What to Know If You’re Considering Breast Implant Removal

Removing breast implants is something that an increasing number of women are considering for various reasons. Statistics released earlier this year by The Aesthetic Society show breast implant removal surgery increased nearly 35% from 2018 to 2019 and 80% since 2015. Those are eye-catching numbers, to be sure, but it’s also important to remember that most women are satisfied with the results of breast augmentation surgery. At our Houston, TX, practice, we honor your decision to remove or exchange your implants.

Even though health concerns related to breast implants have gained attention during the past year or so (we’ll discuss these issues a little later), there are several other reasons someone may want to have implants removed.

Why Remove Breast Implants?

Just as the reasons for getting breast augmentation are highly personal and vary from patient to patient, that’s also the case with the choice to have implants removed. Some general themes emerge, though, when discussing implant removal surgery (called explant surgery) with patients.

Change in lifestyle: This is especially true for women who got implants in their early 20s and who are now married with children. Other changes can also prompt someone to think about removing implants or exchanging implants for a different size. For example, a woman might take up long-distance running or some other competitive athletic activity and decide that the implants are a nuisance.

Complications: Revision surgery to either replace or remove breast implants are often required to address complications after breast augmentation surgery. Capsular contracture—when scar tissue around the implant thickens and contracts—is the most common complication. A patient may elect to remove her implants instead of undergoing additional surgery. A ruptured saline implant must be removed because the breast looks deflated.

Neck and shoulder pain: Large, natural breasts can cause significant pain in the neck, shoulder, and back, and women may choose breast reduction surgery to alleviate those symptoms. The same is true for large breast implants. It’s especially true if a woman with a small frame has implants that aren’t in proportion with her body.

Health-Related Reasons

Some women experiencing physical symptoms they believe are linked to breast implants have opted to remove them. Many of these patients have met with primary care physicians to help identify a cause of symptoms that include fatigue, memory loss, muscle aches, and other conditions identified generally as Breast Implant Illness (BII). We support the choices of women who come to our practice concerned about BII and who want their breast implants removed.

A separate health-related concern is Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This rare illness has been linked to a specific type of textured breast implant, and women with these implants may choose to remove them even if they don’t have any symptoms of the illness. It’s important to point out that most implants used in the U.S. are smooth. Textured implants have a rough surface that helps them attach to surrounding tissue, and they are mostly associated with teardrop-shaped implants.

Our board-certified plastic surgeons at Houston Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery understand the anxiety of patients who want to have their breast implants removed and provide the support and expertise patients need for this procedure. You can contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (281) 282-9555 (Webster) or (713) 521-4777 (Houston) to schedule an appointment.

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