Implant Removal – Explant

You were likely excited when you first got your breast implants and enjoyed the increased size and fullness you desired before you underwent surgery. After many years of use, you now think it might be time for a change once again. Is breast implant removal the right option for you?

While breast implants offer long-lasting results, they are not designed to remain in the body permanently in most cases. There are different reasons why women might want to remove their implants, from concerns over illnesses related to the devices to just wanting to change the size and shape of the breasts.

What is Breast Implant Removal?

Breast implant removal, also known as explant surgery, is a surgical procedure that extracts the implants from the breast pocket. Most of the time, the surgeon can use the same incision locations as the original implant surgery, eliminating the need for additional scarring after your procedure. When breast implant removal is performed by an experienced breast surgeon like Dr. Barrett, the results are usually highly satisfying. The process can be performed alone or in conjunction with another treatment, such as implant replacement, fat transfer or a breast lift.

Reasons for Breast Implant Removal

Women opt to have their implants removed for a variety of reasons:

Autoimmune Symptoms

Some women have a reaction to the silicone in the implants, causing symptoms like fatigue, hair loss and joint pain. This rare side effect tends to be more common in women that had an autoimmune disease when they underwent breast implant surgery or if they have a family history of an autoimmune disorder. If you are experiencing any concerning symptoms, implant removal is an option for you.

Capsular Contracture

Capsular contracture is a more common complication associated with breast implants. It occurs when scar tissue around the implant becomes tight and hard, causing discomfort and distortion of the breast in some cases. The only way to ease the symptoms of capsular contracture is to remove the implants and the scar tissue surrounding them.


Implant ruptures are another reason why women might consider surgery to remove their implants. When a rupture occurs in a saline implant, the effects are noticeable almost immediately. Although the rupture of a silicone implant may not be visible, the implant should be removed relatively quickly to prevent the silicone from spreading to other areas of the body.


Anaplastic large cell lymphoma or ALCL is a rare cancer that has been associated with breast implants. While the disease is usually very treatable, removal of the implants and surrounding scar tissue is a necessary first step in the treatment process.

Other Concerns

There are other concerns women might have regarding their implants that would lead them to consider surgical removal. Some women are worried that the implants could interfere with their mammogram readings or make the exam more uncomfortable. Infections can also occur at any time after implants are placed, which require treatment.


Some women opt for implant removal for cosmetic reasons. They may decide they are no longer satisfied with the size or shape of the breasts and want to make a change. Others may find the additional weight on the chest leads to neck and shoulder strain. If you have become uncomfortable or self-conscious with your breasts, implant removal may be a way to rectify your issues.

Creating a Beautiful Breast After Implants

When you choose an experienced plastic surgeon for your breast implant removal, you can rest assured you will enjoy a positive cosmetic results Dr. Barrett will assess your situation and listen to your goals to ensure your outcome meets your needs and expectations. He may advise you to have a breast lift in conjunction with implant removal to maintain a perky, youthful shape and position to the breasts. Another option is to use fat transfer to add a subtle amount of natural fullness to the breasts after the implants are removed. If you want to replace your implants, Dr. Barrett has the tools and expertise to help you select new implants that will fit your ideal body shape and mesh beautifully with the rest of your body proportions.

Breast Implant Removal Overview

Breast implant removal is performed similarly to an augmentation procedure. Dr. Barrett may do you surgery using general anesthesia or local with IV sedation. Either way, you will be comfortably asleep for the procedure. He will utilize the same incisions as your first breast surgery to eliminate additional scarring. Through the incisions, he will remove the implants from the pocket, as well as surrounding scar tissue if appropriate. The outpatient operation iusually takes two to three hours to complete.

If a lift is performed at the same time as your implant removal, Dr. Barrett will excise excess, loose skin and create a more youthful shape and position to the breasts. If a fat transfer is done, it may be performed after you have healed from your explant surgery, in combination with liposuction of another area of the body like the abdomen or hips.

After Breast Implant Removal

The recovery process for implant removal is also similar to the process after augmentation surgery. You should expect to have some soreness, swelling and bruising for the first couple of weeks. Dr. Barrett will provide specific instructions on how to best care for yourself during the recovery period to ensure a safe and successful healing process. Most patients can return to light activities within one week and more strenuous exercise after about six weeks.

Dr. Barrett focuses on minimizing scar appearance during the postoperative period. He meets with all his patients weekly to monitor their recovery process and assess how the incisions are healing. Once the stitches are removed, he will tape the incisions closed for a set period. At this point, he will prescribe a patented silicone scar get to apply twice daily for three months to continue the healing process and ensure the best possible aesthetic results.

Healthy, Beautiful Breasts

The results of breast implant removal can be seen soon after the surgery and are very long-lasting. For women concerned about side effects or complications from the implants, those worries are put to rest for good. Women also enjoy an excellent aesthetic result as Dr. Barrett will work with you throughout the process to ensure your outcome meets your expectations beautifully. To learn more about breast implant removal, contact Barrett Plastic Surgery today at 310-598-2648.

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