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Breast Implant Removal or Replacement St. Louis

Women request implant removal or revision for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they desire a larger size, want to convert from saline to silicone, or they want to change the shape of the breast and update their implants at the same time. Although breast implant technology has improved dramatically over the years, they are still man-made devices and not meant to last forever. Depending on your age at the time of implant placement, you may need the device removed or replaced at some point in time. This may be due to implant rupture, developing a contracture of the capsule, or sometimes women just want their implants removed for personal reasons.

Your surgeion will help guide you on the best options for restoring your breast goals. This may be removal and replacement with a similar, larger, or smaller implant. Other times this may involve removal without replacement. Additional breast shaping with a breast lift, or even fat transfer can help meet the desired look.

To learn more about implant removal options, call Chesterfield Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at (314) 205-6420.

QUICK FACTS:

  • Length: 30-90 minutes per breast
  • Anesthesia: General
  • Outpatient surgery – home the same day
  • Recovery: 3-7 days
  • Side Effects: Bruising, swelling. Minimal discomfort.

IMPLANT REMOVAL OR REVISION CAN:

  • Remove ruptured implant material
  • Remove areas of calcification or silicone granuloma
  • Allow reshaping or resizing of the breast

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PREPARING FOR BREAST IMPLANT REMOVAL OR REVISION

Smoking and all forms of nicotine should be stopped at least 4 weeks prior to any breast reshaping. This includes e-cigarrettes, patches, and gum.

Any medications and supplements which cause an increased risk of bleeding should also be stopped 2 weeks prior to any major surgery. Please see our list of medications and supplements to avoid. As always, make sure to check with your doctor before stopping any medications.

Medications to avoid

BREAST IMPLANT REMOVAL OR REPLACEMENT TECHINQUE:

Our surgeons will typically remove your implant(s) using your prior scar or a well-concealed incision in your breast fold. If the breast is being reshaped with a breast lift, additional incisions will need to be placed around your nipple to return this to the desired position. Thin drainage tubes will be inserted to help remove any fluid during your initial healing process. Several layers of absorbable sutures will be used to meticulously close your incisions, followed by a medical skin glue. You will be placed in a postoperative bra that will need to be worn at all times other than bathing for the first 6 weeks to help support the breasts while they heal.

RECOVERY FROM BREAST IMPLANT REMOVAL

Implant removal and/or replacement is performed on an outpatient basis. Patients will have some discomfort, but typically this procedure is not overly painful. Drainage tubes are removed within 1-2 weeks when the daily fluid output has decreased to acceptable levels. Plan to take 3-5 days off of work. Light exercise can typically be resumed in 2-3 weeks, with return to full activities in 4-6 weeks. The recovery may be a little different if additional shaping or filling procedures are performed concurrently. You can often shower within 24-48 hours after your surgery.


**Warning. Graphic content. Video is of actual surgeries showing removal of ruptured silicone implants. This video is for educational purposes.**


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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you Have a Question?

Symptoms suggestive of a ruptured implant may include hard lumps around the breast or armpit, a change in size or shape of the breast or implant, swelling, tingling, or pain. If any of these are experienced, the implant needs to be evaluated further by a board certified plastic surgeon. Other times the rupture may be “silent” without noticeable symptoms. Thus it is recommended to undergo implant exams at least every other year. The FDA also recommends a breast MRI to evaluate for rupture starting 3 years after the implant was placed, and every other year thereafter.
Silicone is not harmful for the body. However, the body does not recognize it as part of its “self” and will either try and remove the silicone through the immune system or wall it off with scar tissue. Soon after knowledge of a breast implant rupture, our surgeons recommend having it removed. This will make the removal process easier, and minimize any secondary breast irregularities incurred from removal of scar tissue.
The average life span of a saline implant is estimated around 8-13 years. Thus many patients desire replacement of the implant around this time in an elective manner, rather than waiting for a deflated breast to occur. Silicone implants will typically last much longer, but patients still often desire a size change, implant upgrade, or concurrent breast reshaping around this point in time.
This depends on a number of factors including the size of the breasts prior to augmentation, the size of the implant, how long it has been present, your tissue elasticity, and weight fluctuations. Larger implants present for a longer time will often develop excess skin after removal that will need to be reshaped with a breast lift.

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