Breast Implant Removal Complications

I was explanted 5 weeks ago. My crease line incisions along with some of my cleavage muscle tends to push in (cleavage line) and pull up (incision) distorting my breasts when flexed. My doctor told me to massage since I have lots of scar tissue with my incisions. He also said my muscles looked good. Is this something that will heal with time?

Doctor Answers 14

Muscle distortion

In order to avoid deformities like this, it is important to remove the entire capsule as well as repair the chest wall muscle that may have been divided either during the implant placement or the explantation.  Total capsule removal will also help to avoid complications such as infection, fluid collection, and problems with cancer detection according to the plastic surgery peer reviewed literature.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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Breast implant removal: Distortion of skin with movement of muscle

Breasts often don't look pretty when implants are removed.  You know this can be an issue. What you are describing is when the muscle adheres to the skin.  Your surgery is still new (I know a few weeks seems like an older surgery to you, but in healing terms, it is isn't.)  I think your doctor's advice to massage is a great one.

There is no way to heal without scar forming between your skin and muscle.  Usually this does so in a nice way.  If it doesn't, it may cause distortion. When the scar is new and tight, it can tether it and cause weird movements.  If the scar stretches, then the tether won't pull on it as much anymore and it will improve. 

There is no guarantee it will, but time and massaging it will help.  Worst case scenario (sorry, but to be blunt): if it tethers and does not improve, you may be able to help it with surgery to release the scar.

SO, in summary: Give it time and massage.  Reevaluate at 6 months.  If still bad, a surgery may be able to help release it.

Lauren Greenberg, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Breast Implant Removal

Thank you for the question.

It sounds like you're experiencing some early scar tissue adherence issues. I agree with the recommendations at your surgeon has provided. Hopefully with ongoing time  and scar maturation these issues will improve.

Best wishes.

Distortion with muscle movement

Soemtimes the gland adheres to the undelrying pec muscle in a peculiar way and causes unsuual contraction deformities. This may be treated with alloderm or fat grafting.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Breast distortion with muscle contraction

I would continue the exercise and massage as instructed, In most instances, I have seen this distortion resolve with time and scar matureation.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Massage can help improve the shape and appearance of scars

Quite often, post operative swelling and "sticky" tissues can create temporary distortion of shape and contour. Massage is a very effective way to "break up" sticky tissue also called adhesions. Massage can also improve the thickness and retraction caused by scarring. As always, you should consult your surgeon before beginning any post operative treatments.

Dev Wali, MD
Claremont Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Explantation requires a massive body image readjustment

The appearance of your breasts, after explantation depends on many factors, including the volume of the implants, the time they were present, the plane in which they resided, the thickness of your overlying breast tissue are just a few to mention. In choosing explantation, you must have considered the options carefully. Please continue to work with your PS and be patient. The results can take up to a year to realize. I typically recommend both massage to assist in scar remodeling as well as compression bras, to facilitate skin shrinkage. Good luck.

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Distortion of the Breast Following Implant Removal Can Occur

Distortion of the breast can occasionally occur following breast implant removal when significant capsules are present.  Under these circumstances the capsule remains attached to the overlying muscles.  Contraction of these muscles causes the inward pull along the sternum and the upward pull along the inframammary fold that you describe.

This usually improves with the passage of time and massage of the area.  In some cases secondary surgery may be indicated to remove the capsular remnant and associated scar tissue.  Most surgeons agree that this should be delayed for at least six months to allow adequate time for conservative treatment to work.

If you’re having breast distortion following breast implant removal, consultation with your surgeon is appropriate.  Your surgeon should be able to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Breast distortion after implant removal

This sounds like some early scarring to me.  Your breast tissue and/or skin is adhering to the underlying muscle.  I think your doctor is giving you some good advice to massage.  Try massaging the area while your skin is soaped up the shower.  The scar tissue will soften over several months and your problem may resolve.  Stay is touch with your surgeon and if you still have distortion after 4 -5 months, you may need to have the scar released surgically. 


Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D.

Lisa L. Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Deformity and Irregularities after Breast Implant Removal

After breast implant removal some swelling and irregularities can be expected, particularly if your breast implant removal was needed due to infection

Regardless, these problems settle down over time, and can be hastened by gentle massage.

If large implants were removed then you may have sagging of your breasts and depending upon the amount of natural breast tissues present, you may need a mastopexy, or breast lift with or with out smaller implants depending on what size breasts you desire.

Extensive discussions with your plastic surgeon is necessary.

Fredrick A. Valauri, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

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.