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Is It Time to Have Your Breast Implants Replaced or Removed?

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There are several reasons you might consider for having your breast implants removed (known as an explantation) or replaced. However, before reversing or adding to what was a substantial investment, you are bound to have some questions about whether it is a prudent choice and, if so, when the most appropriate time to do it is.   

A woman crossing her arms to conceal her breasts

The following are a few of the health conditions or circumstances that may indicate that it is the right time to remove or replace your breast implants:

Capsular Contracture

Capsular contracture may be the most common complication associated with breast implants and a reason why many women have their implants removed. Others elect to have new implants placed at the same time the capsular contracture is surgically addressed.

After a breast implant is placed, fibrous tissue will naturally form around it, resulting in the creation of a “capsule.” This tissue capsule helps to keep the implant in the correct position and is generally soft and clinically inconspicuous. 

However, sometimes the capsule can become hard and restrictive, squeezing the implant and causing pain, breast shape distortion and dissatisfaction with the new breast shape.

Factors that can increase your risk of capsular contracture include: 

Breast Implant Rupture

If a leak has been detected in one of your breast implants, you’ll want to get it replaced as soon as possible. While saline implant leaks don’t lead to health concerns, they cause the implant to deflate which can result in immediate aesthetic issues. It can also result in unilateral breast skin contracture which can cause secondary asymmetries upon replacement if too much time has been allowed to pass.

Silicone implants will not deflate but older generation implants, in particular, may become misshapen and result in some silicone seepage out into the body. However, this is very uncommon with modern silicone implants because they are filled with a very cohesive gel that will stay in place even in the event of a rupture. 

You will know if your saline implant has ruptured as there will usually be an immediate and drastic decrease in size of the affected breast. With silicone breast implants, an MRI or digital ultrasound would be necessary in order to detect a loss of integrity since quite often there are no discernible changes whatsoever.  

Capsular contracture can also be caused by an implant rupture.

Age of Breast Implants

Breast implants are not permanent devices and do not last forever. However, they potentially can last up to 30 years or more. Some will lose their integrity well before this time — with the risk of rupture increasing with implant age. 

Even if they have not yet lost their integrity, some women will elect to undergo an implant exchange or an explantation for a variety of reasons.

Post-Pregnancy or Weight Fluctuations

If you become pregnant or experience weight gain and subsequent weight loss, your implants and/or breasts may sit differently in your chest. You may be able to remedy this with a simple breast lift or you can choose to remove, replace or resize your implants.

Substantial Weight Gain with Associated Increased Breast Size

After having undergone a breast augmentation, some women gain substantial amounts of weight, leading to an associated increase in their breast size. The result often is undesirable; oversized breasts can be quite symptomatic and, therefore, problematic. 

The solution for this may be either an explantation or implant exchange with a far smaller implant possibly along with a breast reduction or mastopexy. 

Breast Implant Illness

Breast implant illness (BII) is a term used to describe a range of non-specific symptoms that begin months or even years after getting breast implants in some individuals. 

While not well-understood (and debated among medical professionals), some women with implants report the following symptoms:

Some of these individuals who attribute their symptomatology to their implants will seek to undergo an explantation (and capsulectomy).

Patient Satisfaction for Breast Implant Removal

A very interesting fact nowadays is that breast implant removal surgery ranks at number two, just behind male breast reduction, for satisfaction among cosmetic surgery patients.

Learn More About Breast Implant Removal in Phoenix, AZ

If you want to learn more about having your breast implants removed, you can schedule a complimentary consultation with me, Dr. Steven Turkeltaub

Please call the Arizona Center for Breast Surgery at (480) 451-3000, or click our contact button in order to schedule your consultation. We offer a wide range of breast enhancement surgeries including explantation.