The decision to remove breast implants is highly personal, often influenced by different factors such as complications, lifestyle changes, or personal reasons. This decision usually comes with many questions that need to be addressed. One of the most pressing of these is what to expect after breast implant removal. This guide provides an in-depth look at the breast explant journey post-surgery, helping you understand the process and set realistic expectations.
Understanding Breast Implant Removal
To fully understand what happens after the procedure, it is essential first to comprehend the nature of the breast implant removal process. Often undertaken in a hospital setting, the procedure is typically conducted by a board-certified plastic surgeon and involves extracting or replacing pre-existing implants. The specifics of the operation are determined by various factors, including the rationale for removing the implants, the health status of the patient, and the surgeon’s professional expertise and judgment.
Why Consider Breast Implant Removal?
Hardening scar tissue around the implants, known as capsular contracture, can cause discomfort or distort the appearance of the breasts, making removal a necessity. Other potential reasons include leakages, calcium buildup around the implant, autoimmune reactions, and even necrosis or tissue death.
Changes in body shape due to age, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or weight fluctuations can also impact the appearance of implants, leading some individuals to opt for removal. Lastly, some people choose to have their implants removed simply because they no longer desire them or because they wish to alter their implant size based on changing aesthetic goals.
The Procedure Explained
The removal process begins with a consultation where a board-certified plastic surgeon discusses reasons for wanting the implants removed or replaced and desired post-surgery outcomes. A comprehensive health evaluation is also conducted to identify potential risks or complications.
On the day of the surgery, you will be placed under general anesthesia or sedation to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free throughout the procedure. An incision is then made to access the breast implant, typically under the breast or around the nipple’s areola complex.
The procedure can take two forms: removing the implant and part of the scar tissue (partial capsulectomy) formed around it or opting to remove the entire capsule (total capsulectomy). If opting for a total capsulectomy it can be possible to remove the implant and the capsule together in an en-bloc technique however this is not always possible due to a number of variables. The decision on which method to utilize is based on your unique circumstances and consultation with your board-certified plastic surgeon.
Once the removal is complete, the incisions are closed using sutures, adhesives, or clips. If any further aesthetic work such as breast lift or fat grafting is chosen, this will be completed at this time. Dressings or bandages will then be applied to the incision sites, and in some cases, small tubes or drains are positioned to enable excess fluid or blood to escape, reducing swelling.
After the surgery, you will be moved to a recovery room, where healthcare professionals will closely monitor your vital signs, pain levels, and potential complications. You will receive specific instructions on incision site care, medications, safe bathing practices, and signs of potential complications. Once deemed fit by your surgeon, you will be allowed to go home, although you will need someone else to drive you due to the effects of anesthesia or sedatives.
The Recovery Journey: What to Expect after Breast Implant Removal
Once you are back home, the journey to recovery truly begins. Your surgeon will provide a comprehensive aftercare plan to optimize healing and ensure the best possible results.
The Initial Recovery Phase
The first few days post-surgery are crucial. Your activities will be significantly limited, with exertion restricted to light movement around the house. Limiting your activity is especially important if the removal procedure is accompanied by a breast lift, which could prolong the recovery duration and result in feelings of tightness or heaviness in the breasts.
During this period, it is vital to strictly adhere to your surgeon’s instructions for wound care and medication. Regular check-ups will be scheduled to assess your healing process and adjust the care plan.
Transitioning Back to Normal Activities
As your recovery progresses, you’ll gradually be able to resume normal activities. Here is a general timeline for reference:
- Day 3: Start becoming more active to prevent blood clots and constipation.
- Day 5 – 2 Weeks: Depending on your type of work and how your recovery is progressing, you may be able to return to work during this period.
- 2 Weeks: Gradually reintroduce light exercise or housework into your routine. However, avoid any vigorous activities that could disrupt the healing process.
- 6 Weeks: If your recovery is on track, you should be able to resume your usual activities and exercise regimen.
Everyone’s recovery rate varies, and these timelines should only be used as a guideline. Always consult with your surgeon before resuming any activities post-surgery.
Life After Implant Removal: Aesthetic Considerations
Once your implants are removed, your breasts may not look the same as before the augmentation. The skin may stretch to accommodate the implants, leading to potential sagging, drooping, or misshaping post-removal.
To address this, many individuals opt for additional procedures, such as a breast lift or fat grafting, to improve the overall appearance of their breasts. These procedures can help achieve firmer, more elevated breasts without needing implants. These procedures can be done safely at the time of implant removal and often this leads to the best results.
Financial Aspects: Understanding Costs
The cost of breast implant removal surgery can vary widely based on the surgeon’s expertise, geographical location, and procedure specifics.
Radiance Plastic Surgery in Canmore, Alberta, offers financing options for eligible patients. Our estimated costs for Breast Implant Removal or Revision start at $6500. The overall cost may vary depending on whether a total capsulectomy is requested and if contouring to the breast shape is needed due to volume loss from the implant, such as a breast lift or fat grafting.
Deciding to undergo breast implant removal is a significant decision that comes with its own set of expectations, recovery periods, and potential complications. Understanding what to expect after breast implant removal allows you to make informed decisions, set realistic expectations, and confidently navigate your recovery journey. Always remember that every individual’s experience is unique, and your post-removal journey will be as unique as you are. Trust in the expertise of your surgeon, follow their advice and look forward to a new chapter in your life.