Have you been considering changing or completely removing your breast implants?
Whether performed to alter the size or shape of the implants or to remove them completely, breast implant removal surgery is actually quite common.
Before we dive into the specific pros and cons of this surgery, let’s take a look at the procedure itself and why some women may choose to move forward with it.
What is breast implant removal surgery?
Breast implant removal surgery involves the removal of saline, silicone, or gummy bear implants from patients who have had breast augmentation or reconstruction surgery in the past. The implants may be removed completely or simply so that they can be swapped out for differently sized or shaped implants. Often, leaked fluid and scar tissue will be removed at the same time as the implants themselves.
What are the reasons someone might want their implants removed?
There are a number of reasons why some women consider breast implant removal. First and foremost, many patients simply want to change the size and/or shape of their breasts. They may have changed their mind about their desired silhouette, and this surgery is a first step in making those adjustments.
Alternatively, some women experience pain or discomfort with their implants over time. This may be due to a hardening effect that can sometimes happen with the scar tissue surrounding breast implants.
Finally, in rare cases a woman may have a medical problem in the implant area — perhaps an infection or in a worst-case scenario, a detection of breast cancer. In these situations, it’s important to remove the implants to make treatment easier and safer.
What are the pros and cons of breast implant removal?
Below, we’ve outlined the major pros and cons of breast implant removal surgery.
Pros of breast implant removal
- Reduced costs with no need to get MRIs
Having breast implants requires occasional MRIs to ensure the implants have not ruptured. Without the implants, the MRIs are no longer necessary.
- Reduced pain (in some cases)
In some cases, the scar tissue that builds up around breast implants can cause pain and discomfort. This is in large part due to something called capsular contractures. Furthermore, if the implants a patient has are rather large, this can cause back, neck, and check chest pain due to the excess weight as well.
- Smoother mammogram experience
In some cases, mammograms are a challenge for those with breast implants. This usually happens when implants are above the pectoral muscle, making it difficult for imaging devices like mammogram machines to see through the area.
Although mammograms can still generally be completed even when the patient has breast implants, there is a slim possibility that the results may be skewed.
Cons of breast implant removal
- The need for additional surgery
In general, both breast augmentation surgery and breast implant removal surgery are safe and common surgeries that produce positive results patients are happy with. Still, as with any type of surgery, there are always risks and the possibility of complications.
Most notably, major surgeries that require anesthesia have the potential to be associated with risks. Of course, surgery in general requires a lot of downtime, including time away from work or school and time that can’t be spent exercising, lifting anything heavy, etc.
Lastly, there is the added cost of breast implant removal surgery.
- Smaller breasts
If one of the reasons you wanted to get breast implants in the first place was to change the size and/or shape of your breasts, whatever features you initially disliked will, of course, come back. For this reason, many women who choose to move forward with breast implant removal simply change the size and/or shape of their implants and don’t get them removed completely.
- Loose skin and sagging
By taking out your implants, the skin on your breasts that had formed itself tightly around the shapes of the implants have become slightly stretched into position. Unfortunately, in most cases, that stretched skin will hold the same shape after your implant removal surgery. This will cause your breasts to appear loose and sagging because nothing will be there to fill them and make them tight and taught.
- Reduced self-confidence
One of the most amazing things about breast augmentation surgery is how it can boost a woman’s confidence overnight. For women who choose to have their breast implants completely removed and not replaced with anything else, there can be an abrupt loss of confidence. Unfortunately, this can seep into other areas of the woman’s life, including her personal relationships, career, and overall self-esteem.
- Possible loss of feeling in some areas of the breast
Most notably, you may end up losing feeling in your nipples and around the nipple area. This is due to the fact that the areola area is a common place for incisions during both breast augmentation surgery (during the insertion of the implants) and breast implant removal surgery. Loss of feeling and overall sensation can be a symptom of consistent incisions in this area as the extremely small nerves are sometimes cut.
- Additional scarring
Although most breast augmentation surgeries result in only slightly noticeable, generally discrete scars, it is true that if you also choose to get breast implant removal surgery, you’ll need additional incisions, which will result in additional scars.
Schedule a consultation appointment for breast implant removal surgery
As you can see, breast implant removal surgery may not be for everyone, but it can certainly help some patients. If you are interested in breast implant removal or breast reconstruction surgery, Dr. Sieber can help.
Dr. Sieber is a specialist in the areas of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery of the breast, face, and body. He is one of the only double board-certified surgeons in the San Francisco Bay area with unique specialized training in his areas of expertise.
For more information about breast implant removal surgery or breast reconstruction surgery, contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Sieber.