surgeon may also remove scar tissue or silicone from implant leaks.
You may want your surgeon to remove old implants and replace them with new ones. Or you may no longer want implants at all. Sometimes, people need the surgery because they have had implant complications.
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Breast implants don’t last a lifetime. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends that people with breast implants have them removed or replaced every 10 to 15 years. However, your plastic surgeon may not recommend that you have them removed if you haven’t had any complications.
Some people opt for breast implant removal because the shape of their breasts has changed since their breast augmentation. Breast appearance may change due to:
In some cases, breast implant removal or replacement is medically necessary. The most common reason to remove implants is that scar tissue hardens around the implants. This hardening is known as capsular contracture. It can cause pain, discomfort or breasts that look different than they once did.
You may also want implant removal because of:
Before breast implant removal, your healthcare provider will give you specific instructions to help you prepare. You may need to:
Usually, breast implant removal is an outpatient surgery, meaning you can leave the same day. Before the operation, you will need to arrange transportation to return home.
When it’s time for surgery, a doctor who specializes in pain control (anesthesiologist) gives you medicine. This medicine will help you remain numb during the surgery. You may have:
During the operation, your surgeon:
After surgery, you receive specific instructions for recovery. Your provider tells you:
For a few weeks, you may wear a special support bra or a compression garment to reduce swelling. You may also have small tubes called drains placed underneath your skin. These tubes ensure that you drain excess fluid or blood. These drains usually come out after a few days but may stay in place for up to 10 days or more.
Breast implant removal has a few benefits. Getting the surgery may affect:
Many people have breast implant removal surgery with minimal to no complications. But all surgeries carry some risks. With breast implant removal, one of the most common risks is feeling dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts after surgery.
Other complications of implant removal can include:
For the first one to two weeks after surgery, you will need to avoid some of your usual activities, such as driving. During recovery, you will need to limit strenuous activity and heavy lifting. Many people have tenderness or soreness for up to six weeks.
When you have breast implants, your skin stretches to accommodate the size of your breasts. After implant removal, your breasts may sag, droop or appear misshapen.
Many people choose to have implant removal with a breast lift (mastopexy). During a breast lift, your surgeon removes excess skin and reshapes your breast tissue. If needed, the surgeon can also reposition the nipple and areola. The result is firmer, more elevated breasts.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Breast implant removal is surgery to take out silicone or saline implants. Typically, breast implants last for about 10 to 15 years. Some people have implant removal surgery because of tissue hardening around the implant or other complications. Others may have surgery to replace old implants with new ones. Or you may no longer want implants. Surgery to remove breast implants is typically an outpatient procedure. If you are concerned about the appearance of your breasts after implant removal, you may have a breast lift.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/20/2021.
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