Removal of breast implants
Breast implants can be removed relatively easily and there are many reasonable reasons why someone may wish their implants to be removed. The main issues to consider are:
- When implants are removed, the scar tissue that has formed around them (capsule) and any other unhealthy tissue related to the implant also has to be removed.
- Over time, because of the implants, the overlying breast tissue and skin will have stretched and is often quite thin. There may therefore be little remaining tissue in some parts of the breast, particularly in the upper part.
- You may wish to consider having a breast lift at the same time as the implants are removed. This 'makes the most' of the remaining tissue and tries to create the best breast shape possible with what is left after the implants and capsule are removed.
- Other ways of enhancing the appearance after removal of breast implants that can be performed at the same time (or later) are:
- Fat grafting - This involves taking some fat from another part of the body (by liposuction) and grafting it into the breast. This can achieve a bit of 'plumping up' of the remaining breast. It can be repeated to add additional volume.
- Auto-augmentation using flaps (own tissue) - The tissue most suitable for transfer into the breast is the roll of tissue at the side of the chest. This tissue can be transferred into the breast with its blood supply (the LTAP flap). For this you have to accept quite long scars on each side of the chest. In some women this tissue can replace all the volume of the implants.
- If the previous scars are used to remove the implants, they usually need to be made slightly bigger to allow removal of the implants and capsule.
- Drains will be inserted at surgery and may stay in 2 or 3 days.
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