Breast Implant Removal

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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. Women can 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 and the prospect of potentially needing additional surgery later. They simply opt to remove them. This can be done with a breast lift, if needed or desired.

How Is Breast Implant Removal Performed?

This is a straightforward surgery. 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 usually not the case. The weight and bulk of the implants may have stretched your skin and support tissues. Larger implants tend to do this to a greater extent. They tend to also create changes in the rib cage area. Once the implants are removed, the breasts typically appear flattened and can drop. 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 usually 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 have loose tissue 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. Full arm range of motion and lifting will be restrained for 2-3 weeks. 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.

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!"

- R.N.

– Breast Augmentation Patient

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.

Call 760-610-8990 for information on any of our services.

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