Breast Implant Removal
Breast Implant Removal
Although breast augmentation continues to be one of the top cosmetic surgeries in the United States, an increasing number of women are opting to have their breast implants removed. The numbers are still quite small when compared to augmentation, but those numbers are growing. This could be due in part to the recent FDA recall and ban on Allergan Biocell textured implants due to their risk of possible development of a type of lymphoma known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Regardless of the reasons, Dr. Lombardo helps patients who want to remove their breast implants. After removal, she typically performs a breast lift to give the patient the best aesthetic appearance moving forward.
What is breast implant removal?
Just as it sounds, this surgery with Dr. Lombardo removes breast implants placed during a prior augmentation. If necessary, Dr. Lombardo may also remove the capsule, the scar tissue that has built up around the implants. In most cases, she also performs a breast lift because of the tissue that has been stretched by the implants.
How many women are having breast implant removal?
Breast augmentation continues to be one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the United States, but the number of women seeking to remove their implants is rising. In 2008, statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons had the number of women having implant removal at 20,967. A decade later in 2018, that number had risen to over 29,000.
What are the reasons women are opting for implant removal?
As detailed above, compared with augmentation, the number of women choosing to have their implants removed is quite low. More common is breast revision surgery to either exchange implants that have ruptured, increase implant size, or correct issues such as asymmetry.
For women choosing to remove and not replace their implants, these are the typical reasons:
- Capsular contracture — Capsular contracture occurs when the body builds excessive scar tissue around the implants causing tightness and pain in the chest. The implants are removed through revision surgery, along with most of the excess scar tissue. Most women opt to have new implants placed, however.
- Health concerns — Some women have symptoms of a condition being called “breast implant illness.” Although there isn’t any research to specifically link implants to health outcomes, patients anecdotally report these symptoms: fatigue, memory loss, headaches, joint and muscle pain, hair loss, recurring infections, and swollen lymph nodes. The other concern is the recent recall of textured implants by the FDA (see associated section on that below).
- Age — Some women as they become older don’t want the prospect of having implants in place during their older years. They simply opt to remove them and have a breast lift. This removes sagging tissue and firms up their breasts and that’s how they want their later years to go.
How is breast implant removal performed?
These are not difficult surgeries. Dr. Lombardo enters through the original incisions used to place the implants. She then removes the implants. If you have any signs of capsular contracture, where scar tissue continues to build around the implant, the hardened capsule of scar tissue will also be removed. If the scar tissue is still soft, it will likely be left in place.
What should I expect my breasts to look like after implant removal?
Some women assume their breasts will return to their appearance prior to having implants placed. This is not the case. The weight and bulk of the implants will have stretched your skin and support tissues. They tend to also create changes in the rib cage area. Once the implants are removed, the breasts typically appear flattened and saggy. They may be uneven.
Will I need a breast lift after having my implants removed?
As mentioned above, once your implants are removed it’s likely your breasts will have the classic characteristics that would lead a woman to choose to have a breast lift. That’s why Dr. Lombardo almost always recommends a breast lift along with implant removal. This is because with a breast lift, she can remove the loose hanging skin, reposition the remaining breast tissue, and likely relocate the nipple/areola complex. The goal with a breast lift is to return the breasts to a higher position on the chest, which will be important for you to be satisfied with the appearance of your breasts after removing your implants. As mentioned, without a lift, it’s likely your breasts will be quite flat and saggy without the implants. This is especially true the longer you have had implants and with larger implant sizes.
What will my recovery be like after having implants removed?
These are not difficult recoveries if you simply have Dr. Lombardo remove the implants. You’ll be sore on the small incisions for a few days, but you won’t have a lengthy recovery. Your chest will feel different without the implants, but it isn’t a sensation of pain.
However, as mentioned above, most patients having implants removed also request a breast lift, so they aren’t left with flattened sagging breasts after the implants are removed. Because there is more tissue repositioning and excision of excess sagging skin, the addition of a breast lift makes these recoveries more involved. You won’t be able to lift anything more than a gallon of milk for about one month. Any heavier lifting or strenuous exercise will need to wait for six weeks after a breast lift.
Are there risks involved in breast implant removal?
Because Dr. Lombardo can enter through your original incisions to remove your implants, simply removing them doesn’t involve much risk. Yes, it is surgery, so there are the usual risks of infection, excessive bleeding, and such. Also, there may be slightly more risk if she needs to remove the capsule of scar tissue.
