Explant Surgery or Breast Implant Removal: Everything You Need to Know
Nowadays, breast implants removal has increased because the complications are now prevalent. Based on researches carried out by implant companies, the FDA concluded that as many as 20% of augmentation patients would have to have their implants removed within 8-10 years. The proportion of women needing further surgery is likely much higher today.
Here we will discuss everything you need to know about breast implant removal, and you will know what is most suitable for you.
What Is A Breast Implant?
Breast implants are FDA-approved devices that provide many quality-of-life advantages to patients. Hundreds of thousands of people undergo breast implant procedures across the globe yearly. Breast implants continue to be an essential option for breast augmentation and breast reconstruction procedures.
Now that you understand the concept of breast implant, continue reading to learn everything you need to know about breast explant surgery or breast implant removal.
What Is Explant Surgery?
Breast explant surgery is performed to safely remove the breast implant and restore an attractive breast contour and appearance. Explant surgery is a possibility for patients who are having difficulties with their breast implants, or who now prefer to be without a breast implant to achieve their goal.
Recently, women are beginning to remove their implants for a variety of reasons. Many patients are not satisfied with the appearance of their implants, while other patients experience complications that force the procedure. Below are some common reasons why women remove implants:
- Dissatisfaction with the look or feel
- Leaks or ruptures
- Capsular contracture prevention or mitigation
- Size adjustments with breast revision surgery
What Is Breast Implant Removal?
Breast implant removal is the same as explant surgery. It is performed to safely remove the breast implant and restore an attractive breast contour and appearance.
Breast Implant Complications That May Trigger Explant Surgery
Whether the breast implants are placed for cosmetic enhancement or breast reconstruction following a mastectomy, the patients can sometimes experience different types of complications, including:
- Capsular contracture
- Breast Implant Illness (BII)
- Visible implant rippling (the appearance of “creases” or “waves” under the skin)
- Implant rupture
- Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), or significant fear of developing the disease
Explant surgery is required for patients with the complications mentioned above. The implant can be removed along with part or all of the surrounding scar capsule. The incision used to remove the implant often is based on the patient’s prior surgical history. This should be discussed before surgery as notable scarring or contracture around the implant may require a larger incision. The amount of capsule that is to be removed in conjunction with explant surgery is determined by several factors (e.g. surgical plan, diagnosis, patient preferences, etc.), and is decided on a case-by-case basis.
For breast reconstruction patients who are removing their implants and desire to have an alternative natural reconstruction, the implant is removed, and the remaining space in the breast pocket is filled easily with the autologous tissue during the same procedure in the vast majority of cases.
What Should I Do To Prepare For The Removal Of My Breast Implants?
You may be requested to do the following in order to prepare for breast implant removal:
- Obtain laboratory testing or a medical examination.
- Take some medications or make changes to your present ones.
- Quit smoking.
- Aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, and herbal supplements can all cause excessive bleeding.
Breast implant removal surgery is usually done under general anaesthesia in a hospital or a licenced ambulatory surgical centre. If you’re having your breast implant removed as an outpatient procedure, make sure you have someone to drive you to and from the procedure and to stay with you for at least the first night thereafter.
Breast Explant Surgery Recovery Time
Many patients are uncertain about breast explant surgery and are usually skeptical about the whole process. Nonetheless, it’s wise to consider the impact of removing them the same way that you took time to find how breast reconstruction or breast augmentation would fit into your life.
Since you have had breast augmentation surgery, you have an idea of how long it might take you to recover from this procedure. Nevertheless, if your augmentation surgery was many years back, your previous recovery experience may not give the most realistic time estimate as you consider this procedure.
If you are like many patients, you want to know about recovery times before getting into the details of the explant procedure. Every patient is different, and each body responds to surgery in different ways. Hence, no surgeon can guarantee a particular recuperation timeline. We can only give information based on the average recovery times experienced by other patients. Averagely, most women can return to a white-collar job in about a week. Blue-collar jobs that demand to lift or a lot of movement should be shunned for long.
