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 44

Breast implant removal recovery

A simple explantation of an unruptured silicone implant usually has minimal pain associated with the procedure. I would expect a recovery of 2-3 days. If a capsulectomy has to be performed, then I would expect a one week recovery secondary to the bruising and swelling. I do not perform these procedure under local. I prefer a hospital setting with general anesthesia to minimize patient discomfort, muscle spasm,  and bacterial contamination.

Frisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Pain and recovery after removing implants

First, one can definitely remove implants without general anesthesia. Yes, it could be done with only "straight local", but I would say most surgeons would give some IV sedation--very light anesthesia/twighlight anesthesia--to make the procedure more comfortable. To be honest, simply injecting the anesthetic ("tumescent anesthesia") is the uncomfortable part, and is what warrants a little sedation. You definitely don't need general anesthesia (being put to sleep) for this, and I would say doing that is more risk than you need.

If you have formed capsules (scar tissue), your surgeon may want to take some extra time to remove them, to make sure you heal well, and don't form deep scars or collection of fluids. Overall, that part of the procedure depends on what the surgeon sees when they remove the implants. Still, all this can be done with very light sedation, with most of the anesthesia coming from local. 

Recovery should be pretty quick (much less than getting the implants, though still recommend special bra/wrap and modifying heavy exercise) and pain should be manageable with oral pain meds.

Overall, if you are unhappy with the augmentation, removing the implant should be an easy experience and I hope you are able to do it, and are pleased with your results. 

Barbara Persons, MD, FACS
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Implant removal under local anesthesia

Hi, thanks for your question. 
Implants can be safely removed under local anesthesia. Typically, this can be done with minimal pain, and you can return to work the next day. 

There are times when the capsule, which forms around the implant, needs to be removed. Talk to your surgeon about this. If the capsule around the implant needs to be removed, that should be done under a general anesthetic.Best wishes!Dr. BlaggAustin, TX

Ross Blagg, MD
Austin Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews


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
4.2 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Implant removal with local anesthesia

Breast implant removal under local anesthesia is a very simple procedure for the surgeon and the patient.  Virtually painless during and after.

Having had 400 cc implants for 3 years there will be stretch of the overlying tissue.  You may consider asking your plastic surgeon if you are a candidate for internally supporting and lifting the breast.  This involves suturing the implant pocket closed while lifting the nipple and breast.  This can be easily done with local anesthesia as well if you wish.

York J. Yates, MD - Utah.

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 183 reviews

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.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Breast Implant Recovery

I would say that generally most patients that have breast surgery have a fairly quick recovery.  It is not uncommon for patients to return to work in less than a week.  Most patients are not ready, however, to go back to strenuous activity at this time, return to the gym, return to heavy lifting or pushing prior to at least 4-6 weeks.  But, returning to light activities such as going back to work where you are either at a computer or working under conditions that do not require a whole lot of physical exertion, then it is feasible to return after only one week of recovery time. 

Paul Fortes, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Local anesthesia

Yes an implant could be removed under local anesthesia.  However, it would probably more comfortable to have the procedure performed under IV sedation particularly if all or part of the capsule is also going to be removed.  Sometimes a drain is also placed for a brief time after the procedure.  Please discuss these options with your plastic surgeon.  

Peter Hyans, MD
Summit Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Recovery from implant removal

If you are just having your implants removed and not the capsule then it is possible to do this with just local anesthesia.  I find that most patients are more comfortable however with some light sedation through an IV.  If any portion of the breast capsule needs to be removed then I would strongly recommend some form of sedation or general anesthesia.  Schedule a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who can really assess your situation and come up with the best plan for you to make you most comfortable.  Good luck!

Josh Waltzman, MD, MBA
Long Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 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.