The Surgeon Minute

Breast Implant Removal Options

Breast Implant Removal Options

Many women who had breast augmentations done in their 20’s decide in their 40’s that they want a different look. Typically, these patients want to go smaller and simply exchange their larger implant for one with less volume. On the other hand, others – particularly patients 40 and above – want complete breast implant removal.

Breast implant removal is a surgical procedure to remove breast implants. Often, it is as simple as that. If aesthetic goals are still paramount, some patients will have a lift performed after removal to restore a perky look to their breasts. Additionally, some may also benefit from a bit of fat to boost volume.

Dr. Charles Messa of Weston, FL discusses the various options available today with breast implant removal, as well as who is an ideal candidate.

Why Breast Implant Removal?

Over decades of experience in private practice, Dr. Messa has seen many patients who had their initial breast implants placed when they were young. What worked for them aesthetically in their 20’s may no longer be the look that they want in their 40’s. Furthermore, factors of life over time can stretch out the skin and tissues of the breast. These include:

  • Father Time
  • pregnancy
  • weight gain/loss
  • hormonal changes

The end result is a breast that no longer looks aesthetically pleasing. For a patient who doesn’t mind the breast implant itself, they may exchange their implants for a different size. However, quite a few patients, especially those over 40, are no longer happy with a breast implant in their body. For them, full breast implant removal is the solution.

Breast implant removal results.

Breast Implant Removal & Breast Lift

Depending on the amount of breast tissue you have and your skin laxity, breast implant removal surgery can be as simple as just removing your breast implants. However, some patients become too deflated once the implant is gone. Maybe the skin and tissues have stretched with time, weight gain, pregnancy, and hormonal changes, or maybe they’ve stretched due to your initial implant being too large. Regardless, in order to restore a nice shape to your breasts, it may be necessary to combine your breast implant removal surgery with a breast lift, or maxtopexy. This can be done simultaneously “very safely and with a very good result,” shares Dr Messa.

Adding Fat to the Equation

In some cases, breast implant removal with a maxtopexy will not be sufficient. Once the implant is removed, the remaining breast volume is too small for the patient’s anatomy. With these cases, Dr. Messa will add a bit of a patient’s own fat, known as autologous fat transfer, or fat grafting.

This combination of removing the implant, lifting the breast and adding fat to restore volume can make the breast look full and more attractive. And while scarring is involved with breast lifts, the incisions around the breast typically heal very well. Today with breast implant removal surgery, patients can alleviate concerns about having breast implants without having to sacrifice the volume or shape of their breasts.

Who is the Breast Implant Removal Candidate?

Dr. Messa sees a wide variety of patients for breast implant removal surgery. Most are older and have had their implants for more than 8-10 years. While many have not necessarily had issues with their breast implants, they no longer feel comfortable with a foreign body in their body. They want their implants removed – not replaced – because they do not want to have to deal with a breast implant anymore.

Some of these patients had their initial implants when they were young and have since had children, which made their breasts larger. Other breasts may have grown due to post menopausal changes and weight gain. “So, now instead of having a nice C cup, they have a DD or DDD,” says Dr. Messa.

Which Procedure is Right for You?

Figuring out which procedure is right is going to depend on a number of factors. First is the patient’s anatomy. Is there enough breast tissue to get away with breast implant removal surgery alone? Second is the desired aesthetic result. Is the patient OK with breasts that may sag ,or would they rather restore them to a higher, more youthful looking place on the chest wall? Are they willing to put up with a bit scarring in order to have a nicer shape to the breasts?

Bottom line, the right procedure is going to depend on the patient. As Dr. Messa explains, “it’s very much an individual approach based on patient expectations and goals and their own individual anatomy.”

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