It is necessary to remember that recovery is a two-step process: resuming your routine and full healing with likely results. There is often a gap between when you will feel ready to re-engage in regular activities and when you will see the desired changes in your breasts. Below we look at the expected timelines for each of the two stages of breast explant surgery recovery.
Downtime after Explant Surgery or Breast Implant Removal
Explant surgery usually happens under local anesthesia. Many a time the doctors use twilight anesthesia, which is a very mild dose of general anesthesia to calm the nerves. Breast implant Patients are sedated but still conscious. Enlist a close friend or family member to escort you to and from your appointment as you will not be able to drive after.
Expect to clear your schedule for the first several days after surgery. Many doctors will recommend that you rest at home for a few days or weeks. Typically, the doctors remove fitted drains and wound sutures two or three days after the surgery. During this period, you should not engage in physical activity. You must avoid subjecting your incisions to abrasion, excessive force, or motion as they heal.
Medications after Explant Surgery or Breast Implant Removal
Take prescribed pain medication as prescribed by your surgeon to maximize your comfort and hasten healing during the recovery process. Stress and pain can hinder healing; therefore, you should follow the instructions given by your surgeon for a speedy recuperation.
Returning To Work After Breast Implant Removal or Explant Surgery
The majority of patients who undergo explant surgery feel ready to return to work about one week after breast implant removal. However, the nature of your job will determine your return date. Those with physically demanding jobs may need to take more than one week off from work. We recommend that you discuss your occupational situation with your surgeon during your consultation. That will help him/her to provide more precise estimates about how much time off you will need.
How to Reduce Risks after Explant Surgery or Breast Explant Removal
It is a well-known fact that there are risks associated with removing implants. Your recuperation timeline can be extended because of complication you may experience after surgery. The best way to ensure a faster recovery and keep your healing timeline is to follow your surgeons’ post-surgery advice. Your surgeon will help you customizes your post-operation medication and instructions for your specific needs.
Every individual has a different recovery plan, and an excellent surgeon will designs yours meet the ideal cosmetic results. Typically, surgeons’ recommend their patients to wrap their chest wall for one week or more after surgery. The wrap maintains the compression of the breast tissue, which leads to better outcomes later. This step is essential for healing and promoting a smooth and even chest appearance after surgery.
We have mentioned the impact of stress on healing before, but we cannot reiterate this enough. To get the foretold results, you must find means to eliminate stressors from your life. A clean, healthy diet and comfortable lifestyle is the best way to go. Failing to comply with your surgeons’ instructions can negatively impact your end cosmetic result. Follow all instructions precisely.
How You Can Fasten Recovery after Explant Surgery
Many breast implant removal patients want to know the best way to recover faster after the surgery. The best way to quickly recover from such is by taking prescribed pain medication, proper rest, and to avoid stress and gym. Good food can also help you to recover quickly.
Foods to Eat After Explant Surgery
Healing is a complex process that the body is skilled at performing. Changing your diet can help you recover faster. Still, you can promote extra-strength healing by eating the right balance of nutrients. The foods mentioned below will make your recovery more quickly:
High fiber whole grains
Nutrient-dense foods (smoothies)
Lean protein (tempeh, poultry, seafood, tofu, seitan)
Foods to Avoid After Explant Surgery or Breast Implant Removal
Some food can slow down your recovery time, just as some can hasten recovery. Processed food is to be avoided if you want your body to heal faster. Processed meats like ham, sausage, salami, beef jerky, and bacon are type 1 carcinogens. They are amongst the worst foods you can eat after surgery.
Dairy products, including milk, yoghurt, cheese, and ice cream, promote constipation, which is an issue after surgery. We advise that you wait a while after the operation before taking dairy foods.
