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Going Back Under the Knife? How Long Is Your Breast Implant Removal Recovery?

Posted December 06, 2022 in Breast Implant Removal

4 Minute Read: 

When you have a plastic surgery procedure, the last thing you want to think about is going back under the knife. However, this is the case for women who consider breast implant removal surgery

Woman having her breasts wrapped in post-surgical dressings by a nurse.

Breast implant removal is a common surgery (with over 36,000 procedures performed in 2020), which makes it important to discuss in depth. And while women who undergo this procedure are seasoned veterans of cosmetic surgery after having undergone their breast augmentation procedure, the worries about recovery are still very present. 

Below, we will discuss breast implant removal to help you better understand the procedure and recovery.

Why Would I Need to Think About Breast Implant Removal?

Women choose to have their implants removed for several reasons. 

For some women, they have their breast implants removed because they simply do not like the look or feel of their larger and fuller chest. 

For other women, there are more immediate reasons that cause them to remove their implants, such as a complication with the implant (like capsular contracture or bottoming out, where the implant slips out of place). 

Still, other women have this procedure to replace old, damaged breast implants, since the lifespan of implants is usually between ten to twenty years.

How Is Breast Implant Removal Surgery Performed?

Breast implant removal is very individualized because there are so many reasons why women consider it. 

If a woman simply wants to replace her implants for a different size or remove her implants entirely (and no other surgical technique is needed), the process is fairly straightforward. An incision is made along the lower crease of the breast (the inframammary fold), and the unwanted implant is removed. From here, a new implant can be added or the breast pocket tightened.

For patients with capsular contracture, rupture, or any other health-related concerns, an en bloc capsulectomy may be required. This process removes both the implant and the scar tissue capsule that surrounds the implant. Because the capsule and implant are removed in one piece, this technique ensures that all parts of the capsule are removed. An en bloc capsulectomy is more complicated that a standard implant removal without capsule work; however, a skilled surgeon will be very familiar with this procedure.  

If you choose implant removal without replacement (and sometimes even with a replacement), you may want to consider a breast lift as well. This procedure addresses sagging breasts due to age, pregnancy, or heavy implants. Breast lift surgery can also resize and reposition the nipple-areola complex as well (if necessary).

What Should I Expect With My Recovery?

One of patients’ least favorite parts of plastic surgery is the recovery process, and if you are having a secondary surgery, then you know just how true that can be. Your chest may hurt, you feel tired, and you just want to get back to your normal, daily activities. However, the recovery process (including the required downtime) is a necessary aspect of the procedure.

It is important to understand that plastic surgery (whether it be breast augmentation, breast implant removal, or any other cosmetic procedure) is nothing more than a controlled injury to the body. This means that you need to allow your body time to heal itself. 

For breast implant removal recovery, much of the recovery time will look familiar to women who have already recovered from an augmentation procedure

You will experience swelling, bruising, tightness, and some discomfort. You will need to refrain from any and all strenuous activities, including exercise and lifting heavy weight. And you need to make sure that you follow all of Dr. Koch’s postoperative instructions, such as wearing your surgical bra, drinking enough fluids, and taking all your prescribed medications.

However, there are some differences between augmentation and removal surgeries, including the length of your recovery. 

The recovery time is ultimately dependent on the particular patient, whether there were any complications with the implants, whether new implants are being placed, whether you are having a breast lift surgery performed, and which technique is used. 

It is important to understand that women having their removal procedure performed with an en bloc capsulectomy may experience a longer period of recovery than a woman who is not having this specific technique used. 

While a shorter recovery period definitely sounds better than the alternative, it is necessary to remember that you need to trust the process and have the right technique used by the right cosmetic surgeon

At your breast implant removal consultation, Dr. Koch will evaluate your condition to determine which approach is right for you.

Do You Have Any Questions?

If you would like to learn more about breast implant removal or any of the other procedures that Dr. Koch offers, please call our office at (716) 631-1220 or fill out our online contact form.