The real risks are that your breasts will not look the way you’d like after the implants are removed. That’s why Dr Lombardo recommends a breast lift with implant removal procedures.
What is this I’ve heard about lymphoma linked to breast implants?
In July 2019 the FDA announced a mandatory recall of all textured implants with the brand name Biocell made by Allergan. These textured implants have been linked to a very rare form of cancer: anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. In the announcement, the FDA called the cancer “breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma” (BIA-ALCL).
The occurrences of this lymphoma are exceedingly low — of the 40 million women who have had implants only between 300 to 500 have been diagnosed with genuine cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma — but the news has brought implant removal to the forefront of the public consciousness.
This does not apply to any other implants but the Biocell textured implant from Allergan.
If you have any questions about these issues, call us and we’ll answer any questions you may have.
Candidates For Breast Enhancement Surgery
Ideal candidates for breast surgery should be in good general health with fully developed breasts. Breast augmentation may be right for you if you:
- Have lost a lot of weight and want to reduce sagging or excess breast skin.
- Have unbalanced breasts where one is visibly larger than the other.
- Want larger breasts.
- Want to restore firmness after pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Want to restore shape and volume to aging breasts.
- Want to change the shape of your breasts.
Cost of Breast Implant Surgery
Breast surgery is an elective under insurance plans and is therefore not covered. The cost of breast augmentation surgery varies from person to person and based upon on the type of breast implants chosen and the amount of work to be done.
Breast Augmentation Recovery
Recovering from breast augmentation surgery will take several weeks. Immediately after surgery, your breasts will be wrapped in a compression bra. You’ll need to wear a support bra for up to three weeks to provide support for your breasts and to minimize swelling. Oral and/or topical medications will be prescribed to ease pain and reduce the chances of infection. Your activities will be highly restricted for the first 24-48 hours. After that, you can slowly resume normal activities as you feel able to, but expect to be sore and swollen for several weeks after surgery.
Will there be a scar with augmentation surgery?
Dr. Lombardo’s preferred incision is at the base of the areola, known as the periareolar incision. This makes a very small incision that is effectively hidden by the areola. It can be used for both saline and silicone implants.
Often a device called a Keller Funnel is used to insert a silicone implant. This device allows for the incision to remain small – even with a very large implant size. The other advantage to using the Keller Funnel is that the implant never touches anything except the patient. It minimizes any possible contamination of the implant.
If I want to have children will I be able to breastfeed, and will augmentation affect pregnancy?
Breast implants do not affect pregnancy in any way. Your breasts will gain size with pregnancy and will return to their prior size whether you have implants or not.
As for breastfeeding, Dr. Lombardo makes every effort to protect the milk ducts when performing these procedures. In most cases, the patient retains the ability to breastfeed after augmentation. Still, augmentation can affect your ability to breastfeed. This is especially true with the periareolar incision location.
How soon after my surgery will I know if there is a problem?
One immediate type of problem would be infection. This is a risk with all surgeries. Symptoms of infection include redness, heat, drainage, or swelling around the area of the stitches. Other symptoms include fever, rash, nausea, fatigue, nipple discharge, and vomiting. These signs of infection will show up within the first week or two.
Infection is rare with augmentation. Dr. Lombardo is very careful to maintain a completely sterile environment. Contact with the implants is kept to a minimum prior to actual placement. This is especially true when using a Keller Funnel for silicone implant placement.
Abnormal bleeding into the breast pocket immediately after surgery is a potential problem but all patients are seen on the day after surgery to make sure this is not taking place.
The other significant concern with breast implants is capsular contracture, where scar tissue forms around the implant and tightens. This can takes months or even years to develop. It is also a relatively rare side effect. Women who smoke or who have frequent infections (like UTI’s or dental infections) do have a higher risk of capsular contracture.
What Our Patients Have To Say
“I am super happy with the work you did on my implants… I woke up one morning asking myself why I waited so long to do this and then I answered myself by saying I was waiting for the perfect doctor to come along and that’s you! THANK YOU for being so cool at my appointment, you gave me an easy feeling of trust that made it so easy to commit to such a big decision for me… I will continue to spread the word for you and please continue doing what you do best because you are AMAZING, AWESOME AND SUPER FANTASTIC!”
Dr. Lombardo offers a free in-office consultation and price quote after assessing your individual needs and goals. To schedule your free breast implant removal consultation, call: (760) 610-8990.
Contact Lombardo Cosmetic Surgery in Rancho Mirage today to learn more about breast implant removal where we serve greater Palm Springs & Palm Desert areas.