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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Dr. Craig Rubinstein

Craig Rubinstein

76 Reviews

Plastic Surgeon
Victoria, Australia

Kathryn September 1st, 2015

Nine years ago I had breast augmentation. I had 300cc implants placed sub-pectoral. Within 7 years, a rupture occurred in one implant. My original surgeon replaced both implants. Within two years of the revision surgery another rupture occurred. Although, apprehensive about my decision, I decided I wanted them removed without replacement. My plastic surgeon that I had complete trust and confidence in now concentrated only on facial surgery and no longer worked in the area of breast surgery. He spoke to a colleague, whom he held in high esteem, for advice on my situation. This colleague was Dr Craig Rubinstein, who so kindly offered to take me on as his patient. As my original surgeon was very well renowned in the area of plastic surgery, I knew, whoever he recommended would be an excellent surgeon and I would be in good hands. The moment I met Dr Rubinstein, I immediately felt at ease. He is so welcoming, warm and friendly. His calming disposition and patience removed all my anxiety. As I was apprehensive about my decision, he discussed my options in clear detail. He also took the time to ring me and go through anything I was unsure of. He is a great listener with loads of patience and such a caring attitude. I was nervous the morning of my surgery but the minute I saw him, his compassion, warmth and kindness shone through, and once again made me feel relaxed and confident in my decision. What a nice gesture to awake after surgery to find a beautiful gift of toiletries. Although extremely anxious about my choice of having implants removed without replacement, I am now elated. A difficult decision and not the choice for everyone, but the right decision for me. Aesthetically, I had envisaged the outcome would not be great, however I am REALLY happy with the results. I love having the “weight off my chest “ and being able to sleep on my stomach again. My implants had looked so natural but I am now so happy to be back to my natural self. If you are hesitant about removal, don’t be. Not only does Dr Rubinstein have the most caring bedside manner, he is an amazing surgeon. He did an exceptional job on my breasts and pain was minimal. I cannot end this without mentioning the terrific staff Dr Rubinstein has on his team. The moment you walk into his rooms you are greeted with a smile. I received wonderful care and attention from his nurses, Kate and Hannah. On my post operative visit I felt so welcomed by everyone and was again pleasantly surprised with a beautiful package of gifts. After being so fortunate to have Dr Rubinstein perform my surgery, the upsetting news of a second rupture actually turned into a positive experience with great results. If you are looking for an exceptional, skilled surgeon with compassion, warmth and genuine care for his patients look no further. Dr Rubinstein and his team are wonderful.


Ask our surgeon community a question

Anonymous 19/09/2018 Australia

Do I need a lift?

I'm planning to remove my 345-375cc silicone subglandular implants. Do I need a lift or could I still have a good result without one?

Anonymous 24/07/2018 Australia

Are my goal breasts realistic and attainable?

I'm having my 6 year old subglandular implants removed with a lift and wanted to know if my goal breasts are a realistic expectation? Could mine look like that or similar? I don't want my areolas reduced, I know they will shrink after I finish breastfeeding be...read more