Breast Implant Removal in Scottsdale

Explantation: What happens when breast implants are removed?

On occasion, a woman may decide that she no longer wants or needs her implants, and just wants to have them removed. There are many reasons a woman may decide to have them removed—they are too large, she doesn’t want to have surgery again in the future to have them replaced, or she is having problems with the implants and needs surgery anyway. Breast augmentation is an incredible procedure, and results are usually fantastic! However, breast implants are not for everyone. Is a “boob job” reversible?

When implants are removed, the breasts will never look like they did prior to implants—breasts continue to age just as the rest of the body ages!! Some women decide to have a breast lift after having the implants removed, and some do not. Each person will have different results.

breast implant surgery


Explantation, as it is called, is a simple procedure that is performed in the operating room usually under general anesthesia. If the patient does not have a thick internal scar, the capsule does not need to be removed and instead can be “roughened” during surgery to allow it to seal closed. A drain is usually placed for several days. For patients with a thick capsule, a “capsulectomy” is performed to remove the entire scar tissue bed. Sometimes the scar can be removed in one piece, and sometimes it cannot (it is removed in several pieces). Sometimes a portion of the capsule is left in place if removal would cause more harm than good.

The inframammary incision is most commonly used and is the favored incision; however, other incisions are possible to re-use such as the periareolar scar operating room. Although the surgeon will try to avoid making a new incision where there is not already one present, the inframammary incision affords the best visibility and easiest recovery without risking infection or nipple sensation changes or severing milk ducts to the nipple, which preserves future ability to breast feed.

breast surgery procedure
Patients often ask:“What will my breasts look like after my implants are removed?” patients fears include of stretched-out skin, sagging breasts, or deformity, particularly if their implants are very large or if their implants have been in for many years.

After explantation, the breast will not return to their pre-augmentation size and shape. If the patient has gained weight since her first surgery, the final breast volume may be slightly fuller than her pre-surgery state. See below for an example:

before breast augementation

Before breast augmentation


8 years after breast augmentation with mild capsular contracture and asymmetry.

after removal of breast implants

2 weeks after explantation


Here is another patient with a capsular contracture, who decided to have her implants removed and not replaced. The bilateral capsular contracture is worse on the right than the left. Although it was not painful, this patient decided she wanted to have her implants removed. Note that the inframammary scars have faded so they are not visible.

unsymmetrical breast implants

removal of breast implants

2 weeks following explantation. Incisions in the inframammary area (same incision) are expectedly pink and fresh. The breast shape is still attractive.

The recovery after explantation is around 3-4 weeks. Most patients will need a few days away from work to recover. There is usually a drain for several days after the surgery, but this can be hidden under clothing at work if needed.

woman covering breasts
Some women with a significant amount of droop know that they want a breast lift, and sometimes a combined explantation and lift is planned.

Implant Induced Rippling of the Skin

This is almost universally associated with saline implants. For some women it is visible, and for others is it just palpable. Even silicone implants can cause visible wrinkling, especially on very thin women with little breast tissue. Newer form stable implants (also called gummy bear implants), have a consistency of a very fresh gummy bear or gum drop. They are more solid than the typical silicone breast implants and are therefore much less prone to wrinkling.

Skin Stretching

Because of the effects of gravity combined with age, breast size, genetics, and a history of breast feeding, the skin will stretch over time and the breast will sage. Many women think that breast implants or a breast lift will give them the look of a push up bra. In fact, only a push up bra will give the look of a push up bra!!

Extremely large breast implants will over stretch the skin with time, causing it to thin dramatically. In some cases, the plastic surgeon may not be able to correct the damaged skin.

Most insurance companies will not cover removal or replacement of breast implants that were originally placed for cosmetic reasons (except for women with breast cancer). If you have questions, please call and we will be happy to answer any questions.

If you have any questions in regards to your Implant Removal, please feel free to contact our office in Scottsdale, AZ at (602)792-5789!

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