Every year more than 300,000 women opt for breast augmentation surgery in the United States; it’s the most popular plastic surgery procedure. However, others are rushing to remove or reduce their ‘aging’ breasts implants. With what’s being called ‘explant’ surgery on the rise, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Chet Mays outlines the options for women who have the desire to downsize.
What’s Driving the Desire to Downsize?
It may be a mix of anxiety over medical concerns, or a desire for a more ‘athletic look,’ but, whatever the reason, there’s a very real change in the works when it comes to breast implants. Women in growing numbers are removing their breast implants, and it may be partly out of fear, according to Dr. Mays. “The FDA (Food and Drug Administration), which regulates all kinds of devices, has put out there that women need to change breast implants every 10 years, which is not true.”
Mays says there is a misconception that just because you hit the ‘decade’ mark with breast implants that you need to make a switch. “Some might not be having any issues with their breast implants, or some might love their breasts, but they think that because 10 years have gone by they need to get them out,” he shares. “It’s not the case because if they aren’t having problems, they don’t need to do anything.”
What Are The Options?
There’s a wide variety of options available for women who elect to remove implants to avoid potential problems like rupture or deflation, which reports indicate can happen in about 10 to 25 percent of silicone gel and saline implants once they reach a certain age. Mays says for women who have decided to ‘reduce their bust’ there is an abundance of choices for downsizing, upsizing, or even removal. “There are plenty of good options for women who don’t want their implants anymore,” he explains. “Some women want them out completely because they want their breasts back and they are tired of having a foreign body inside of their body.”
“Not everyone is downsizing – some women want a larger look,” adds Mays. He says some women want to up-size with a bigger breast implant, or by utilizing fat grafting to the breast. Mays says for those who want to remove the breast implant, it will leave behind a deflated cavity that needs to be filled. “I do something called the internal bra. This is helpful because it takes a breast that’s been deflated and supports it from the inside with no scars on the outside.” The technique is described as mimicking the support of a push-up bra to remedy sagging. Mays says the internal bra helps give shape to the breast for women who no longer want implants.
The Natural Look
Many women seeking to downsize and/or remove their implants would really like to be left with natural-looking results. “Women who want to keep some volume and have some breast tissue there, I can do something called ‘auto-augmentation,’ which allows me to use their breast tissue that’s still there over the top of the implant,” shares Mays. He says the procedure allows for some volume without an implant – which is the natural look that some women want.
“I’ll take out the implant and do a breast lift or a mastopexy and that’s where I preserve all the breast tissue and really bring that into the upper portion of the chest to give them that cleavage even though they don’t have breast implants. It’s really a good look.” He says fat grafting is another good option. “Fat grafting is very popular. It’s basically an organic breast augmentation. You are using your own natural fat cells and building breasts out of that,” says Mays. He says not everyone is a candidate for every procedure, but explains there is most likely a procedure that will work for every patient.
“It starts with seeing a board certified plastic surgeon and seeing what type of implant is in there and what is required. It really comes down to the patient and what her goals are. We will tailor the surgical procedure to the outcome she wants,” Mays says.