Breast Implant Removal

Breast Implant Removal

Breast Implant Removal in Long Beach, CA

As time passes, our attitudes about fashion, health, and fitness inevitably change. Today, some women who once desired augmented breasts find themselves searching for a different aesthetic a few years out from their initial surgery.

Whatever the reason you find yourself wondering about breast implant removal in California, rest assured Waltzman Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery can help. We work closely with you to determine whether you will follow your era of implants with fat transfer breast augmentation, a trim breast lift or an exchange for different, more sophisticated implants.

Why Consider Breast Implant Removal?

Women today are seeking breast implant removal for three reasons: lifestyle changes, aesthetic changes, and health precautions.

Common lifestyle changes behind breast implant removal include:

  • the start of a more active lifestyle
  • the adoption of a healthy outlook that doesn’t involve implants

Aesthetic concerns leading to breast implant removal include:

  • displacement of the original implant, leading to a skewed or non-symmetrical appearance
  • patient gain or loss of weight. These fluctuations unbalance the implants and the body leading.

Medical reasons driving breast implant removal may include: 

  • pain or illness associated with the implants
  • leakage of an implant
  • infection
  • breast cancer
  • capsular contracture – when the scar tissue surrounding the implant thickens and hardens
  • in some highly unlikely cases, the formation of the rare BIA-ALCL lymphoma which has been associated with the Allergan BioCell textured implant.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, it is worth speaking to a plastic surgeon to explore your options.

Are There Different Types of Breast Implant Removal?

Depending on the reason for breast implant removal, one of two techniques will be used – simple removal or en bloc removal.

Simple Breast Implant Removal

In the cases where patients want implants removed only due to a change in their lifestyle or attitude (not a medical issue), a simple breast implant removal suffices. In these cases, no complications with the implant or the surrounding tissue are present.  The surgeon simply re-opens the initial incisions and removes only the implant.

En bloc Breast Implant Removal

Not all breast implant removals are simple, however. Sometimes, after breast augmentation, the body surrounds the implant with tissue. This response occurs with all devices inserted into the body – pacemakers, artificial joints and more. These tissues cause no problem in the majority of cases.

However, sometimes with breast augmentation, the tissues accumulating around the implant build to the point that they encapsulate it and even put pressure on it. This pressure causes rippling and hardening, and is called “capsular contracture.” Sometimes, the pressure is enough to rupture the implant. Silicone can come into contact with the capsule, taking with it “biofilm,” skin cells, proteins and bacteria that can cause the immune system to cause swelling in the area.

With en bloc implant removal, surgeons are careful to keep the capsule surrounding the implant intact so no biofilm can escape. The surgeon removes the implant and capsule together—en bloc means “as a whole.”

With traditional breast implant removal, the surgeon cuts into the capsule, removes the implant and then removes as much of the capsule afterwards. When the capsule is thin, removing it all is almost impossible. The body can absorb some of the remaining tissue.

In both simple and en bloc removals, the procedure and recovery process will be very similar to your original breast augmentation.

What can I Expect Before, During, and After the Surgery?

Before the Surgery

During your consultation with Dr. Waltzman, you will discuss why you want the procedure and what you hope to achieve from it. Understanding your ideals and motivation helps Dr. Waltzman provide the best possible service to you.

You will then set a date for your procedure and should begin to prepare for the surgery and recovery.

On the day of your surgery, a friend or family member will need to drive you to and from our Long Beach clinic, as the procedure requires general anesthesia.

During the Surgery

Breast implant removal is done on an outpatient basis using general anesthesia. To minimize scarring, Dr. Waltzman will cut along the scars from your first procedure. He will then remove the implant and any damaged tissue.

Some patients will require a temporary drain to be placed in the breast so as to release excess fluid as the body heals from the procedure.

After the Surgery

Upon completion of the surgery, you will be monitored in-house before being released from the center’s care. You will then be driven home by your driver, where you’ll begin following Dr. Waltzman’s strict guidelines for recovery. These will include (but are not limited to):

  • Complete rest and relaxation for the first week following surgery
  • Reduced activity, with no strenuous exercise, for the four weeks after surgery
  • Staying properly hydrated and eating a clean, healthy diet
  • Properly maintaining the incisions and protecting your breasts as they heal

What Will My Breasts Look Like After Breast Implant Removal?

Depending on the size of the original implants, breasts may appear stretched, saggy, and lack shape. For this reason, a breast lift or fat transfer is often recommended in conjunction with breast implant removal, so as to restore a firm, plump shape to the breast.

Breast Implant Removal FAQs

BIA-ALCL is lymphoma that has been linked only with the Allergan brand BioCell textured breast implants. BIA-ALCL is not cancer, but the lymphoma can be threatening and painful. In 2019 the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recalled Allergan’s textured implants. However, they also issued the following information:

  • The vast majority of implants are non-textured, and as such do not pose a risk of developing BIA-ALCL
  • Even in textured implant cases, BIA-ALCL is extremely rare, occurring in roughly 1 in 30,000 patients
  • If confirmed, BIA-ALCL is successfully treated with en bloc removal of the implants and surrounding tissue

If medical reasons are the motivation for the implants’ removal, then yes, many insurers will cover the procedure. However, in the case of aesthetic concerns or choosing implants that were too small, insurance generally will not pay for the procedure.

Yes indeed! Unfortunately, after the removal of implants, the skin that was stretched doesn’t return to its natural state. For this reason, your surgeon may need to remove excess skin and reposition the breast higher on the chest so as to provide a pleasing shape. Rest assured, Dr. Waltzman is highly experienced in reconstructing breasts in patients of all ages and ethnicities.

Breast Implant Removal in Long Beach, California

No matter what your reasons are for breast implant removal, you want it done correctly. Dr. Waltzman provides the highest possible levels of patient care. Call 562 448 6100 or fill out this online form to arrange your consultation with him today.