Breast Implant Removal Pittsburgh
Many patients today are opting to remove their breast implants for several reasons. Some patients have gained weight, their breasts have enlarged with time, and the implants may no longer be needed. Others may feel that the implants no longer “fit their body” and want to restore more of an athletic look. There are also a growing number of patients that feel that their implants may be negatively affecting their overall wellbeing. Whatever the reason, patients need to know what options are available to keep an aesthetically pleasing look to their breasts once the implant is gone.
BREAST IMPLANT REMOVAL PROCEDURE
This surgery, also known as EXPLANTATION involves making a small incision (usually under the breasts or around the areola) and the implant is withdrawn. This is usually a straightforward procedure for saline and intact silicone gel implants, but can be more involved if the implant being removed is a broken gel implant. In this case, the silicone gel (the stuff inside the implant) has to be removed in addition to the implant shell, which is very doable but takes more time. SIMPLE EXPLANTATION is just removal of the implant (and the stuff inside) and does not include removal of the capsule.
The capsule is the fibrous membrane that the human body normally develops around a breast implant. Some people make a thin stretchy capsule, while some make one that is thicker and less pliable. CAPSULECTOMY means removal of this fibrous tissue, and is sometimes done in conjunction with implant removal. A PARTIAL CAPSULECTOMY removes some, whereas COMPLETE CAPSULECTOMY removes all. An EN BLOC CAPSULECTOMY is a procedure that entails removal of implant and surrounding capsule together. There are pros and cons to these options, and implant location (in front of or behind the pectoralis muscle) plays a key role and Dr. Pautler can elaborate on what the best option is for each patient. Sometimes the capsule doesn’t need to be removed at all, whereas is some cases it may be advisable to remove all or as much as possible.
Dr. Pautler usually puts a small drainage catheter for a few days after implant removal with or without capsulectomy to speed healing and close down the implant space. Oral antibiotics are administered for the duration of the catheter placement. Recovery is approximately 2 weeks, and most regular activities, including vigorous exercise, can be resumed after 3 weeks.
WHAT WILL MY BREASTS LOOK LIKE AFTER THE IMPLANTS ARE OUT????
The answer varies from patient to patient, and depends on the volume of the implant removed, how long the implants were in, and how much pre-existing breast tissue there is. Also, patient age, tissue quality, and weight fluctuations also play a role. Bottom line: the thicker the breast envelope, and the smaller the removed implant is, the better the breasts will look after. FEW patients can have their implants removed and not need any other additional breast procedures. Thin patients with large implants will most likely need an additional procedure to restore an aesthetically pleasing shape to their breasts.
A MASTOPEXY, or breast lift, is a procedure that removes loose skin, but retains all breast tissue. Please refer to the mastopexy section of this website for additional details. The majority of patients who have their implants removed will need some element of skin tightening, or lift, to reduce the laxity of the skin that accommodated the implant.
FAT TRANSFER is another procedure that can be done to enhance the look of the explanted breast. Fat is gently removed from the thighs, belly, or back, and collected in a sterile system that allows it to separate from oil, blood and other body fluids. The fat is then injected into the breast envelope to provide more volume to the stretched out tissue. The fat is NOT injected into the space where the implant was, rather, it is carefully spaced out and grafted into the layer between the breast skin and capsule. Some patients can have both fat grafting and mastopexy to maximize the volume and aesthetics of the breast shape.
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
If you are contemplating implant removal, Dr. Pautler can discuss with you the options available, show you pictures of other patients’ before and after photos, and help guide your decision. For more information or to make a consultation, please contact Dr Pautler’s Plastic Surgery Practice near Pittsburgh.