I need an explant/capsulectomy/and lift? (photos)

I have suffering from extreme chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, low libido, bladder pain, vision problems, back pain, neck pain, memory problems, and digestion issues since getting my implants in 2007. I want these things out. Shortly after they were in I had capsular contracture of my right breast. They are still uneven. I'm ready to get my life back.

Doctor Answers 3

You can have your implants removed and your medical problems will NOT change.

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I'm truly sorry to hear of all the difficulties you believe are associated with your implants, since only asymmetry and firmness (perhaps pain as well) in the right breast will be solved by implant removal. Plus, you will re-inherit the reason you had implants in the first place (and your breasts will be even smaller and deflated with possible slight chest wall indentations from your implants of 9 years after they are removed).

We know from our breast reduction patients that it takes a minimum of DD-DDD breasts having at least a pound or more of tissue removed per breast to make a statistically significant difference in back pain and neck pain from large breasts. Removal of your implants, plus the capsule scar tissue, will not relieve your back and neck pain, though there might be partial relief. But your chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, low libido, bladder pain, vision problems, memory issues, and digestive issues (whew, that's a lot of issues for one "cause") can be expected to be only temporarily better (because you think they will get better with your implants out), and then they will insidiously return, since none of those listed above are related to your implants. 

Regardless of what you have read on the internet. The scientific evidence is clear--there is NO cause-and-effect relationship between implants (silicone OR saline) and any auto immune or "human adjuvant" illnesses. Too many reputable scientific studies have spoken, and these are not "bought and paid-for" studies funded by the implant companies. Hard science by reputable researchers, institutions, and countries other than those here in the USA. Honest.

So while I fully support your request to have your implants removed, I would counsel you to not have unrealistic expectations about your life and medical symptoms getting better. They will do so at first, because you so ardently want them to, but time will prove that most if not ALL of these symptoms will return. And then you will have a flat chest and all of your symptoms again. Perhaps that's OK, and if it is, then by all means proceed! But if a flat chest, an empty wallet, and all of your symptoms still being present represent a huge bummer, consider yourself forewarned. For that is truly what I have seen in others with this list of concerns who were absolutely convinced their implants were the culprits.

What I have seen all too many times in other women with similar or exactly the same complaints as yours, is that the original problems remain/return, and then you have to start the search for the REAL reason for your problems. Often that list of symptoms is hormonally-based, so I would recommend a general physical by your family physician, internist, or gynecologist--or start with a specialist and see an endocrinologist to have your hormone levels checked. Changes in hormone levels are so gradual over time we don't even appreciate them, and this happens to men as well. Please just give this a thought, and best wishes for everything getting better, one way or another! Dr. Tholen

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Capsular contracture

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A physical exam and possibly other investigations will be required to investigate your symptoms. Capsular contracture can be associated with breast distortion and discomfort and you are correct that explant and capsulectomy are performed to address this specific issue. Examination by a board-certified plastic surgeon can help you identify your options. I am sorry that you are experiencing these symptoms.

I need an explant/capsulectomy/and lift?

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I am sorry to hear about the medical concerns you are experiencing. Short answer: much will depend on your physical examination ( factors such as degree of breast ptosis, current position of breast implants, number of previous operations, assessment of breast skin quality/elasticity…) and your plastic surgeons' clinical judgment.   

Longer answer: in person consultation will be necessary to provide you with precise advice. The main issue of concern is adequacy of blood flow given the extensive breast surgery planned. In my opinion, if the degree of breast lifting ( distance of movement of the nipple/areola complexes) is significant, then you may be better off having the procedure performed in 2 stages. If the degree of breast lifting is relatively small ( shorter distance of movement of the nipple/areola complexes) then it is likely that the procedure can be performed in one stage. If in doubt, in my opinion, the two stage approach is safer.

In "borderline" cases where there is doubt whether breast lifting is necessary or not, I advise patients to undergo explantation only and to give their breasts the benefit of the doubt (allow for about six months to pass after breast implant removal) before deciding whether breast lifting would be beneficial. I hope this, and the attached link (dedicated to breast implant removal surgery concerns) helps. Best wishes.

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.