What is breast implant removal?

Breast implant removal is a surgical procedure that reverses the breast augmentation, replaces or revises the shape or size of the breast implant or simply removes the breast implants.

Most women who have breast implants will eventually need a breast implant revision procedure. This most commonly removes the implants and replaces them with new implants, although it can also be a repositioning of existing implants, or removal without replacement.

Some women also opt for breast implant removal as a personal choice. If a patient has had complications of breast implants, their surgeons may occasionally recommend removal of the implants without immediate replacement, especially if infection is present, suspected to be present, or there is a persistent capsular contracture.

Breast implant removal surgery is necessary if the breast implant has ruptured, capsular calcifications or capsular contracture have occurred or if the woman has breast cancer. Other reasons breast implants need to be removed include:

  • Infection and/or bleeding
  • A build of calcium
  • Necrosis or the development of dead tissues around the breast implant

Who is breast implant removal surgery for?

There are many reasons why women may need breast implant removal surgery including. Some of the more common reasons include:

  1. Personal choice: Some women may feel their breast implants are the wrong shape or size. Over time they may have moved into the wrong position because of weight loss, weight gain or pregnancies.
  2. Implant complications: Breast implant complications include implant rupture, folding or deflation (if the breast implant is filled with saline).
  3. Other complications: Capsular contracture, tension bands asymmetry, displacement, infection and leakage of silicone.

What happens during a breast implant removal procedure?

Before the breast implant removal surgery, you will be given a general anaesthesia. Breast implant removal surgery typically takes between 1 to 3 hours. The length of time is dependent on the technique your Cosmetic Surgeon uses. While some patients choose to stay overnight in hospital, others choose to go home on the same day as their surgery.

The 3 most common breast implant removal surgery techniques include:

  • Breast implant removal only
  • Breast implant removal with breast lift
  • Deflation

1 Breast implant removal only

Your Cosmetic Surgeon will usually make the incisions at the same place as where the breast augmentation was performed. If you are suffering from capsular contracture, they will remove the hardened capsules to accelerate the healing process.

2 Breast implant removal with breast lift

If your breast skin has sagged or been stretched, your Cosmetic Surgeon can perform a breast lift at the same time. This involves removing excess breast skin and tightening the breast tissue to provide better support. If required, your Cosmetic Surgeon may also re-size your areolas https://cosmeticjourney.com/procedures/details/nipple-surgery/ to better fit your breasts new shape.

3 Deflation

If your breast implants are saline, your Cosmetic Surgeon may choose to deflate them without undergoing surgery. The breast implant’s bag is generally safe to leave in place as your body naturally absorbs the saline. This can occurs in their office under local anaesthesia. Depending on the results of this you may need to have further surgery including a breast lift or breast implant replacement surgery.

What is recovery like after breast implant removal surgery?

While recovery from breast implant surgery will vary from person to person, most Cosmetic Surgeons agree that recovery after this surgery is usually easier than the initial breast augmentation surgery. If you have undergone a breast lift after the breast implant removal, your breasts will feel heavy and tight for a few weeks. Most women report minimal discomfort after breast lift surgery and are able to return to work in about five days. If you have had the breast implants removed due to capsular contracture, you will experience more discomfort with usual recovery time of about 7 days.

While your breast implant removal scars typically heal very well and are often inconspicuous, they will heal in stages. This process can take 3 to 4 months, with many patients reporting that while their scars fade, they never disappear entirely.

To reduce any pain after the surgery, you will need to take medication. Your Cosmetic Surgeon will usually recommend that you avoid exercising or lifting anything over 5 kilograms for the first 6 weeks after your surgery. While you will be usually be able to resume normal activity after 6 weeks, it is important to note that your breasts will take several months to settle into their new position.

It is very important to follow the instructions your Cosmetic Surgeon gives you including:

  • Wearing compression garments
  • Taking pain medication and
  • Avoiding certain activities.

Key facts about breast implant removal

  • Breast implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime. This means that future surgeries will probably be required to replace or remove one or both implants through a revision procedure.
  • Breast implant removal surgery can address a variety of concerns, capsular contracture, implant malfunction, and dissatisfaction with breast size. If a woman chooses not to replace the breast implants, a breast lift may required to address the skin that has been stretched.
  • In some cases, a breast implant removal procedure can be more complicated than a breast implant replacement. Breast implant removal is more prone to infection and bleeding.
  • Patients report that breast implant removal is more comfortable than the breast augmentation surgery.
  • It is usual to experience discomfort and soreness after the breast implant procedure. Your Cosmetic Surgeon will advise how much time you will need to take off work and your daily activities.

