Explantation: Permanent Breast Implant Removal in Breast Revision Surgery

Most women who have breast implants, whether they were placed for a breast augmentation, a breast lift or in breast reconstruction, are quite happy with the beneficial contribution to their appearance. In fact, they can’t and don’t want to imagine being without them, particularly when they are faced with circumstances where their implants need to either be replaced or removed in breast revision surgery.

I have had many patients in their seventies and even eighties that told me, in no uncertain terms, that they wanted their (ruptured) breast implants replaced with new ones and not just permanently removed. They could not nor would not imagine life without them.

There are situations, however, where a woman who has breast implants decides that she no longer wants or needs them. The decision can be affected by a more acute issue directly related to her implant(s) such as a deflation or to other factors. She can then elect to have them surgically removed, a procedure technically known as an explantation.

Listed below are some of the more common (but not only) reasons that a woman would want to have her implant(s) removed:

A)    Rupture or deflation of an implant with no desire to replace it
B)    Capsular contracture – hardness that has developed around the implant, and which can be associated with deformity and discomfort
C)     Breast size is too large at this particular time in her life, not infrequently, a result of considerable weight gain and concomitant breast enlargement over the years
D)    Unattractive changes in the appearance of the breasts over time, particularly in association with breast implants that had been placed in front of the muscle and with significant drooping of the breasts
E)    No longer wants larger breasts
F)    With breast reconstruction – not very happy with the outcome or has had multiple untoward issues that involve the implants – and just wants to move on

The following 36 year old patient of mine is a fairly typical example of an explantation. She consulted with me due to the marked deformities of her breasts and the problems that she had been experiencing for years related to her breast implants. These had been placed above the muscle by a physician who was not a plastic surgeon (photos A, C and E).

A) Deformed breasts prior to explantation

A) Deformed breasts prior to explantation

B) After explantation - frontal view

B) After explantation – frontal view

C) Before explantation - side view

C) Before explantation – side view

D) After explantation - side view

D) After explantation – side view

E) Before - oblique view

E) Before explantation – oblique view

F) After explantation - oblique view

F) After explantation – oblique view

She subsequently underwent a bilateral explantation (implant removal) that was virtually pain free for her. In short order, there was a marked improvement in the appearance of her breasts, resolution of her discomfort and no need to be restricted in the clothes that she could wear (photos B, D and F).

For more information on explantations, breast implant exchange or on any other plastic surgery procedure that I perform, you can contact my office at 480-451-3000.

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

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