Does Breast Implant Removal Require Breast Lift Surgery?

i want to remove my breast implants. too big. if i do this will i most likely need a breast lift? is my skin stretched permanently as a result of implants?

Doctor Answers 46

Does Breast Implant Removal require a Breast lift?

Depending upon the size of the breast implant removed and the amount of your natural breast tissue, you may or may not need a breast lift or mastopexy.

A thorough discussion with your plastic surgeon is necessary to understand your treatment alternatives, their risks and advantages.

New York Plastic Surgeon

Lift After Explantation

Sagging is possible, not definite, after removing implants.

The important considerations include:

  • the degree of sagging you had before implantation
  • the degree of sagging you have before explantation
  • the size of your implants
  • how your skin has changed with aging
  • your skin elasticity
    • the ability of your skin to maintain tone after the implants are removed

Sometimes the answer is obvious to the plastic surgeon; other times, even the most experienced plastic surgeon can't be certain.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Most likely you will need some type of breast lift after removing breast implants

depending on the size of your breast implant as compaired to the size of your native breast, usually it is necessary to perform a breast lift or mastopexy in order to prevent sagging of the breasts. In order to prevent loss of breast projection, it is a good idea to replace the implant with a smaller one and perform a breast lift.

S. Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

It all depends.

This is a very common question. It really depends on your breast, size of the implant and how long it has been there. The larger the implant and longer it has been in place, the more likely you would need some type of lift. If you began with minimal breast tissue, removing your implants and not replacing it with something smaller (to shape the breast) can give you a very deflatted appearence. The best thing is for you to be examined and have your surgeon review your old records to see your implant size. If it is a different surgeon, photos of your breasts before the original surgery can be helpful.

Scott R. Brundage, MD
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Implants can be removed without need for a breast lift

The need for breast lift after removal of breast implant depends on the following

  • The Nipple distance from the sternum
  • The position of the nipple in relation to the implant
  • The number or severity of stretchmarks
  • The length of time the implant have been there
  • and The quality and resiliency of the skin

You may be able to have the implant removed without needing to have a breast lift done. Without examination and pictures, it is impossible to guess...

Hope this helps.

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 172 reviews

Breast implant removal may not require a breast lift

You will not necessarily need a breast lift after implant removal. The skin has some intrinsic elasticity that will allow it to contract after the weight of the implants are removed. If you were not droopy prior to your breast augmentation and your skin has good elasticity, you have a good chance of not needing a breast lift. I recommend waiting up to a year after implant removal to see whether or not you want or need a breast lift. Your doctor can give you a better idea after he sees you.

Randy J. Buckspan, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Breast implant removal doesn't always result in need for a breast lift.

Removal of implants for aesthetic dissatisfaction is decidedly uncommon in my practice.  Usually, the women have gained weight and their breasts have grown larger.  Removal of the implant restores the size they originally wanted.  Occasionally a life is aesthetically beneficial but it certainly is not necessary.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Have them deflated and find out

I won't elaborate on the several other answers that were provided, as they are all accurate and sound advice. A consult with a board certified plastic surgeon may answer your question outright. However, if there is still any question after you have the consultation I will offer you a possible way to find out if you will need a lift after implant removal. The method will ONLY work if you have purely saline implants. If this is the case, then you can speak to your board certified plastic surgeon to request that he/she deflate one or both of the implants. The deflated implant(s) may be left in place for a few months to see how your breast(s) and skin respond to the loss of volume. After that time your plastic surgeon will have a better idea of your tissue characteristics and will be better able to guide you in your decision for either implant replacement alone, lift alone, a combination of both or simply removal of the implants.

Down-sizing breast implants may be an option but you still may need a lift

It depends on how large of an implant was used and how stretched the skin-soft tissue envelope is. If you feel the implants are too big for have several options.

If you still want some degree of added fullness (more than before breast augmentation) than some degree of "down- sizing" of the implants would be recommended. Sometimes this will necessitate a breast lift (mastopexy) and other times it may not. It really depends on how much if any residual soft tissue laxity remains after changing to a smaller implant after a period of time for healing. Some patients may "meet criteria" for a breast lift (mastopexy) but are really happy with the breast appearance even with a small degree of laxity and leave the breasts just as they are.

If you are tentative about a breast-lift then I would simply do the down-sizing first and let everything "settle". After 6 months you can decide if you think you need a lift. If the breast is still droopy and the nipple position is low, then the liklihood is that you would need and probably want to have a breast lift.

If you know that you absolutely don't want implants any more then I would recommend simply to have them removed and wait and let everything heal; however, it is important to realize that if you decide on removal rather than are more likely to need a breast lift in time.

Good Luck

James F. Boynton MD FACS

Bottom line: maybe, maybe not, but be prepared for a lift if it is needed.

It all depends…………..
If you are unhappy with the size of your breast implants, having them replaced with smaller implants can be a very good option. Whether or not a breast lift will be needed is different from one situation to another. It all depends upon a number of questions:
  • Is there skin laxity currently?
  • How is your skin and tissue elasticity?
  • How much are you decreasing the size of your implants?
  • How long have you had your implants?
  • Have you been pregnant since you have had your implants?
  • And, were larger implants placed in the hopes of avoiding a breast lift in the first place? If the answer to the last question is yes, prepare yourself for a breast lift. You probably needed it in the first place.

How implants will affect the breast and overlying tissue over time is very variable. If the tissues have thinned out, and the skin has lost a lot of elasticity (due to time, weight loss, pregnancy, or the weight of the current implants) then a lift is likely to be needed. If on the other hand, tissue elasticity is good and the size difference in the implants is not huge, you may get by without a lift. But if the skin is already stretched out, it is unlikely to change with downsizing of the implants.

Talking with a board certified plastic surgeon who has a lot of experience with breast surgery, and who has dealt with this issue before, is your best bet. Ask specific questions about how things will look, where scars will be, and what size implants are recommended. It is helpful if you have your doctor’s notes from the previous surgery. Listen carefully to what your surgeon tells you. Make sure you understand what you are being told, and make sure it makes sense to you.

Bottom line: maybe, maybe not, but be prepared for a lift if it is needed. A better shape usually trumps longer scars.

David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 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.