Explant and lift together? To let them settle before a lift is done for a better result or does that make no difference?

I'm 1.5 yrs postop under muscle 400 mL HP silicone. My results are a disaster and I want to explant with no replacement. I had BA because of extra skin, so I know I will need lift. I see breasts change on this forum so much in 6+ months after explant and I'm wondering if I should wait for lift for that reason? To let them settle before a lift is done for a better result or if that makes so difference? Also- how much internal tissue work can be done during a lift?

Doctor Answers 2

Explant and lift together? To let them settle before a lift is done for a better result or does that make no difference?

Thank you for the excellent question. 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.

Lift adds risk

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.A lift with an implant is controversial for two reasons.  First, when you perform a lift you are making everything tight and closing the wounds under tension.  It you add the expansive forces of the implant at the same time, you are fighting against yourself.  There are forces on the wound which try to make them separate, which results in wider, thicker, more irregular scars.  In the worst case, the wounds will open.  So compromises are usually made in the operating room by the surgeon because they cannot close the lift wounds over the appropriate sized implant.  Either less of a lift is performed so that the skin is not as tight and therefore there is less tension on the closure.  Or a smaller implant than would be appropriate is used so as to decrease the expansive forces.  Either way, you are compromising the aesthetic outcome.  Often the outcome is so compromised that a second revision surgery is required.  If however, you plan to have the lift first and then the augmentation after everything has healed, then you have two operation that are planned, both with much lower risk than the combined mastopexy/augmenation.  The outcomes of the two meticulously planned operations are much better and a more aesthetically pleasing, and a safer outcome is achieved. The second reason the combination of mastopexy and augmentation is controversial is because of the risk of nipple necrosis (death of the nipple).  By making the skin tight for the lift, you are putting external pressure on the veins that supply the nipple.  By putting an expansive force on the undersurface of the breast with an implant, you are putting pressure on the thin walled veins that supply the nipple.  If the pressure by squeezing the veins between the implant and the skin is greater than the venous pressure in the veins, the flow will stop.  If the venous outflow stops, the arterial inflow is stopped.  If the arterial inflow is stopped, there is no oxygen for the healing wounds and the tissue dies. Placing the implant on top of the muscle in combination with a lift puts the blood supply to the nipple at a much higher risk because in addition to the issue of pressure on the veins, you have to divide the blood vessels that are traveling from the pectoralis muscle directly into the breast (and to the nipple) in order to place the implant between the breast tissue and the muscle. This adds a third element of risk to an already risky operation.  Mastopexy/augmenation with sub glandular implant placement is by far the riskiest way to address your anatomic question.

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.