En Bloc Breast Implant Removal?

I have 18 year old breast implants placed behind the muscle wall. I want the implants removed. I do not want replacement of implants. Is the en bloc method of removal best for my case?

Doctor Answers 8

En Bloc removal

En bloc removal of the implant and scar capsule is important for older silicone implants and any textured implant that is adherent to the capsule.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Options for en bloc implant removal

En bloc removal of your breast implants may not be necessary. It would depend on what your goals are. If your implants are saline, there would not be any need to do an en bloc removal as the scar tissue/capsule around your implant will shrink and eventually be resorbed once the implant is removed. Taking the additional time to remove the capsule off the back of the muscle and the front of the ribs would needlessly add cost and prolong your recovery with no benefit.

For silicone implants it may be a different story. All silicone implants have microscopic amounts of "gel bleed" meaning microscopic amounts of silicone leak across the shell and some of this is trapped in the scar tissue/capsule surrounding the implant. Although the best studies to date do not show any problems with this, some patients wish not only the implant removed but "as much of the silicone as possible" removed.

An en bloc removal would remove both the implant and the scar tissue/capsule around it. If the silicone implant is already ruptured inside the capsule, en bloc removal would prevent spillage of the silicone during removal. Again this is not an issue with saline implants.

En Bloc Technique

The capsule is your body's response to your implants. It may contain silicone gel, silicone shell fragments, bacteria, calcification, and inflammatory cells which have been mobilized by your immune system to react to different components of the implant. Research has shown that the capsule does not disappear on its own when only the implant has been removed (See Nancy Hardt's paper in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.) In addition, if you have pain around the implants, it is usually due to the pulling effect of the scar on surrounding muscle and tissue. If you have health problems that could be from the presence of the implants, removal of the capsule is critical in improving your health. 

Lu-Jean Feng, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Breast implant removal

The en bloc method includes removing the capsule or scar tissue around the implant along with the implant.  This is not necessary in all cases.  If the capsule is thick or calcified it should be removed or if you think you have silicone toxicity.  It is more complicated to do an enbloc removal and the necessity depends on your particular situation.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Depends on the capsule thickness

Typically the surgeon should decide whether the capsule should be removed en bloc at the time of the surgery, depending on the appearance of the capsule.

En bloc removal of breast implants

En bloc removal can be an easy procedure or an exceptionally complex procedure that may make if very difficult and nearly impossible to remove the entire capsule. This is especially true where the implants have been placed under the muscle and the posterior wall is adherent and contiguous with the ribs.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Implant removal

 If after 18 years you no longer want your implants, they certainly can be removed.  En bloc removal is questionable.  Removing the implants with or without the surrounding capsule is usually recommended.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

I don't perform en bloc removal in most cases

If the implants are ruptured silicone gel, with evidence on MRI that the gel has moved beyond the capsule, then there may be a reason to do so.  My opinion is that the en bloc resection can remove too much breast tissue.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 249 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.