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 47

Breast implant removal recovery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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.

Pain and recovery after removing implants

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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. 


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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). 

Implant Removal Can Be Done With Local Anesthesia

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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.

Recovery after breast implant removal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi - there are factors involved in properly removing breast implants that makes me skeptical it could be successfully performed under straight local.  If your implants are "under the muscle," after the implant itself is removed, the capsule (the thin lining of scar tissue formed around any foreign body) has to be removed in order for the muscle to adhere to your chest again.  That muscle has to be sewn down- not a comfortable procedure under local, and furthermore, I like to have the patients paralyzed so I can safely and thoroughly remove the capsule without the muscle's being stimulated by the electrocautery. 

Another thing to consider is if your tissue has thinned since your augmentation such that removal of the implant without any further procedure will leave you with pancake-like breasts.  You're young, which is in your favor for your skin's contracting nicely, but it's hardly a guarantee.  These are all things you should discuss with your surgeon - where your implant was placed, ensuring the capsule will be removed as well (otherwise it's two slick surfaces that will never adhere, which is a situation where fluid is likely to accumulate,) and asking whether you may need additional procedures to look good. Best of luck to you!

Implant removal under local anesthesia

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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

Implant removal with local anesthesia

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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 185 reviews

Recovery after Breast Implant Removal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi there,

Recovery after breast implant removal will depend on a variety of factors including magnitude of the actual surgical procedure as well as the background patient's health status and tolerance to anaesthesia and surgical operations. Recovery can obviously be more prolonged especially when a capsulectomy is indicated or in situations where a replacement of implant is desired or a concurrent breast lift is required.

Although a "straight" explantation without any of the above additional surgical manoeuvres is relatively uncomplicated, it is always wise to be prepared for the "unexpected" where a general anaesthesia will be necessary to enable a safe and secure operative environment for an optimal surgical outcome. While it could be influenced by both surgeon's & patient's preferences, a "quick" general anaesthesia is usually very safe and a small "price" to pay for ensuring a proper revisional procedure is performed under ideal conditions.

Depending on individual patients' circumstances, a "straight" uncomplicated breast explantation can easily be performed as a day procedure with relatively minimal down time from the actual surgery. However, depending on the context of associated indications and motivations for the surgery, there may be psychological sequelae in adapting to your new self without the breast implants in the acute recovery period. 

Hope that helps.

Best wishes 

Ellis Choy

Implant Removal

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

A straightforward implant removal of an intact breast implant can be done with just local anesthesia. If a capsulectomy (removal of the scar tissue capsule) is necessary then this would be more difficult under local only and a general or twilight anesthesia would be recommended. 

Breast Implant Recovery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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. 

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.