Breast Implant Removal Recovery

Recovery? Pain? I was told by my surgeon that he could remove them under straight local. They are not ruptured. Is this true? I'm 30 years old. I had silicone 400cc breast implants placed 3 years ago. I was a fuller A cup and went up to a DD (against my wishes, I wanted a C) I'm a very active person and have hated them ever since. I do not wish to have them replaced in fear of future surgery, problems, etc. It was an unfortunate circumstance that I just want erased from my history.

Doctor Answers 28

Breast augmentation reversal is easy with local anesthesia alone.

It will take about 10 minutes to remove your old implants under local anesthesia.  It's too bad you paid for something you really didn't want.  Most patients love breast augmentation.  In spite of the money wasted, the procedure can be reversed easily.  Most of the time the breasts look very much like they did before augmentation so mastopexy is usually not necessary.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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The peer reviewed literature in plastic surgery recommends removal of the entire capsule in order to avoid problems such as infection, fluid collection, and problems with cancer detection.  Also the pocket of scar tissue does not dissolve over time (it may shrink in size but is there years after implant removal). 

Susan Kolb, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Implant Removal under Local

Yes, if all that is being done is removal of the implant, and you are willing to put up with a little pain while the local is injected, and complete awareness of everything that is happening, then it can be done under local anesthesia only. Alternatively a little bit of conscious sedation along with the local could be a more pleasant way to have this done, but might incur some additional expense and require that someone give you a ride home. Recovery is generally pretty easy, but an adjustment.

It is unforturnate that you ended up with uncomfortably large implants. We always fully engage the patient in choice of implant size, and peform a "try-on" of various implant sizes in choosing which size is appropriate. By doing this we find that patients almost never return wanting to upsize or downsize, or it they do it is often because they chose an implant that we didn't fully agree with. 

Implant Removal Can Be Done With Local Anesthesia

Yes, you can remove implants with just local anesthesia, and return to work immediately.

Expert opinion does vary on the need for removing the capsule (capsulectomy) at the time of implant removal (explantation). Capsulectomy s done to make sure the space created for the implant will seal closed after removal.  If it does not, fluid (serum) can accumulate in the space, creating breast fullness, asymmetry, and even the feeling of fluid moving in the pocket.

Capsulectomy would better be performed with sedation (or general anesthesia) for your comfort.  The use of drains for about a week is common with capsulectomy.  Your return to work depends on your surgeon's counsel in this regard.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Explantation recovery

Breast implants can be removed under local anesthesia, but in my practice, I find that patients are more comfortable with IV sedation as well. Your overall recovery should be relatively rapid, with a return to work within a week on average, and a return to normal activities within approximately one month.

Lara Devgan, MD, MPH
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews


It might be difficult to remove silicone under local.  If they were saline, the implants could be intentionally ruptured fro removal.  Either way, straight local does not seem to be the most sensible option.  Very little can be done with this technique.

Recovery Following Implant Removal

                  Occasionally women are dissatisfied with their breast implants and elect to have them removed.  In the absence of severe capsule formation this is often a relatively simple procedure.  The procedure usually involves re-opening the incision, extracting the implant and closing the wound.  This can often be accomplished with local anesthesia alone.

                  The procedure is associated with minimal pain and short recoveries.  Since the muscle is undisturbed there’s minimal amounts of pain following the procedure.  Patients usually don’t require narcotics for longer than 24 hours and are able to return to work the following day as long as no heavy lifting is involved. 

                  If you’re considering this option, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate.  This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that’s specific for your situation.  

Removing implants under local anesthesia

Saline implants with very little scar tissue around them can easily be removed under local anesthesia.  If you have minimal scar tissue around your implants, they can be removed under local anesthesia.  Under local anesthesia, your surgeon will probably not be able to reshape or lift your breasts, just remove the implants. You will probably have minimal pain with just the removal.


Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Breast Implant Removal

Although implant removal can be performed safely under local, I find that I can do a better job with sedation or anesthesia.

I find that by scoring the capsule (capsulotomy), i can get the breast tissue to lay back down on the chest wall more naturally with less possibility of creases or contour irregularity.   I also find the scoring of the capsule to help the capsule adhere to the chest wall, which decreases the chance of seroma (fluid collection) formation.

I wish you a safe recovery.

Dr. Gill

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Breast Implant Removal Under Local Anesthesia.

Although it is technically possible, it could potentially be uncomfortable.  Simply removing the implants may not give you the look that you desire, either.  You should carefully discuss this with a board certified plastic surgeon and decide what will give you an attractive appearance to your breast but meet the goals of your active lifestyle.

Dustin L. Reid, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 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.