Confused About Implant Capsule Removal

I've had my implants for 8 years and would like them removed. I have no trouble, but my aunt just found out she had breast cancer, and has gone through surgery and receiving radiation treatment. I just want them out to better monitor my health in the future. I am confused about the removal of the capsule. My doctor said he would leave them in since it's too difficult to remove them all. He said, it would not show or hardly show in X-rays and would heal (disappear)? Please explain this to me. I'm supposed to face breast implant removal surgery next week. Thank you so much in advance.

Doctor Answers (8)

Breast implant explantation (removal) and managment of the capsule


Breast implants can certainly be removed(explantation) under local anesthesia.

In regards to the capsule:

1. There is some controversy among surgeons if this should be removed and this is difficult to perform under local.
2. Over the muscle capsules are easier to remove than under the muscle capsules
3. With saline implants in which there is minimal capsule, i have left in place.
4.With saline implants that have a severe, thickened or infected capsule, I will attempt to remove all or significant portions of the capsule
5.In instances incwhich there may be concern about pathology such as Atypcial Lymphoma, I will remove signficant portions of the capsule
6.With intact silicone implants of relatively short term duration (,<5 years) I will leave these in place
7.Wtih silicone implants of long term duration with thickened capsules I will attempt removal of the capsules
8.In ruptured intracapsular silicone implants, I will attempt en bloc resection.
9.In ruptured extracapsular silicone implants, I will attempt en bloc resection in combination with involved tissues

Web reference:

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Should Breast Implant Capsules be Removed?


Unless calcified, the breast implant capsule will be absorbed over time so there is no reason to attempt to excise it.

Also, capsule excision has the potential complications of bleeding and possible damage to structures adherent to the breast implant capsule.

New York Plastic Surgeon

Capsulectomy during breast implant removal


It is possible to completely remove the capsule during breast implant removal. If you are having difficulty or thickness with the capsule this technique may be recommended. However if the capsule is soft and is not affecting adjacent structures, the capsule may be left in place.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Implants and removal


Very often, the implant capsule does not have to be removed. If it is hard and calcified, then it is best to remove it as best as possible.  If the capsule is soft, then it usually  is left and eventually remodels.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Many times the capsule does not need to be removed


If your implants don't have a hard capsular contracture around them and if you don't have leaking old silicone gel implants and if your implants are below the muscle, it would be fine to just remove the implants and leave the scar capsules alone.  They shouldn't delay the detection of breast cancer. 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

No need to remove the capsule.


The capsule that forms around your implants forms in response to a foreign body (the breast implant). Therefore, by removing the implant, the capsule will eventually go away too! It becomes very vascular with a robust blood supply and can bleed a lot during removal. Therefore, it is best not to mess with it during removal if not necessary. I agree with your surgeon here.

Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Capsule removed if you have pain, breast distortion, etc.


The capsule around the implant needs to be removed only if it very thick and contracted to the point of creating pain,distortion of breast tissue. If you have a soft breast ,most likely you do not need capsule removal.

Web reference:

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Breast Capsule Removal with Removal of Implants


The breast capsule is highly vascularized and can be left in place or removed during your surgery to remove your breast implants. Removal of the capsule is straightforward with minimal risk aside from bleeding which can be controlled intraoperatively.

Deciding on whether to remove the capsule depends on the thickness of the overlying breast parenchyma. Usually, the anterior capsule is removed while the posterior capsule is left intact.

Leaving the capsule in place risks seroma development.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

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