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Breast Implant Removal


Women who have previously had breast implants placed for breast augmentation surgery will occasionally decide that they wish to have their saline or silicone implants removed. Breast implant removal surgery restores breasts back to natural breast tissue.

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1. No Longer Wish to Have Breast Implants

Some women would like to restore their smaller breasts and will be happy with their natural breast tissue. They may not want to worry about future maintenance or replacement of their implants as they get older.

2. Textured Saline or Silicone Implants and BIA-ALCL

Women with textured saline or silicone implants have a very small risk of developing breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Dr. Lo does not use textured implants but sees many women who have textured breast implants from breast augmentation surgery with other doctors. Dr. Lo will customize a treatment plan for your individual situation. He usually recommends removal of the textured breast implant with complete capsule removal, total capsulectomy, or en bloc capsulectomy.

3. Breast Implant Leakage or Deflation with Saline Implants

Often, women will come to see Dr. Lo because their saline breast implant has partially leaked or completely deflated. Instead of replacing the implants, some women may choose to have the implants removed.

4. Breast Implant Leakage or Rupture With Silicone Implants

Often, women will come to see Dr. Lo because their mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI shows that one or both of their silicone implants have ruptured. Instead of replacing the implants, some women may choose to have the implants removed. Dr. Lo will customize a treatment plan depending on the situation and will often recommend complete capsule removal, total capsulectomy, or en bloc capsulectomy to remove all the leaking silicone.

5. Capsular Contracture With Breast Implants

A small percentage of women may develop scar tissue around their breast implants that causes their breasts to become firmer and the breast shape to not appear as natural. This scar tissue around the implant may also be painful. The treatment of capsular contracture involves removal of the scarred capsule and the breast implants. This will leave women with their own breast tissue and can help relieve breast pain.

6. Painful Breast Implants

A small percentage of women after breast implant surgery may experience mild pain or discomfort with their breast implants. If this continues to be an issue, breast implant removal is an option to help resolve the pain and discomfort.

7. Concerns About Breast Implant Illness

There are women who feel their breast implants are causing them harm and making them feel unwell or sick. This is a condition that is not fully understood and still being investigated. Dr. Lo will discuss your individual situation with you, and breast implant removal with or without total capsulectomy may be recommended.

Common Breast Implant Removal Questions

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  • How Do I Get My Breast Implants Removed?

    Dr. Lo will evaluate your individual situation. Usually, your saline or silicone implants can be removed through your original incision. Most surgeons will use the crease incision or nipple/periareolar incision, but Dr. Lo has special expertise in removing implants through the armpit/transaxillary incision if this was your original incision.

    If your situation is more complex or requires capsule removal or total capsulectomy, then Dr. Lo may recommend using a crease incision (underneath the breast) to perform your breast implant removal. The crease incision will often need to be longer than the average breast augmentation crease incision to allow total capsulectomy to be done.

  • Do I Need Any Pre-operative Testing Before My Breast Implant Removal Surgery?

    Based on your situation, blood work and a routine medical checkup may be recommended before your surgery.

  • Do I Need a Mammogram Before Breast Implant Removal Surgery?

    Many women have already had a mammogram to evaluate their breast implants for leakage or rupture before they come to see Dr. Lo. If you have not had a mammogram, Dr. Lo may recommend one before your breast implant removal surgery. Depending on your situation, Dr. Lo may also recommend a breast ultrasound or breast MRI to further evaluate your breast implants.

  • What Type of Anesthesia Is Used for Breast Implant Removal Surgery?

    Your breast implant removal surgery may be done under local anesthesia, twilight sedation, or general anesthesia. This will be based on your situation, your wishes, and the recommendations of Dr. Lo.

    Most women will feel most comfortable having the procedure under general anesthesia. Your procedure will be safely performed at Pennsylvania Hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital Tuttleman Surgery Center, or an accredited surgery center.

  • What Happens to My Breasts After My Implants Are Removed?

    When your breast implants are removed, your breasts will shrink and reshape as best as they can. Your breasts may look similar to the shape of your breasts before implant surgery but may be more deflated or saggy. Most women accept the smaller breast size and shape after breast implant removal. Dr. Lo recommends waiting three to six months for the breasts to heal before considering further surgery such as a breast lift.

  • Do I Need a Breast Lift After My Breast Implants Are Removed?

    Based on your situation, if Dr. Lo feels that your breast skin will contract, shrink, and reshape nicely after breast implant removal, then a breast lift will not be recommended.

    Dr. Lo may recommend a breast lift be performed at the same time as your breast implant removal surgery if your breasts will be very saggy with loose skin and will not rebound enough to look acceptable. In this situation, a breast lift should be done at the same time as your breast implant removal surgery.

    For many women, waiting three to six months after breast implant removal surgery allows one to see how their breasts recover before deciding whether a breast lift is necessary to improve the overall appearance.

  • What Is Breast Implant Removal Recovery Like?

    Your recovery may range from one to two days to two weeks depending on the extent of your breast implant removal surgery. If you have breast implant removal with total capsulectomy, the average recovery is one week before returning to work. You may drive in about three to five days depending on how you feel.

  • When Can I Exercise After Breast Implant Removal?

    You may begin exercise about two weeks after surgery, beginning with gentle abdominal and lower body exercises but avoiding upper body exercises for about one month.

