Over the years, breast augmentation has grown to become a very common and popular procedure among women all over the world. It has given many females a boost of confidence in their appearance and changed their lives for the better. While breast augmentation may seem like the “go to” augmentation choice for many patients, there are also times where breast implant removal is a much needed option.
While breast implants are not necessarily known to expire, they are not guaranteed to last a lifetime. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons actually suggests that they be exchanged or removed completely every 10 to 15 years. The removal of breast implants often comes with some caution due to the possibility of capsular contracture. This condition is when scar tissue hardens around the implants and causes changes to the appearance of the implants as well as pain and discomfort to the patient. However, this is not the only reason for breast implant removal. Other complications of breast implants that would require their removal include breast implant leaks, calcium build-up or necrosis AKA tissue death. On the other hand, there are instances where the breasts have changed over time due to the aging process, pregnancy, breastfeeding or the simple fact that they are no longer wanted by the patient.
The breast implant removal process starts with a consultation appointment. This is where you meet with a doctor, typically a plastic surgeon, and have the chance to discuss why you want to have the breast implants removed. The surgeon will get a sense of your goals and will discuss your options to decide whether removal or replacement is the best choice. The consultation should be as informative as possible because you will need to understand important information about the surgery itself, the recovery period and any possible complications that may arise during, or after, the procedure. The surgeon would also need to know your expectations in order to explain if these are achievable. If they are not easily achievable, the doctor should discuss what you can expect your results to look like once you have fully recovered from the procedure. During the consultation appointment, you can also expect to have your breasts examined and have photos of the breasts taken by the doctor
Your surgeon will give you pre-operative instructions that will include information on how to prepare for your procedure including what you should or should not wear on the day of surgery. Breast implant removal surgery is performed under general anesthesia so you will be asleep and unconscious during the procedure. Therefore, you will not feel any pain while the surgeons are removing the implants. The medical team prepares the surgical areas by cleansing the skin to reduce the risk of infection prior to the surgeon making any incisions.
The location of the incision will depend on where or how the implants were placed. Most surgeons make the incisions either under the breast or around the areola. From there, some surgeons will remove the implants along with any scar tissue (or tissue capsule) that has formed around the implants while others elect to leave the tissue and remove only the breast implants. Once the surgeon is done removing the implants, the incision will be closed with a glue-like adhesive or sutures before bandages are applied to the treated areas.
After the surgery, a nurse will monitor and check on you, ask about your pain level and look for any signs of potential complications. Your surgeon will determine when it is safe for you to go home. It is recommended that you have someone pick you up from the surgical center and drive you home. Expect to be given post-operative instructions from your nurse or healthcare provider about how to manage your self-care during the recovery process. Post-operative instructions normally include any physical restrictions, how to care for your incision sites, pain management tips and when you can resume your normal activities. It is important to follow these instructions during your recovery to help reduce the possibility of complications or infections.
Pain, discomfort and swelling are normal after the surgery. However look for swelling that doesn’t go away or increased pain levels. Any unusual symptoms can be a sign for complications that include an infection, nerve damage, an allergic reaction and scarring.
The cost of a breast implant removal procedure can range from $2600 to $5500 depending on the surgeon. Anesthesia and facility fees should be considered as they are typically charged separately from fees on the part of the surgeon.
It is imperative that you do your research to not only find a doctor that you believe is capable of delivering your desired results but also one that is cost-effective for your budget. Unlike breast enhancement surgeries, there is a chance that your insurance can cover some or all of the removal cost especially if it is deemed to be medically necessary.