Breast Implant Removal
Breast implants are not lifetime devices. At some point they will need to be replaced or removed. For some women removal of the implant without replacement is desired. This may be due to changes in the breasts such as increased breast tissue due to hormonal factors or weight gain resulting in too large breasts, chronic problems with scar tissue around the implant resulting in pain or discomfort, poor cosmetic appearance, implant rupture, decline in health without clear reason or simply lifestyle change.
Depending on the overall breast tissue changes that have occurred due to previous surgeries or normal changes associated with aging, additional manipulation of the breast skin and underlying breast tissue may need to be performed for optimal aesthetic result. Dr. La Via will be able to discuss this with you after a thorough assessment of your breast surgery history and examination of your breasts.
In most cases of implant removal, at least a portion of the capsule (scar tissue surrounding the breast implant) will be removed. In those cases, drains (thin tubes) are placed under the breast tissue that collect healing fluid. These are usually removed within 7-10 days.
The risks include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Poor healing of incisions
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent
- Anesthesia risks
- Breast contour and shape irregularities
- Skin discoloration, permanent pigmentation changes, swelling and bruising
- Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs can occur and may be temporary or permanent
- Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
- Breast asymmetry
- Fatty tissue deep in the skin could die (fat necrosis)
- Fluid accumulation
- Excessive firmness of the breast
- Potential partial or total loss of nipple and areola
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Blood clots
- Pain, which may persist
- Possibility of revisional surgery
There are some women in whom removal of the breast implant will result in significant deformity of the breast . This can occur in women who have had extensive manipulation of their breast tissue through multiple operations. Dr. La via will be able to guide you through your options should this be your situation. In some cases fat grafting of the breast can help minimize the deformities.