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Guide To Cosmetic Surgery - Breast Implant Removal
Breast implant removal surgery
Breast implants are very safe and last for a quite a number of years. However, they don’t last forever and there are occasions when the implants may need to be removed or replaced altogether.
The 3 main reasons are:
- Capsular contracture
- Rupture or leakage
- Change in shape or size
Other reasons include the implant rippling, rotating or shifting out of position. In a few rare cases, the pocket where the implant is contained bursts open and the implant itself can be seen.
And, there are cases where the woman is unhappy with the size of the implants and wants to exchange them. This can be because the current ones are too big or too small. She may also feel that they are too high or are not ‘natural’ looking.
If the woman has chosen the saline implant and this ruptures then deflation will happen fairly quickly. It will soon become apparent that this has happened as the implant will become softer and smaller.
With the silicone gel implant any leakage will collect in the capsule or pocket and this will not be as noticeable. The patient may, or may not notice any change in their implants.
Suitability for breast implant removal
Women in the 19 to 34 age range are most likely to have breast implant removal surgery. This is because of any physical symptoms associated with the implant such as capsular contracture.
There may be psychological reasons for removal such as unhappiness with the implants, fear of implants or wanting bigger/smaller implants.
It is usually carried out on those women who have saline filled implants. It is not advised for women who have the silicone gel variety as it is more risky to remove these than to leave them where they are.
Preparing for surgery
What to do before surgery will be discussed between you and the surgeon. He or she will give you a set of instructions on how to prepare which will include when to have your last meal, what medicines you can take and what allergies you have (if any).
It is important that you follow these as well any post-surgery advice. These are designed to help you get the best results you can from the procedure. They are also there to ensure your safety and to minimise any complications.
Your preparation will include arranging time off from work and having everything in place for when you arrive back home. Having a ‘to do’ list can help here.
On that list include the following:
- Ready made meals or cook and prepare enough meals to last you for a few days. Cooking is something you won’t feel like doing after surgery.
- An ample supply of medications, painkillers, dressings, gauze, bandages and scar reducing creams. Arnica Gel and Bromelain are good remedies for reducing swelling and bruising but check with your surgeon first.
- Ask your partner or a member of your family to come and help out the first few days after your surgery.
- Soft pillows and blankets – to ward off any chills.
- Light snacks and bottled water.
- Normal household items placed within easy reach.
- Ask someone to drive you to the hospital, and to take you home afterwards.
- Magazines, books, CD’s and the TV remote control
- Contact details for your surgeon and/or the hospital.
- A special surgical bra which fastens up at the front or a sports bra.
- Loose clothing such as pyjamas or a jogging suit.
The breast implant removal procedure
Incisions will be made either underneath the breast – in the natural crease, or the armpit or areola. The capsule around the implant is cut open and the implant removed.
If the implant is the saline type then it may be deflated before removal.
If the implant is the silicone version then it will be checked carefully before removal.
If the implant is NOT going to be replaced then the capsule (scar tissue) will also be removed. If not then it will be left in place.
The incisions are then closed with stitches and support bandages are put in place.
This surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic or IV sedation and requires an overnight stay in hospital. It may be possible for it to be done as day surgery but this depends upon the surgeon.
For the first 2 to 3 days you can expect to tired and off colour which can be a normal reaction to a general anaesthetic. Surgery can place a fair amount of stress on the body and your body needs time to rest and recover.
For the first few days, get as much rest as you can. Your chest area will feel sore and bruised and there may be some pain. You will have been given pain relief to deal with this. Ice packs and soft pillows can help.
Avoid any lifting, bending and stretching. Ask someone to help you out at home during this time. If you have children then ask your partner or family member to look after them just for the first few days.
This equally applies if you have a pet or pets.
You may not feel like eating but it is a good idea to have some light snacks and plenty of fluids such as bottled water. Have fresh fruit and vegetables as these will help with your recovery.
Keep the surgical area clean in order to avoid any infections but do not submerge the area under water. Have showers rather than a bath. Avoid spraying any deodorant or putting any lotion on these scars.
Avoid any physical activities and sports during this time. Gentle walking is permissible.
Take a week off work. If your job involves any physical activity then wait for 2 weeks before returning to work. When you return take things easy before resuming your normal workload.
Complications of breast implant removal
All surgery is risky and there are complications with all types of procedures. Complications are rare but do happen and this is something you need to take into account.
Complications include a bad reaction to anaesthesia, infection, bleeding, pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs), haematoma (blood clot under the skin) and scarring.
There is also the possibility of breast asymmetry. If the implant has been removed and not replaced then there is the chance that the breasts will be unbalanced or misshapen.
If this happens then further surgery will be needed to correct this. Another option is breast uplift surgery.