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What is breast implant removal?

Breast implant removal, also called explant surgery, removes devices placed during breast augmentation. In some cases, the surgeon can reuse the same incisions, reducing overall discomfort, scarring, and downtime. Other times, a more complex capsulectomy may need to be performed in cases of injury or illness.

Once the implants are removed, the chest appearance may need to be addressed in order to achieve a natural, seamless result. Dr. Wirth can perform fat transfer or mastopexy techniques to beautifully enhance the bust with organic-looking curves and minimal side effects.

What are the most common reasons for breast implant removal?

A desire to go smaller or larger

Some patients may find that their needs were not served through their original augmentation surgery, and they wish to swap out their implants for larger or smaller devices. They may have experienced discomfort or irritation due to oversized implants.

Capsular contracture

This condition can occur when the scar tissue around the implant hardens and contracts, causing cosmetic distortion as well as pain for the patient. Implants may appear asymmetrical.

Ruptured implants

While rare, a rupture can occur in both saline and silicone implants. Deflation will be obvious with saline implants, but with silicone, the patient may need to undergo an MRI or ultrasound to properly diagnose the leak.

Implant malposition

When an implant migrates left, right, up, or down, it is called malposition. This may occur due to inferior surgical techniques or because of weight gain/loss, aging, or pregnancy.

Implant rippling

In women with thin breast skin, it may be difficult to conceal the implant edges from view. Those with larger implants may also experience stretched skin that leads to rippling.

BII (Breast Implant Illness)

BII is a collection of maladies, including headaches, pain, concentration problems, and nausea that impair the patient’s quality of life. Often, implant removal leads to swift relief from symptoms.

BIA-ALCA (Breast Implants-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma)

This medical concern is linked to the use of textured implants and is typically resolved through implant removal via an en bloc capsulectomy.

What can I expect from the procedure?

Implant removal is usually performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Dr. Wirth will select the most technically appropriate approach for your unique concerns, using subtlety and artistry to achieve a natural look.

Whenever possible, Dr. Wirth will aim to reuse the incisions created during primary breast augmentation in order to minimize post-operative scarring and recovery time. Once the implants are removed, the doctor will address the remaining scar tissue and determine if all or a portion of it needs to be excised. He may perform a total, partial, or en bloc capsulectomy as needed.

Dr. Wirth may utilize additional techniques to ensure a final outcome that is balanced, natural, and aesthetically pleasing. Fat transfer can be employed to give the breasts a soft, rounded appearance and a subtle boost in volume. A breast lift may also help to elevate and reshape the chest.

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What are the benefits of breast implant removal?

  • A more natural, subtle chest appearance
  • Relief from discomfort
  • Correction of implant complications
  • Improved overall health and well-being
  • Enhanced breast symmetry
  • Renewed energy and stamina
  • A boost in self-confidence

Who makes a good candidate for the procedure?

  • You wish to restore your original cup size
  • You desire to switch your implants for different ones
  • You are struggling with complications from your augmentation procedure
  • You are mentally and physically healthy
  • You are a non-smoker
  • You have a realistic, positive attitude towards your surgery

What can I expect after my treatment?

You’ll need to have a friend or family member drive you home after surgery and assist you with basic chores and childcare for the first 24 hours. Dr. Wirth will ensure you leave with prescription pain medications and a detailed, personalized aftercare plan. He will provide instructions for sleeping, bathing, caring for your incisions, driving again, resuming exercise, and going back to work. 

Minor swelling, bruising, and tenderness may occur, but these symptoms are typically less pronounced than with the initial augmentation surgery. Most patients return to work within the first week after their treatment. However, strenuous exercise and heavy lifting should be postponed for 3-4 weeks, or as recommended by Dr. Wirth.

woman in black lace bra

Why choose Dr. Wirth?

Dr. Wirth is a board-certified authority in the field of breast surgery, delivering thoughtful, elegant outcomes that are perfectly tailored with each patient’s unique anatomy, wishes, and goals in mind. Dr. Wirth is frequently sought after as a mentor and educator due to his advanced, innovative techniques, and he serves as a Professor of Plastic Surgery at the Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery Institute at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center. He passes along his knowledge through industry literature and teaching, empowering the next generation of plastic surgeons to achieve their potential.

Dr. Wirth received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Albany Medical College before pursuing a demanding residency in general surgery. He then completed advanced training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of California – Irvine Medical Center. 

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