What can I expect for implant removal surgery? (Photos)

I have had 220cc implants for 7 years. I was a 32b and am now a 32d. They are soft and very well done, but I've decided I don't want to keep having breast surgeries and I want my small breasts back. How complicated is the explant surgery? Will I have to have drains? Will they sag or look a lot different than before?

Doctor Answers 12


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For explant surgery, it is almost always best to remove the capsule in its entirety.  This will allow the space to heal.  If you leave the capsule in place, it does not heal.  Fluid can accumulate in the space.  The situation that brings the patient to implant removal will have an affect on the decision.  This is a surgery which requires discussion with the plastic surgeon about the problem, the goals, and the technical concerns.  The body does not re-absorb the capsule.  Revision surgery requires drains because the fluid is going to be generated when you operate on the scar capsule.  If you provide a mechanism for the fluid to be removed (i.e. drains), the risks are lower.  If the fluid accumulates because there were no drains, it will most certainly cause problems in the future.

What will my breasts look like after my implants are removed?

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Thank you for your question. You have fairly small implants and it looks like your skin quality is still very good. There is no reason to suspect that you would have saggy breasts or any result that would warrant a breast lift. You may have a slight sag, but you should look pretty close to what you looked like prior to surgery. Surgeons will vary on their post operative  care instructions. I personally do not place drains unless I notice that a patient has a lot of fluid that is starting to build up prior to closure. It is best to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area that specializes in this type of procedure. I wish you the best of luck!

Amy T. Bandy, DO, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Implant removal

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Thank you for your question and photos.  If you are unhappy with your implants then you can absolutely take them out.  I use drains post operatively for a few days to prevent a seroma (fluid collection in the pocket where the implant was).  Depending on your exam some women require a lift after to reshape the breasts but it does not appear that you will need this.  Seek an expert who performs a lot of explantation surgeries.  Best of luck to you

Milind K. Ambe, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

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What can I expect from implant removal surgery?

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Thank you for sharing your question and photographs.  Based on your current breast appearance and modest implant size you will return to an appearance very nearly the same from which you started.  There will be a slight increase in the amount of sagging present but which should not require a formal lift procedure.  Hope that this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
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Removing small implants

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I think you will do well. Must again disagree with the pack and say ALWAYS repair the pec major or else you will see your muscle moving oddly forever. Also the ps can cheat the breast up and in so you don't sag... If you can imagine after removal there is a space in there, and the breast in the front hangs down. If this space is lifted to bring the breast back up it looks better. Really it's just putting back the breast from whence it came. Don't take it out under local. Can't fix a thing that way.

Lisa Cassileth, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
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What can I expect for implant removal surgery?

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Thank you for the question. Breast implant removal recovery surgery is usually almost painless and associated with a faster return to activities compared to the breast augmentation procedure.  The procedure can be done under local or general anesthesia depending on the circumstances of the specific patient.

What your breasts will look like after explantation  depends on several factors such as: the quality of skin elasticity (the better the elasticity the better the skin will bounce back),  the size of the implants used (the larger the implant the more trouble you may have with redundant skin), and the amount of breast tissue present at this time (which may have changed since the time of your breast augmentation).   Although no one can predict exactly what your breasts will look like after breast implant removal surgery, it is likely, based on all the information presented, that your breasts will look very similar to what they looked like prior to breast augmentation surgery.   Favorable factors include: your youth, size of the breast implants, and relatively short duration that they had been in place. Best wishes for an outcome that you will be very pleased with.
Best wishes.

Explant of breast implants after 7 years

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in the grand scheme of things, 220cc implants are not huge and likely your skin was not excessively stretched and your chest wall has not flattened enough to be noticeable. If the implants were placed underneath the muscle, some of your pectoralis major muscle could be permanently detached, but unless you are a yoga instructor or professional weight lifter, it should have very little bearing on your life and the way your breast look. I always leave drains for 5-7 days if no implant is being replaced. This is to prevent seroma which there is a high likelihood for if too much of the capsule is left intact. 

Lily Lee, MD
Pasadena Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Removal of implants

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Removal or explant of implants will require a breast specialist. Explant with conservative capsulectomy should be performed and drains placed for 5-7 days. Please see website Implant removal .net Best of luck

Stuart A. Linder, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Implant removal

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You will likely return to a similar look as you had prior to implants with some minor sagging.  Be patient once you have them removed as it will take some time for the breast tissue to settle into its final shape.  In general this procedure has a fairly easy recovery.

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

What can I expect for implant removal surgery?

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Based on your photos,after removal of the implants your breast shape and size should be pretty close to your preoperative state since your implants are relatively small. Wear your compression bra as recommended by your surgeon to promote healing.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 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.