Breast Implant Removal (Explant)

Breast augmentation can help many individuals add fullness and enhanced shape to their breasts with natural-looking, long-lasting results. Some patients may want to keep their current breast implants for many years before removal or replacement with another implant model, while other patients may want to do it earlier. Copeland Cosmetic Surgery understands that there are a variety of reasons why women may want to remove or switch out their current implants, as they are not designed to last a lifetime. That is why our practice offers breast implant removal (also referred to as an explant procedure) and implant replacement. Whether you are looking to exchange your implants for new ones that align more to your current aesthetic goals or remove your implants due to lifestyle changes, our board-certified plastic surgeon – Dr. Jeffrey Copeland – is happy to assist you in customizing a treatment plan.

What Are Common Reasons for Breast Implant Removal & Replacement?

There is a wide range of personal and medical reasons that lead women to remove or replace their current breast implants, including the following:

  • Desire to change their breast implant size, type, or shape
  • Discomfort and pain from capsular contracture (when excessive scar tissue surrounding the implant becomes hard)
  • Concern about a potential implant rupture or movement
  • Implant leakage and deflation
  • Implant infection

Some breast augmentation patients may wish to remove their implants because they are apprehensive about a 2019 recall, from the global market, issued from the developer Allergan® concerning certain types of BIOCELL textured breast implants. We invite you to contact our practice for more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Copeland so that he can answer any of your questions and listen to your concerns. He wants every patient to be educated and feel comfortable and confident in their decision for breast implant removal or replacement procedures.

Who is a Good Candidate for Breast Implant Removal?

Ideal candidates for breast implant removal procedures are typically individuals who are in good overall health, at a stable weight and have realistic expectations for the outcome of the treatment. As noted in the section above, there are both cosmetic and medical reasons why a patient considers breast implant removal. Candidates for breast implant removal are often those who wish to exchange their breast implants for ones of a different size, type, or shape; are dealing with implant-related complications such as an implant leak, rupture, or capsular contracture; are feeling pain or discomfort from an issue potentially relating to the implants; and those who simply no longer want breast implants. Patients must also be non-smokers—those who smoke must avoid smoking for several weeks both before and after the procedure, ideally with a plan to quit the habit altogether.

During your initial consultation, our plastic surgeon can evaluate your needs and goals and answer any questions you may have.

Which Breast Implant Removal Technique is Right for Me?

During your consultation, you will have the chance to discuss with Dr. Copeland your aesthetic desires. He will carefully evaluate your breast implants and current situation. From there, he will be able to determine the best technique to successfully complete your implant removal or replacement.

Dr. Copeland usually performs the procedure by first identifying the tissue capsule that forms around the breast implant. In many cases, he will utilize advanced techniques to remove both the capsule and the breast implant simultaneously. Dr. Copeland will explain all aspects of the procedure during the initial consultation so you will know what your options are and what to expect.

What Happens During Breast Implant Removal?

The breast implant removal and replacement process can vary between patients. The surgery can be completed in different ways based on the patient’s situation, the technique utilized, and other concerns unique to each individual.

Generally, the process involves the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia – Usually general anesthesia is used.
  2. Incision – It is usually made along the inframammary fold under the breast or around the areola. Oftentimes, Dr. Copeland can use the original incision/scar made when the patient underwent breast augmentation to avoid additional scarring.
  3. Implant Removal – Breast augmentation patients usually have a capsule surrounding the implant. It is a “pocket” made of scar tissue that develops as a reaction to a foreign object (the breast implant) being inside the body. Dr. Copeland will remove both the breast implant and capsule during the procedure if he feels it is necessary.
  4. Implant Replacement (if desired) – If included in the patient’s treatment plan, Dr. Copeland will place new implants immediately after the current breast implants are removed.
  5. Incision Closure

How Is Breast Shape Restored After Implants Are Removed?

