Implant removal – who, what, when, where, why?
10 Feb 2020

Implant removal – who, what, when, where, why?

Implant removal is a great option for many patients and is one of our favorite procedures. Recently, we have been contacted about concerns in the media regarding breast implant safety, recalls, breast implant illness, and possible related cancers. I’d like to break down these topics for patients who are questioning removal of their current breast implants.

WHO should remove their implants?
Most patients who choose breast implant removal simply feel too big or may dislike their implants for other reasons. I cannot stress enough how straight forward and satisfying it is to remove implants that are either uncomfortable or do not feel flattering in the way that was originally intended. Fears that the breast tissue will be unsightly after removal is simply not true. Removal of implants is a very good way to touch base with your current breast shape and size, and simply to see how you feel without them. Removing breast implants will help you determine whether new implants or additional breast surgery is something you would like to consider in the future. If you have heard about women who say their implants made them feel sick and you question whether this may be the case for you, removal is a straight forward way to find out. Because none of the current scientific research has found a link between illness and breast implants, I, unfortunately, can’t help patients answer this question. I can only offer safe removal if this is what they choose. If you have a textured implant you do not necessarily need removal, just more information on how to monitor your implant safety.

WHAT is implant removal?
Implant removal can be done in many different ways. En bloc removal is a cancer operation and is indicated for the very rare diagnosed cases of BIA-ALCL. Capsulectomy is a procedure where the entire capsule is removed and is for patients with thick hard scar tissue and for ruptured silicone implants. In office implant removal is for patients who simply do not like their implants and want to let their tissues heal before considering further surgery, such as a lift or exchange of implants. This represents the vast majority of patients who contact our office.

WHEN should I remove my implants?
I do not agree that implants should be routinely removed. We know that the chances of rupture increase dramatically after 10 years, so if you haven’t been checked, make an appointment with your surgeon. If you have a known ruptured implant, or a textured implant with a new swelling, you should not delay being seen. If you don’t like your breast size and shape or if you don’t like the way your implants feel, you may want to consider removal before you make any further decisions.

WHERE should I have my implants removed?
If you do not have the rare BIA-ALCL fluid collection, a rupture, or thickened hard scar tissue, having your implants removed as an office procedure is an option. This means you will be awake and will not undergo general anesthesia. For many patients, this is a more comfortable and cost-saving option.

WHY were some breast implants recalled?
Allergan textured implants were recalled due to a rare association with a type of cancer cell. If you have a textured implant, you have a very small chance of developing a fluid collection. 90% of these late fluid collections are normal, but 10% might have the beginnings of a type of tumor cell growing in the scar around the implant, called BIA-ALCL. The good news is that this can be tested first, then treated simply by en bloc removal of the scar tissue. Over 99% of my existing patients have smooth implants and the few with textured have been contacted by my office.

If you have any questions, please email us or call 801.278.9062!