Breast Implant Removal

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There are a range of reasons that could mean you need breast implant removal surgery. It could be that your implants have come to the end of their life span. It could be that they are causing you pain or discomfort. It could also simply be that you no longer like the way they look. The advantages of breast implant removal surgery include improved comfort levels, a more natural appearance, and peace of mind knowing that your implants will not have to be replaced in the future. If you are suffering from any sort of discomfort due to your implants, removal surgery can also provide relief. Overall, breast implant removal surgery can offer many benefits and should be considered if you are no longer happy with your implants. When considering breast implant removal surgery, it is important to understand the process and have the right expectations. The surgery itself is not overly complicated, but there are a few things that you should be aware of before going under the knife.

Before Breast Implant Removal Surgery?

Before undergoing the surgery, you will have a consultation with your surgeon to discuss your goals. You may want to have your implants removed and your surgeon will want to understand these to ensure that breast implant removal surgery is the best option for you. Once you have decided to go ahead with the treatment, you will need to take certain steps in preparation for the surgery to ensure that the process runs smoothly. This will include things you must do before the surgery (such as not eating or drinking for at least 8 hours before the surgery) as well as preparing for after the surgery (such as making sure a friend or family member is available to take you home). Your surgeon will inform you of everything you need to do in order to prepare prior to the surgery.

What happens during the Surgery?

The first thing to know is that the surgery will likely be performed under general anaesthesia. This means that you will be asleep for the duration of the procedure. The process itself isn’t very long; breast implant removal surgery usually takes between one and two hours but this is dependent on whether there has been any leaking or ruptures of the implants (this is possible for both saline and silicone implants) as well as the amount of scar tissue developed. 

You will first be put under general anaesthesia by an anaesthetist which will ensure that you fall into a deep sleep and feel no pain during the procedure. You will also be given medication during the procedure in order to minimise any pain or nausea. The nurse will then prepare the skin for the surgery by applying antibacterial soap and cleansers to the area to reduce the risk of any infection. 

Once this is all done, the surgery will begin. The surgeon will make an incision in your breast so that they can reach the implant. The size and location of the incision will depend on the type of breast implants you have as well as any scar tissue that may have developed although it is often made under the breast or around the nipple. Once the incision is made, the surgeon will then remove the implants. Breast implants lead to scar tissue forming and some surgeons will also remove this or some of this during the procedure. This is more time consuming and depends on your goals from the surgery. You would have already discussed these with your surgeon. The surgeon will then close the area using sutures or an adhesive. The area will then be wrapped in bandages to protect the area whilst you recover. As with many chest surgeries, you may also need a drain to allow blood and other fluids to leave the breasts and prevent swelling. Finally, you will again be given medication for pain and nausea to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible when you leave the clinic.

After Breast Implant Removal Surgery

You will then be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored for any complications. You should not experience any pain immediately after the surgery but you will begin to experience some discomfort once the anaesthetic wears off. This will often come with swelling and is completely normal. These are signs that the stitches are healing. You will be given pain medication for the first few days after the surgery to minimise any discomfort. It will then take just a few weeks for the pain to subside and for you to fully recover. Your nurse will inform you of any physical activities you can and cannot do whilst the breasts are healing as well as how to bathe safely, how to care for your incisions and what you can do to help relieve any pain. If the pain remains after several weeks it is important that you contact your surgeon.

Problems after Breast Removal Surgery

Some surgeons may be reluctant to conduct a second breast implant operation.  If the implant is removed but not replaced, it could lead to other complications. Breast asymmetry can occur and you may require further surgery to rectify this. Depending on the patient and their circumstances, breast uplift surgery might be needed. More surgery will lead to more scarring, although it should fade in time.

Be realistic in your expectations, whether you are getting implants for the first time or having them removed.


  • Great strides have been taken to ensure breast implants are as safe and durable as possible. But they won’t last forever and eventually breast implants will have to be removed. They have an expected lifespan of around ten years.
  • Breast implants may need to be removed if they have ruptured and leaked. Saline and silicone implants are both susceptible to breakage.  In the event of a saline implant rupturing, then the salt water solution will be absorbed by and flushed out of the body. Although there is no clinical evidence, some victims of botched surgery claim silicone has leaked and been the root cause of long-term health problems.
  • Scar tissue can thicken around the implant after surgery causing an uncomfortable level of firmness. This is also known as capsular contracture and can lead to the implant being removed.
  • Another complaint that can lead to the removal of implants is rippling, which can be visible if the implant is disrupted and moved out of position. Saline implants are vulnerable to this if they are not inflated properly by the surgeon.
  • Personal reasons can also be attributed for a demand in breast implant removal. Some women’s expectations have not been met by breast implants. They are frustrated by their loss of position and the breasts can take on an unusual shape and fail to replicate the natural look they were promised. If they are too big and look unnatural, or if they are too small and women want to enhance the size further, then the patient may seek another operation.
  • Recent scares about breast implant surgery causing, or at least contributing, to breast cancer, can affect peoples’ decisions. There is no scientific proof that implants can lead to breast cancer.

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Guide to Breast Implant Removal