Breast Implant Removal & Replacement
Breast implant removal and replacement procedures are collectively referred to as breast implant revision surgery. Most people who have breast implants will need to have revision surgery at some point because breast implants don’t last forever, and eventually they need to be removed or replaced..
Why Breast Implants May Need to Be Removed or Replaced
If the Implants Are More Than 10 to 20 years Old
When you have a breast augmentation with implants, your results are long-lasting, but they’re not permanent. If you’ve had your implants for more than 10 years, you may want to schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon to make sure they’re still in great shape.
Just because your current implants are 10 years old or older doesn’t automatically mean you have to replace them. If you have no health issues relating to your implants and the implants themselves are intact, then revision surgery may be unnecessary. A plastic surgeon can do an exam and confirm this for you.
If You Have Health Problems Relating to Your Implants
Some people experience health problems relating to their breast implants. Some possible issues that might require implant removal include:
- Excessive scar tissue
- Capsular contracture
- Leaking implant
- Breast implant illness
If You Want to Change the Appearance of Your Breasts
Some people choose to have their breast implants removed or replaced not for health reasons but for cosmetic ones. Breasts can change in shape or size due to:
- Changes in weight
These changes can happen even in breasts with implants.
And some people decide they no longer need or want implants or decide they want to have their implants replaced with a new set of a different size or shape.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Replacement or Implant Removal Surgery?
You may be a good candidate for this surgery if you currently have breast implants and have a specific reason for wanting to remove or replace them. Both health and aesthetic issues can be common reasons to have breast implant revision surgery.
It’s also important to be in good physical health, with a stable weight. This is especially important if you’re having revision surgery for aesthetic reasons, as weight changes can affect your surgical results.
What Happens During the Surgical Consultation for This Breast Surgery?
A breast implant revision consultation is similar to the consultation you had for your original implant procedure. You’ll have a physical examination and spend some time talking about the procedure with your surgeon. You’ll discuss a range of issues, including your goals for surgery, your medical history, and your previous breast augmentation procedure. Make sure to mention any and all medications and supplements you’re taking too.
Once your surgeon has performed a physical exam and taken your medical history, they’ll recommend a course of action. Depending on your situation and preferences, this might include implant removal surgery or removal followed by placement of a new set of implants.
The consultation is also the best time to ask any questions you have about the procedure. Make sure to ask for as much information as you need, so you can be confident about making a choice that’s right for you.
How Should I Prepare for Implant Revision Surgery?
When you have surgery, there may be one or two changes you need to make prior to your procedure. If you do need to prepare in any way, your surgeon will let you know what to do and when. This might include:
If you’re taking prescription blood-thinning medications, your surgeon may ask you to stop taking these temporarily before your surgery. This is important because these medications increase the risk of dangerous bleeding during surgery. Some over-the-counter medications, including aspirin and ibuprofen, are also in this category.
If your surgeon asks you to stop taking any medications, they’ll tell you when to stop taking them before surgery and when it’s safe to start taking them again.
If you vape or use tobacco, your surgeon will ask you to stop for two or more weeks before your surgery. They’ll also recommend you avoid smoking for as long as possible after the surgery. This is important because smoking reduces your blood oxygen levels. This adds to your level of surgical risk and reduces your body’s healing rate after surgery.
What Happens During Implant Revision Surgery?
Breast implant removal or revision surgery is typically carried out under a general anesthesia. Once the procedure starts, your surgeon will make incisions in your breasts, either along the inframammary fold or around or below the areolas. The breast implants are removed via these incisions.
The rest of the surgery will proceed according to your specific needs. For instance, it may involve removing scar tissue or placing a new set of implants. Once the procedure is completed, the incisions are closed, and you’re moved to a recovery area.
Implant Removal and Revision Recovery and Aftercare
Breast implant replacement and removal procedures are usually performed on an outpatient basis. This means that unless you have complicating health issues, you’ll go home the same day. Make sure you arrange for someone to drive you home and for someone to help take care of you for at least the first 24 hours.
After your breast implant revision surgery, you’ll have some pain, swelling, and bruising in the breast area. These symptoms will gradually improve and lessen over time. However, while most of the pain and bruising tend to recede after a couple of weeks, some residual soreness may remain for up to six weeks. The swelling may take longer to go away completely.
