3 yrs ago implants removed, how long surgery to remove the capsules? What result-like mastectomy or just less volume? (photo)

currently 34D. Had silicon smooth gel implants removed 3 yrs ago. Capsules left in and causing issues. Would prefer just capsule removal, if enough breast tissue. Is this long and / or difficult procedure? What complications if any? Recovery time?

Doctor Answers 4

Capsule removal

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Removing a capsule is often a straight forward procedure that can cause some pain post-op, but usually not too bad.  Best of luck.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Considering capsulectomies

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Removing the capsules usually takes about two hours. If the capsules are thin, the appearance of your breasts should not change--if the capsules are thick, more tissue needs to be removed and the breasts may be slightly smaller. Most common complication is collection of fluid called seroma but this can usually be prevented. You should recover within 10-14 days. Discuss in detail with in person consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.


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Total capsulectomy usually takes from two to four hours depending on the extent of the capsule.  Usually, unless the capsule is very thick, there is no difference in breast size that is significant.  Removal is advised in order to avoid future complications and recovery time is about one to two weeks with 5 to 7 days of drains.  Recovery of your health is most important and may include antifungals, immune and endocrine support, treatment of co infections and detoxification.  Many surgeons will not remove the entire capsule as it can be difficult and they do not have enough experience.

Susan Kolb, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

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3 years ago implants removed, how long surgery to remove the capsules? What result - like mastectomy or just less volume?

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Thank you for your questions and I am sorry to hear of your capsule issues.  At times retained capsules can cause problems with fluid accumulation or leaving a palpable thickness to the breast and in these cases a capsulectomy is indicated.  Based on your photograph, you should anticipate just a little less volume to each of your breasts, and though the procedure is easier when an implant is still in, it can still be done well.  You will feel much better in only a few days after surgery and complications are those of any surgery - pain, bleeding, bruising, hematoma, seroma, and infection.  Hope this helps.  

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

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