Physical Recovery after Explant Surgery or Breast Implant Removal
A large number of patients have trouble mitigating expectation in stage two of the recovery process. They feel healthier after the first week, but there is still a time of waiting required before resuming vigorous activity, and it may take some time before you see those results you desire. Though, it may feel like you are left in the lurch, understand that this is an essential part of the recuperation process. This is the time for your body to heal itself completely.
Can I Engage In Gym, Sports, And Rigorous Activity After Explant Surgery?
All patients are advised to take a break from rigorous activities like sport after breast implant removal or explant surgery. You surgeon will discuss your options for light or moderate workouts with you depending on your case. Ensure you follow your surgeon instructions correctly so your body can heal on time.
Expected Total Healing Period after Breast Implant Removal or Explant Surgery
An observation on some patients has shown that it can take up to a year to recover completely after explant surgery. You likely experience swelling and fluctuating breast sizes after your surgical incisions have healed. It will take time for your breast to adjust to their new shape.
The ultimate results of your procedure depend on numerous factors. Your surgeon will explain these factors to you during your consultation to uncover how they may apply to your circumstance. The following dictates the outcomes of your procedure:
- Breast implant size
- If an implant leak predicated removal
- Presence of scar tissue surrounding the implants
- Quantity and quality of remaining breast tissue
Some patients who have had implants for an extended time may have thin breast tissue remaining. Your specialist may give you an idea of what to expect from the procedure, but individual results differ. Delicate breast tissue can affect the overall appearance of the breasts and may not live up to their sought expectations. In those cases, an additional augmentation procedure may be required to achieve optimal results.
Explant Surgery Cost
The cost of breast implant removal varies by the surgeon, the complexity of the procedure, and geographic region. The average surgeon’s fee for the removal of breast implants is about $2,500 in the United States. However, this does not include additional costs of surgery like anaesthesia. Our review of different plastic surgery sites revealed that the total average cost for breast implant removal is between “$5,000” to “$8,000” across the globe.
What Should I Ask My Plastic Surgeon Concerning The Removal Of My Breast Implants?
During your breast implant removal consultation, use this checklist as a reference:
- Do you have an American Board of Plastic Surgery certification?
- Did you have specialised training in the field of plastic surgery?
- Do you have any specific training in breast implant revision techniques?
- How many years have you studied plastic surgery?
- Do you have permission to conduct this surgery in a hospital? If so, which hospitals are you talking about?
- Is the office-based surgical facility accredited, licenced, or Medicare-certified by a nationally or state-recognized accrediting agency?
- Do you think I’d be a good candidate for this procedure?
- What will be expected of me in order for me to get the best results?
- Where and how will my procedure be performed?
- What is the best surgical procedure for me?
- How long will it take me to recuperate, and what kind of assistance will I require throughout that time?
- What are the risks and potential problems of my procedure?
- What procedures are followed in the event of a complication?
- How will my breast implant removal process look in the future?
- What are my choices if I’m unhappy with the result?
- Do you have any before-and-after images for this operation that I may look at to see what kind of outcomes I can expect?
How Can I Find A Plastic Surgeon To Remove My Breast Implants?
There are numerous options available when it comes to removing breast implants. The first and most crucial step is to choose a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
ASPS members must meet the following requirements:
- The American Board of Plastic Surgery® (ABPS) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada® (RCPSC) certify surgeons.
- Following medical school, complete at least six years of surgical training, including a minimum of three years of plastic surgery residency training.
- Pass both the oral and written portions of the exam.
- Obtain a medical degree from a recognised institution.
- Every year, complete continuing medical education, including patient safety.
- Surgical procedures should be performed at accredited, state-licensed, or Medicare-certified institutions.
Other official-sounding boards and certifications should not be confused with this one.
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), which has approved medical speciality boards since 1934, recognises the ABPS. There is no certifying board with the term “cosmetic surgery” in its name that is recognised by the ABMS.
You may be confident that you are choosing a qualified, highly trained plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada if you choose a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
We hope this article has been beneficial to you. We strongly recommend that you to choose the best surgeon for your explant surgery to avoid complications.
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