  • How Much Does Breast Implant Removal Surgery Cost?

    The average cost of breast implant removal surgery ranges from $5,750 to $11,000. This includes Dr. Lo’s fee and the hospital and anesthesia fees.

    Breast implant removal surgery is a highly specialized surgical procedure, and the overall cost of your implant removal operation will vary depending on your specific needs.

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Breast Implant Removal With En Bloc Capsulectomy or Total Capsulectomy

The breast capsule is the natural tissue lining that develops around your breast implant after breast augmentation surgery. Usually, the capsule is thin and soft, giving you a natural feel and look.

What Is En Bloc Capsulectomy?

When you have your breast implants removed, Dr. Lo may recommend an en bloc capsulectomy, which is when the breast capsule is removed intact in one piece with the implant within it.

What Is the Difference Between Total Capsulectomy and En Bloc Capsulectomy?

Both are similar in that the entire breast capsule is removed (or as much as possible). With total capsulectomy, the implant is removed first and then the capsule is completely removed. With an en bloc capsulectomy, the capsule and implant are removed together. Dr. Lo will discuss which procedure will be best for you based on your situation.

Reasons for an En Bloc or Total Capsulectomy With Breast Implant Removal:

  • Your breasts are firm, and the breast shape is abnormal or distorted.
  • Your breast is painful from a thickened or calcified capsule.
  • Your silicone implants have ruptured and there is silicone within the capsule. Dr. Lo will perform an en bloc or total capsulectomy to make sure that all the silicone is removed.
  • You wish to have the capsule removed with the breast implant removal to give you the best chance to improve your health (i.e., to resolve symptoms of breast implant illness).

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Are Total Capsulectomy and En Bloc Capsulectomy Techniques Safe?

If your implants are in front of the pectoral muscle (subglandular), then it is usually safe to perform a total capsulectomy or en bloc capsulectomy.

If your implants are behind the muscle (submuscular), removal of the entire capsule with implant removal is usually possible. If part of the capsule is thin and adherent to the ribs and intercostal muscles, then it may not be possible to remove this part of the capsule entirely, or it may be dangerous and removal can cause severe injury to your ribs, muscles, or lungs. If it is discovered during surgery that this is your situation, then as much of the capsule will be removed as possible, and the rest of the capsule is cauterized to eliminate the remaining tissue.

What Is Breast Implant Illness (BII)?

Breast implants often enhance a woman’s figure and provide a boost in self-confidence. Occasionally, in some women with breast implants, symptoms may develop that may be related to their breast implants. This has been called breast implant illness.

Breast Implant Illness Symptoms May Include:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Neurological illness
  • Rashes
  • Other symptoms

What Should I Do if I Think I Have Breast Implant Illness?

It is recommended that you see your primary doctor for a full evaluation and blood work as recommended. Depending on the evaluation, you may be referred to a specialist such as a rheumatologist or a neurologist.

At some point in time, if you think your breast implants may be causing your symptoms, you will need to be evaluated by a plastic surgeon to assess your symptoms and implants before you can be given recommendations.

Is There a Test for Breast Implant Illness?

There is no specific test that would indicate a link between breast implant illness and breast implants.

If I Remove My Implants, Will My BII Symptoms Improve or Resolve?

There is no guarantee that removal of your silicone implants with or without total capsule removal will improve or eliminate the symptoms you are having.

Many women choose to have their breast implants removed knowing this, and some do feel better after their breast implants are removed. Other women may continue to have their symptoms even after breast implant removal.

If I Wish to Have My Breast Implants Removed, What Are My Options?

Your Options for Breast Implant Removal Include:

  • Breast implant removal only
  • Breast implant removal with breast lift surgery
  • Breast implant removal with total capsulectomy
  • Breast implant removal with en bloc capsulectomy

It is important that you be evaluated by Dr. Lo, who will discuss all your options and develop a treatment plan that is best for you.

Dr. Adrian Lo

How Should I Choose

a Plastic Surgeon for My Breast Implant Removal Surgery?

Selecting your plastic surgeon is one of the most important decisions you can make during your plastic surgery journey. Plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This certification ensures that the surgeon has met rigorous academic, professional, and ethical standards and is therefore highly qualified to perform your surgery. Before choosing a plastic surgeon for your breast implant removal, you should do your research and ask questions to ensure that you feel comfortable with the decision. Ask to see a surgeon’s before and after breast implant removal images to make sure that you are happy with the results you see.

Dr. Adrian Lo is a top board-certified plastic surgeon in Philadelphia. He is a member of the Aesthetic Society (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). He is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS). Dr. Lo performs breast implant removal surgery in the safety and sterility of the Pennsylvania Hospital Tuttleman Surgery Center, Pennsylvania Hospital, and accredited surgery centers in the region.

Dr. Lo can show you before and after photos of breast implant removal patients during your consultation.

Want to Find Out More

About Breast Implant Removal Surgery in Philadelphia?

If you are interested in learning more about breast implant removal, contact Dr. Lo by calling (215) 829-6900 or by filling out our online contact form. Dr. Lo offers breast implant removal surgery for patients in the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, including the cities of Philadelphia, Marlton, Cherry Hill, and Mount Laurel.

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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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