Implant removal (or explant surgery) is an option for patients who are having problems with their breast implants, or who now simply prefer to be implant-free.
Regardless if breast implants are placed for cosmetic enhancement or for breast reconstruction following a mastectomy, patients can sometimes experience a variety of complications including:
- Capsular contracture
- Visible implant rippling (the appearance of "waves" or "creases" under the skin)
- Implant rupture
- Breast Implant Illness (BII)
- Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), or significant fear of developing the disease
The procedure removes the implant, usually along with part or all of the surrounding scar capsule. When performed alone, explant surgery can be performed as an outpatient. The incision used to remove the implant is usually based on the patient's prior surgical history. This should be discussed prior to surgery as significant scarring or contracture around the implant may require a larger incision. The amount of capsule that needs to be removed in conjunction with explant surgery is influenced by several factors (eg diagnosis, surgical plan, patient preferences, etc), and is determined on a case-by-case basis.
For breast reconstruction patients who are removing their implants and desire to have alternative, natural reconstruction (like the DIEP flap), the implant is removed and the remaining space in the breast pocket is easily filled with the autologous tissue during the same procedure in the vast majority of cases.