Removing Saline Implants

I am 32 years old, 5'6'', 130 pounds, size 32C. I had 300/350 cc saline implants placed under the muscle 10 yrs ago. I had the surgery initially because my left breast was much smaller than the right. Now that I am older, I want to remove the implants but worried about how my breasts will look after surgery (saggy? etc). Should I go to a size B and make the transition slowly? Also which area of incision will make the smallest scar? Thanks...

Doctor Answers 7

Breast implants can be removed with minimal scarring and good results.

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I have learned serendipitously that although breasts look really bad and collapsed initially after implant removal without a lift, over several weeks, the skin contracts and they end up looking like breasts again. I have started offering this procedure, explantation only, to all of my patients who want implant removal, with the understanding that if the breast does not firm up enough to be pretty, we can do a lift then as a secondary procedure. A lift later usually involves smaller incisions than a lift done at the same time as implant removal, so in my opinion, there is benefit in wainting.  In fact, in the 12 or so patients I have treated this way over the past 18 months, none of them have needed a lift, and all have been happy with the results. It is a small number to be sure, but there is little risk in this approach and much to gain in terms of avoiding more scars if a lift is not necessary.

Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Cosmetic Outcome of Removing Breast Implants

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Breast implants progressively and permanently change the overlying breast. They exert pressure on the breast tissue above/below them causing disappearance of some of the tissue and stretch the breast skin causing sagging. This especially seen along the bottom part of the breast and is more pronounced with larger implants.

Removal of breast implants results in a picture similar to that of a sail ship when the wind disappears - deflated, sagging sails. It is unlikely that long-standing implants will not have an impact on the breast and that their removal would not have an adverse cosmetic appearance. The extent of deformity would vary from patient to patient.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and weight loss/gain can impact sag following removal.

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In any particular case, it’s virtually impossible to know if a breast lift will be necessary following explantation without pictures or a physical examination.The presence of a nipple areola complex that sets below the inframammary fold, poor skin tone and a high ratio of implant volume to native breast tissue volume often suggests the need for breast lift surgery.

Breast sag following explantation is more likely in patients who have had multiple pregnancies, have breast fed, have had weight fluctuations, and have had implants for longer periods of time.When implants are large and are placed on top of the muscle, the incidence of breast sag following implant removal is higher as well.

If you’re considering removal of your breast implants, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate.This surgeon should be able to determine the likelihood of a breast lift following implant removal based on your physical examination.He should also be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses all of your concerns.

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Removing implants

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Whenever you remove implants after a long period of time, it is difficult to predict the final shape. If you go smaller you may need a lift.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Removing Implants

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This will change the appearance of your breasts.  Your breasts may not just be smaller but they may be lower on your chest with excess undesired skin.  It is difficult to say if you will need a lift, this is something that we would need to do measurements on and an exam.  Gradually decreasing your size will not really help either.  Also when removing the implants after such a long time, you must also know that you may not have much of any breast tissue left.

I would recommend seeing a plastic surgeon who can approximate the amount of breast tissue you would have after the removal and if you would need a lift.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Removing Implants CAN Lead to Sagginess

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When you have had implants for ten years, the chances of removing them and having the breast tissue rebound back are small.  Some women will undergo a lift afterwards to remove the excess skin, but it can leave you fairly flat chested.  Alot of women simply downsize to a smaller implant instead of fully removing them to try and avoid the need for a lift.  I hope this helps.

Difficult time choosing between implant removal (explantation) or downsizing to smaller implant

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USe your existing scar and you may want to consider implant deflation with a needle to determine if you will be happy with the implant out or if you prefer a smaller sized implant replacement

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.