Your surgeon may prescribe pain relief and antibiotic medications after surgery. It’s especially important to take any antibiotics as prescribed to make sure you’re not at risk of infection.
Depending on your normal activity level, you may need to restrict some activities for the first two to three weeks after surgery. Generally, this means avoiding any strenuous activities, including heavy lifting and high-impact exercise. Your surgeon will give you a full list of activities to avoid, depending on the specific nature of your surgery.
Breast Implant Revision Risks and Complications
All surgery has some associated risks. While the major surgical risks happen only rarely, it’s still important to know about them. Understanding the risks is an essential part of giving informed consent to having a surgical procedure. Your surgeon will discuss the risks and potential complications of your surgery with you before you have the procedure.
Up to 1 in 5,000 people have an unexpected reaction to anesthesia, either due to an allergy or because they are more sensitive to anesthesia than is usual. If you’ve previously had anesthesia and haven’t had an unusual reaction, you’re unlikely to have a dangerous reaction to anesthesia in the future.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clot:
Your risk of a blood clot or DVT increases temporarily after surgery. If you’re a smoker, the risk is heightened even further. Inactivity also contributes to the risk, so it’s important to resume light activities as soon as your surgeon says it’s okay.
Your surgery results:
Even if your surgery is successful, there’s a risk you won’t be completely happy with the results. This is a particular risk when breast implant are removed because when you have implants removed, the appearance of your breasts can change dramatically. There may be loose skin, lumpy-looking areas, and other changes in breast appearance.
Possible complications of breast implant revision include:
Bleeding or hematoma (bruising):
Most bruising is temporary and non-serious.
This is a buildup of fluid around incisions or in the breasts; it’s temporary and usually non-serious.
Make sure to take any antibiotics as instructed to reduce your infection risk.
Your breasts may have some differences in size and shape after removal surgery. This can happen if you have scar tissue removed, as there may be unequal amounts of tissue removed from each breast.
Loose skin that may cause breast sagging:
This is unavoidable if you have implants removed without having new ones placed. However, you do have the option of having a breast lift to reshape your breasts if you’re unhappy with them after revision surgery.
Loss of sensation:
You may have temporary or permanent changes in nipple sensation, such as numbness or tingling. Most of the time this is temporary.
All surgery leaves some scarring, and it can take several months or longer for scars to settle. Scarring should start to fade around three months, and by six months scars should be almost completely healed. They will continue to fade over time.
What Results Can I Expect from Breast Implant Removal or Replacement Surgery?
The final results of breast implant revision surgery are highly individual. It’s very difficult for a surgeon to accurately predict what your results might be, as so much depends on whether there has been damage to your breast tissue.
Some factors that might affect your results include:
- Whether the skin in your breast area has thinned extensively
- Whether you have lots of internal scar tissue around your implants and how much scar tissue has to be removed
- The size of the implants being removed
- How much loose skin is left behind after removal
- Whether or not you choose to have replacement implants
- If you’ve been pregnant, breastfeeding, or had any large changes in weight while you had breast implants
How Much Does Implant Revision Surgery Cost?
The cost of implant revision varies depending on the exact kind of surgery you want. If you want to have your existing implants removed and replaced with a new set of implants, this surgery will cost more than if you just want your implants removed without replacing them.
Implant removal costs an average of $3,049, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. To have your existing implants removed and replaced with a new pair, you can expect to pay at least that much, plus the cost of the new implants.
Will Insurance Cover the Cost of Breast Implant Revision Surgery?
Although breast augmentation with implants isn’t usually covered by insurance, there are situations where insurance might cover implant removal. This is the case when the implants pose a threat to your health and implant removal is judged to be medically necessary.
If you think you may be eligible for insurance coverage, bring this up at your surgical consultation. And if you are eligible, have it confirmed in writing by your insurance provider before having the surgery.
Financing Options for Implant Replacement or Removal at Savannah Plastic Surgery
We offer several payment options, including checks and cash and all credit cards. We also offer Alpheon®, Care Credit® and PatientFI® financing. To learn more about your payment options, please visit our financing and insurance page.
Considering breast implant removal or replacement? Learn more about these procedures or schedule your consultation at Savannah Plastic Surgery by contacting us today. We welcome patients from Savannah and the surrounding areas of Chatham County and offer convenient office locations in Brunswick, Hinesville, and Bluffton.