Skin Retraction After Breast Lift Upon Breast Implant Removal

I am seeking medical opinions of a breast lift upon removal of implants, without replacement. I have 300cc, textured, anatomical, submuscular saline breast implants for 14 years. I am a young 35yr old, no children. Full A or small B prior, and went to a small/medium C cup after, with decent skin elasticity. Gained 15 lbs since then, and developed more breast tissue. I don't feel they sag at the moment, but do have a natural slope. How much does the skin actually retract after the breast lift? Any medical or detailed advice is appreciated.

Doctor Answers 8

Skin retraction after implant removal

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It all depends on your type of skin. Given the fact that you have no children and are young with smaller implants, I would say that you may not need a lift after the implants are removed.

What I would do for you would be to remove the implants and let things settle. There is a good chance that you may not need a lift. In 4-6 month if things look droopy then you may consider a lift then, but chances are you would not need it.

Good luck.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

May do well with explant alone

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Although your arms are up in your photo which can give a less accurate interpretation of the amount of tissue looseness, you look as though you may do well without a breast lift. This can never be completely predicted unless you have a lot of laxity to start with.

I would discuss this with your plastic surgeon who has the benefit of being able to examine you and feel your tissues. I hope this helps.

Dr Edwards

No need for breast lift after implant removal.

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1) Of course, I am going by just one photo with no exam. But my impression is that you have excellent tissues, and that your skin will contrcat nicely after breast implant removal. So you would not need a breast lift.

2) If in 6 months, you think your breasts are not perky enough, you could always have a breast lift then, but I don't think it would come to that. That's just my experience.

3) If you do decide on a lift, make sure it is an INTERNAL lift (Lejour technique), where the breast tissue is lifted and re-shaped from the inside, without relying on pulling the skin tight. Skin stretches, and lifts that rely on tightening the skin don't last.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Appearance of breasts after removal of implants

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As your breasts have had implants, the shape and weight of the implants have stretched out the overlying breast and skin. When these implants are removed you will notice that your skin has been stretched out and your breast will appear more empty. Depending on the quality of the skin, some of this empty appearance may result if your skin contracts enough. However, it is very possible that you will have excess skin and this may not leave a satisfactory appearance of your breasts.

Your best bet is to be evaluated by a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast implant and breast lift surgery. Your surgeon will be able to evaluate the quality of your skin and give you an idea of how much skin contraction may be expected after the removal of the implants. However, if you want to avoid a breast lift surgery after the implants you may simply remove the implants and see for yourself how much your skin will contract. If at a later stage, you want to correct any sagging tissue you would be an excellent candidate for a breast lift.

Removing breast implants, possibly needing a lift

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If you have had saline breast implants for many years and now request removal (without reinsertion) you may be able to avoid a breast lift. If your nipple position is favorable (which yours appears to be by the photo) you are less likely to need a lift in the future. The factors in your favor are you have some natural breast tissue and your implant size isn't too large. I would suspect that removing your implants alone is all you would require.

The approach would be to remove your breast implants, then do nothing for six months. This time period allows the skin to shrink and contract. You will then see the contour, nipple position and skin laxity that you are left with. Again without examinig you it's difficult to say, but based on your photos alone, I think you will be just fine removing your implants and avoiding any further surgery (lift).

Another approach gaining acceptance, is to have your surgeon deflate the breast implants in the office under local anesthesia, allow them to deflate/shrink, then six months later remove them in the operating room. If at the time of removal you need a lift, the skin will have contracted, making the mastopexy (lift) easier; and you would have avoided two surgeries in the operating room. This should only be done by a board certified plastic surgeon who is familiar with this technique.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 412 reviews

Breast Appearance after Breast Implant Removal?

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Thank you for the question and picture.

Based on your description  and picture,  it is very likely that you will not “need” press lifting after removal of the breast implants. Things that you have going for you include: Relatively good skin elasticity, no history of childbirth, relatively small breast implants  etc.

In other words, you may find that the skin will “bounce back”  quite well in your case,  negating the need for breast lifting.

Generally speaking what breasts 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). 

Life experience since your breast augmentation procedure, such as pregnancy or weight gain weight loss, will  potentially influence the factors discussed above. If you take these factors into consideration and apply them  to your specific circumstances you may get a good idea of what to expect after the implants are removed.
I hope this helps.

Breast lift after implants

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The skin doesn't acutaly retract after a breast lift, but in performing a breast lift, the gland will be molded and the excess overlying skin will be removed.

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

Breasts after implant removal

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I have personally done several of these kinds of cases.

You have 300cc implants in at the moment. My experience is that your breasts will definitely sag considerably once the implants are removed. If you don't have a breast lift done at the same time, your breast skin can't retract or shrink enough to overcome this.

You will need a breast lift done at the same that the implants are removed.

Remember that your tissues have been thinned out a little because of the weight of the implants over 14 years. Thus, you have less breast tissue than you did before the implants were inserted. Also, your skin has stretched slightly. When the breast lift is performed, skin will be removed. This, in combination with removing your implants, will make your breasts look a lot smaller. You may be a small A cup afterward. It is impossible to predict exactly what size you will be, but you will definitely be a lot smaller.

I don't know your reasons for removing the implants, but you may want to consider keeping them or just downsizing a little. Otherwise, you will be very small after surgery.

John Diaz, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 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.