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 21

Scar Issue

At 5 weeks things will continue to change. Depending on how much scar was present during surgery, and how much was removed, there may be a lot of changes that occur over 6 months.  Massage the site and reevaluate at a later date.  Always stay in contact with your plastic surgeon to discuss further options.  Best of luck!

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.

Susan Kolb, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 23 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 53 reviews

Crease and flexing problems after explant

Sounds to me like your plastic surgeon didn't repair your pectoral muscle, which is lifted off the rib when submuscular implants are placed. Sadly, this is pretty much the norm, and many of explanted  submuscular patients end up with this problem. The inframammary crease, especially near the cleavage, is distorted; and the pec muscle causes the breast to move oddly. The solution is to fix the pectoral muscle, which is usually fairly straightforward. Best to have this done at the time of explant.

Lisa Cassileth, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Shape distortion when flexing muscles after explant.

I take it your implants were under the muscles.  The bottom edge of the pectorals muscle, which was over the implants, will often migrate upwards over time when the implants were in their pockets.  If that happened in your case and the muscle edges were not brought back down to the internal breast fold level, or couldn't be brought back down, then contracting these muscles could cause what you are seeing.  You might want to try aggressively stretching your pectoral muscles to see if this helps.  A simple technique is to stand in a doorway with your forearms against the door frame in the "touchdown" position....and lean forward into the doorway.  You should feel a pulling sensation in the front of your chest that goes up to you shoulders.  You can also try lying on a bench with a weight in each hand.  Don't do "butterflies" to strengthen but instead let your straight arms fall towards the floor.  Again, you should feel a stretch across your chest and front of your shoulders.

Myles Goldflies, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 11 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.

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 Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 67 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
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Be patient

This soon after surgery the only thing that is certain is that things will continue to change for about six months.  Be patient and see how you heal before starting to worry.

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.

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.