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Is It Time for a Breast Implant Removal?

Posted November 30, 2023 in Breast Surgery

You often hear about the popularity of breast augmentation surgery and how it consistently lands in the top five most requested plastic surgery procedures each year. But what you may not know is that about 36% of the women who choose to undergo breast augmentation eventually have their breast implants removed. While there were over 255,000 breast augmentations done in 2022, there were also about 65,000 breast implant removal surgeries performed. 

Below, we discuss the most common reasons for breast implant removal to help you decide if the surgery is right for you. 

Woman covers her uneven breasts with her hands

You’ve Developed Capsular Contracture

When you undergo breast augmentation, your body begins to form scar tissue around the implant once it’s placed in your body. This is typically good, as it helps keep the implant in place. However, in some cases, the scar tissue thickens and begins to harden, contracting around the implant and causing a condition known as capsular contracture. 

Capsular contracture is the most common complication after breast augmentation, occurring in about 5–10% of patients. Before you panic, it’s essential to know that there are degrees of severity, and in many cases, you won’t even know you have it. 

Symptoms of Capsular Contracture:

  • Your affected breast will look and feel tight or hard
  • The implant appears distorted or asymmetrical
  • Visible rippling or wrinkling on your breast
  • Discomfort or pain in your breast 

If you have capsular contracture, the only solution is removal of the implant. You may choose to have the implant replaced or decide to go back to your natural breasts. 

Your Breasts Are Sagging

Time and gravity affect everyone, and you may eventually notice that while your breasts remain shapely and voluminous, they’re starting to ride a bit lower on your chest than you’d like. 

While breast augmentation increases the size of your breasts, it doesn’t do anything to address drooping breasts. If sagging is a problem, you can undergo a breast lift combined with your breast implant removal.

Your Implants Moved

When you undergo breast augmentation surgery, your surgeon creates a pocket behind your breast in which the implant is placed. As mentioned above, your body then forms scar tissue around the implant, which helps keep it in place. However, in some cases, the implant can shift, moving to one side or the other or sitting too low or too high. This is known as breast implant malposition or breast implant displacement. Signs of this issue include:

  • Breasts that were symmetrical and even following your surgery are now uneven or asymmetrical.
  • Your breasts are noticeably higher or lower than they were after your surgery.
  • Your nipples are pointing upward or downward or appear uneven.

Whatever the case, the only way to correct the problem is to remove the implant and adjust the capsule to hold the implant in the proper position.

Your Implant Has “Bottomed Out”

Another type of implant displacement is known as “bottoming out.” Bottoming out occurs when the implant moves too low on your chest and slides below the lower fold of your breast. There are several reasons this may happen, including:

  • Inadequate natural breast tissue to support and cover the implant
  • Too much skin elasticity
  • The breast pocket has stretched after breast augmentation surgery

Not only does bottoming out affect how your breast implants look, but it can also cause discomfort. If you notice that one or both of your breasts appear to sag, your nipple sits abnormally high on your breast, or that your breasts have started to look saggy or flatter, your implant may have bottomed out.

Your Implants Are Uncomfortable

It’s normal to experience some level of discomfort during your recovery from breast augmentation surgery. Your body is adjusting to support the new weight added to your chest, so you may feel a bit of muscle strain in the area. In the case of submuscular implant placement, the discomfort may stem from muscle manipulation during surgery. 

However, once you’re healed, your breasts should feel normal and pain-free. If you are experiencing pain, some of the reasons may include:

  • Nerve irritation as a result of your surgery, causing tingling, numbness, or pain
  • Implant displacement
  • Implant damage or rupture
  • Capsular contracture

To correct these issues, the probable course of action is implant removal. 

Your Implant Ruptured

Breast implants are designed to be durable and last for at least ten years or more. Although they rarely rupture, if they do, breast implant removal is necessary. Typical causes of implant rupture include physical impact or pressure, like a car accident or hard fall. But usually, the implant shell has weakened from age. When saline implants rupture, you’ll notice quickly because your breast will deflate as your body harmlessly absorbs the saline. Silicone implant ruptures cannot be diagnosed without a mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI because the breast maintains its overall shape since the ruptured silicone gel is not absorbed.

Implant ruptures are not typical and are not life-threatening. However, if you have a rupture in your implant, it must be removed and replaced.

Learn More About Breast Augmentation in Philadelphia

Whether breast implant removal is something you choose due to a lifestyle change or something that comes about due to a post-surgical complication, Dr. Adrian Lo is here to help. For more information on breast augmentation, breast implant removal, or breast implant revision, call (215) 829-6900 to schedule a consultation or fill out the online contact form.

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Philadelphia Cosmetic Surgery

301 South 8th Street, Suite 3H,
Philadelphia PA 19106

New Jersey Cosmetic Surgery

990 Route 73 North
Marlton, NJ 08053

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