The breast tissue and skin may not shrink back to their natural position after the breast implants are removed. That is why Dr. Copeland offers breast lift surgery (also referred to as mastopexy) for patients who would like to restore a more natural-looking and perky appearance to their breasts after their implants are gone. A breast lift can reposition and reshape sagging breasts by addressing weakened breast tissue and skin. If needed or desired, the nipple and areola can be relocated to a more youthful position, as well.

Patients who had larger implants or had their implants in place for a long time are more likely to have a recommendation for a breast lift after the removal of their implants. Other women who had smaller implants or have great skin elasticity may not need a breast lift. Dr. Copeland will evaluate your current circumstances and advise you on the best solution to achieve your aesthetic goals.

What Is Recovery Like After Breast Implant Removal & Replacement?

Since the nature of the surgery and the techniques that are used highly depend on the individual, the recovery period will be different for each patient. Women may experience some bruising or swelling near the incision sites for several days after the procedure. Pain medications can help patients manage any initial discomfort they may experience. To help facilitate healing and prevent blood clots, we usually recommend taking short walks and sitting up after surgery. Other strenuous exercises and activities should be avoided for at least another six weeks. After the procedure, Dr. Copeland will make sure to provide more detailed post-operative instructions on how to take care of the incisions to minimize the risk of infection and complications.

What Will My Breasts Look Like After Breast Implant Removal?

For many patients, some sagging skin is often left behind after the implants are removed. The skin that previously had to stretch over the implants no longer has that volume to cover, so immediate results can exhibit a degree of ptosis, which can vary in significance among patients. Some patients may notice that their skin does “bounce back” fairly effectively, with strong contributing factors being age and skin elasticity. Additional details that could affect how your breasts look after implant removal are how big the implants were, how much natural breast tissue you have, and how long you have had your breast implants. Patients who are unhappy with how their breasts look after implant removal may benefit from breast lift surgery, which can create a firmer and more youthful bustline.

Will I Have Scars After Breast Implant Removal & Replacement?

Yes, but incision placements can vary among patients, depending on their needs and cosmetic desires. During the breast implant removal and replacement process, Dr. Copeland does his best to make incisions in places that can easily be concealed with a bra or bikini top. In many cases, the breast implant removal incision is made in the same location as the one created for breast augmentation. For this reason, scarring is typically minimal and rarely more than what was already there. During the consultation, Dr. Copeland will carefully examine your breasts and give you a better idea of what you can expect in terms of scarring.

Alternatives to Breast Implant Removal

For patients who wish to maintain their enhanced breast size but have concerns that still need to be addressed, a breast augmentation revision procedure can serve as an alternative to implant removal surgery without replacement. Similar to the breast implant removal procedure, breast augmentation revision can often correct breast implant issues or complications, as well as help patients achieve their desired appearance.

There are multiple reasons why a patient may choose to pursue augmentation revision instead of permanent implant removal, including repositioning the implants, improving the size or shape, treating capsules, or addressing implant changes or concerns. Dr. Copeland will assess the current state of your implants and your augmentation history to determine the best course of action.

How Much Does Breast Implant Removal & Replacement Cost?

The cost of breast implant removal at Copeland Cosmetic Surgery ranges from approximately $5,800 to $8,500. This does NOT include costs for a breast lift, which often is done in conjunction with implant removal. Since the procedure is personalized to the individual, the total expense is different for each patient. The amount of money you spend on treatment usually depends on the following:

  • Anesthesia fees
  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Complexity of treatment
  • Whether new breast implants are being placed
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Prescribed medications
  • Post-surgical garments
  • Breast lift cost (if included in the treatment plan)
  • Medical exams and X-rays

At your consultation, a member of our team can give you a more precise quote and answer all your questions regarding how to pay for treatment. At our practice, financing options with CareCredit® are available for qualified applicants. CareCredit® provides approved patients with monthly payment plans that have little to no interest. If you have any questions or concerns about the cost of breast implant removal and replacement, please do not hesitate to call Copeland Cosmetic Surgery. We would be more than happy to help you.

If you would like more information about breast implant removal and replacement surgery, or if you are ready to schedule an appointment with Dr. Copeland, please contact our office today.