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As I have discussed previously, the vast majority of women who have had breast implants placed for a breast augmentation, in association with a breast lift or to a lesser extent, in breast reconstruction, are quite happy with the improvements in their appearance and couldn’t imagine living without them. Not only do they provide a more attractive or normal appearance but they also help to improve one’s emotional well–being such as relates to confidence, quality and extent of social interactions, satisfaction and happiness.

It is not surprising then that most women, when faced with the decision of either replacing them (implant exchange) or just having them removed permanently (explantation), will elect to have new ones put in.

What are the reasons that a woman would elect to have her implants removed permanently?

There are several possible reasons (or combination of them) that lead to a woman arriving at this decision. The more common ones for this breast revision surgery are:

1) One or both breast implants are ruptured/deflated and for a variety of reasons (higher cost; possible need for future surgery; ample breast tissue now present) elects not to replace it/them.
2) Development of capsular contracture (hardness around the implants that can be deforming and painful/uncomfortable) – for some of the same reasons as in #1.
3) The present breast size is far too large than desired at this point in her life – often as a consequence of considerable weight gain over time with associated substantial breast growth.
4) Marked deterioration in breast appearance over time due to skin laxity and drooping and compounded by specific issues related to breast implants both in front of as well as behind the pectoralis muscle.
5) Breast size and appearance are no longer very important issues
6) Either not satisfied with the results from breast reconstruction or worn out from having undergone numerous procedures and still having issues – and just wants to permanently put all of this behind her.

The following patient of mine well illustrates the reasons for and the results from undergoing an explantation.:

This 65 year old woman had a breast augmentation performed elsewhere more than 30 years ago and was very happy with the results for nearly all of this time. Recently, she began developing increasing hardness of her breasts followed later by discomfort and then redness (photos A, C and E). Mammograms indicated that her implants were ruptured.

A) Before breast implant removal - frontal view

A) Before breast implant removal – frontal view

B) After implant removal - frontal view

B) After breast implant removal – frontal view

C) Before implant removal - side view

C) Before breast implant removal – side view

D) After breast implant removal - side view

D) After breast implant removal – side view

E) Before breast implant removal - oblique view

E) Before breast implant removal – oblique view

F) After breast implant removal - oblique view

F) After breast implant removal – oblique view

After consulting with me, she elected to proceed with an explantation (for several of the reasons listed above). This was performed without any problems and completely alleviated the pain, redness and firmness that she was experiencing (photos B, D and F).

She was very happy both with her decision to remove the implants as well as the results of the surgery.

If you would like more information on breast explantation, breast revision surgery in general or on any other plastic surgery procedure that I perform, please call my office at 480-451-3000

Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona

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