What are the risks or complications with breast implant removal surgery?

It’s important to note that any surgical operation brings complications of anaesthesia. Your anaesthetist will outline the possible complications of having an anaesthetic.

General complications of every surgery include:

  • Blood clot in your leg (deep-vein thrombosis – DVT). This can cause pain, swelling or redness in your leg, or the veins near the surface of your leg to appear larger than normal. Your healthcare team will assess your risk. They will encourage you to get out of bed soon after the operation and may give you injections, medication, or special stockings to wear. Let the healthcare team know straightaway if you think you might have a DVT.
  • Blood clot in your lung (pulmonary embolus). If a blood clot moves through your bloodstream to your lungs. If you become short of breath, feel pain in your chest or upper back, or if you cough up blood, let the healthcare team know straightaway. If you are at home, call an ambulance or go immediately to your nearest Emergency department.

What are the specific risks and complications of breast implant removal surgery?

When a highly experienced and trained Cosmetic Surgeon performs breast implant removal surgery, the risks and complications will be minimal. However, it is important to note that risks and complications can include:

  • Breast sensation becoming less sensitive which may last up to 6 months
  • Numbness of the breast area
  • Breast deformity or sagging of the breast area
  • Development of thick, red, and painful scars which may last for a few years

What results can you expect from breast implant removal surgery?

Once the breast implants have been removed, your breasts will initially look deflated, with a slightly ‘caved-in’. It is important to note that it can take 2 to 3 weeks for the breasts to regain their volume.

You will not have a ‘caved-in’ appearance if you have undergone a breast lift after the breast implants have been removed. In this instance, immediately after the surgery your breasts will be perkier and higher, however the swelling can take several months to fully resolve. It is important to note that while your scars will fade and heal over time, they will never fully disappear.

After you have had your breast implants removed, your breasts will not look the same as before you had breast implant surgery. This result is because the weight of the breast implants stretches the tissue and causes changes in the rib area.

To get a more accurate idea of the kind of results you can expect, it is a good idea to ask your Cosmetic Surgeon for before and after photos.

How to find the best Australian breast implant removal Cosmetic Surgeons

Breast implant removal surgery is a major cosmetic procedure. It is important to consult with several Cosmetic Surgeons and choose one who has performed this surgery regularly. While breast implant removal surgery is usually effective and safe, it is important to note that there are risks and complications associated with it. You can find the best Australian Breast Implant Removal Cosmetic Surgeons here.

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Mr Mark Hanikeri

Mark Hanikeri

6 Reviews

Plastic Surgeon
Western Australia, Australia

Ariste Crews1 March 14th, 2017

I had Breast Implants for many years and last year it was found that they had ruptured. I was given some names of Plastic Surgeons which I checked out on line. I decided on Mr Mark Hanikeri and I am so over the moon that I did. He is professional, compassionate and caring. Mark and I had an in-depth discussion covering the operation, replacement implants and after care requirements. Bethesda Hospital was great. I am so happy with the result. Mark is my choice for any future plastic surgery
 Shagun Aggarwal

Shagun Aggarwal

4 Reviews

Plastic Surgeon
New South Wales, Australia

Bev Young May 2nd, 2017

I had implants which had been in situ for 35 years. I had gained weight and my breasts had become very uncomfortable ie should problems back aches etc. I attended Dr Shagun Aggarwal's rooms and from the first contact I knew he was the man to perform my reduction. He was a quiet intelligent man who went through every nuance that I could expect from the prodcedure. I had the surgery and stayed in hospital the required time. Dr Aggarwal saw me regularly. I am over the moon with the result. I fell lighter and more able to enjoy life now although I know that might sound silly but my heavy breasts had caused more than just a physical impediment in my life. It was a huge mental burden lifted for me. I am forever grateful to Dr Aggarwal and would recommend him to any woman who needs assistance with any cosmetic procedure.


Ask our surgeon community a question

Mellycarty15 27/05/2017 NSW

Draining a saline implant

Hi, I have a collapsed left saline breast implant, I can't afford to get them replaced. I'd like to get my right implant drained to at least have a bit of symmetry back & a lovely surgeon suggested I could have this done & then go on a public hospital waiting ...read more

Mellycarty15 16/05/2017 QLD

Costs for getting breast implants removed

Hi, my left saline implant seems to have ruptured. I live in northern Nsw but closer to the Gold Coast or Brisbane. I don't have private cover. Is there any way I can get this done in a public hospital? I can't afford to get the implants replaced unless I coul...read more