A cosmetic surgical procedure, like any form of surgery, is a collaborative procedure. Sure, your surgeon brings their skills, knowledge and expertise (quite literally) to the table, but the patient also has a role to play. It’s up to them to look after their bodies both leading up to the surgery and prior to the surgery. Any cosmetic surgeon worth their salt knows that their responsibility to the patient does not end the moment they leave the practice. Far from it. Every surgeon has a responsibility to ensure that their patient receives the very best aftercare and is given all the information and guidance they need to make a speedy and effective recovery that helps them to get the cosmetic results they need.
This is true of any cosmetic procedure and certainly applies to a breast implant removal. There are many reasons why a woman may have second thoughts about her breast augmentation. She may be disappointed that the results of her prior procedure were not what her surgeon had promised her. She may have begun to experience capsular contracture (this is where the scar tissue around the breast tightens leading to pain, tenderness and distortion of the breast shape). She may need to change the size of her breasts via a breast revision procedure or she may even experience leakage of her implant and need to have it removed for her safety.
Nonetheless, even if she has resigned herself to the fact that a breast implant removal is the right thing to do, she may still have a great deal of trepidation. She may worry that it might take a long time to heal and that she may not be able to return to her normal life. Here we’ll look at how long it takes to recover from a breast implant removal and what you can do to ensure that you heal as quickly and effectively as possible.
How Long Does It Take To Heal After A Breast Implant Removal?
Before we address this question, it’s important to remember that there is a difference between how long it takes for your body to heal enough for you to live your normal day-to-day life and how long it can take until you start to see the desired results.
Usually, there will be a sizeable discrepancy between the two. However, for both it is important to follow your surgeon’s personalized instructions for a safe, healthy and speedy recovery as well as cosmetically optimal results.
It’s important to note that every woman is different and as such it’s hard to make hard and fast assertions when it comes to recovery time. Your surgeon will be able to tell you;
- What medication you will need to take after surgery.
- When your dressings can be removed.
- How long you will need to keep your drains in for.
- When you can bathe or shower as usual.
- When you can return to work and the gym.
- When to book an appointment for follow-up care.
Following a breast implant removal procedure your incision wounds will be sutured and dressed and drains will be fitted which can usually be removed after 2-3 days.
Your surgeon will likely recommend that you not return to work and remain as relaxed as possible for at least a few days. Your surgeon may prescribe some pain medication to help keep you comfortable. It’s important to take these as pain (as well as other forms of stress) can slow down the healing process. Your surgical incisions must not be subjected to excessive force, abrasion or motion while they are healing. For this reason it is not recommended to return to the gym or undergo strenuous exercise or sports for 4-6 weeks.
Most patients are usually able to return to work following a breast implant removal after a week or so. However, this may vary depending on the nature of your job and how physically active it requires you to be.
When Can You Expect To See The Results & What Can You Expect?
While you can expect to return to your normal life within about a week and return to the gym or sports within 6 weeks it can take substantially longer to see the final results. In most cases it can take up to a year for all the tissues to fully heal following your surgery and you can expect to experience swelling and fluctuation in your breast size and shape even after your surgical incisions have fully healed. When your breasts are fully healed it’s important to bear in mind that they may still look different to how they did prior to your surgery.
The final results of breast implant removal surgery depend on a number of factors. They depend mainly on;
- The size of the implants that are being being removed
- The quantity and quality of the breast tissue that remains when they are gone
- The scar tissue that surrounds your implants
- Whether your implants were removed due to leakage
In some cases the breast tissue may be thin as a result of having implants for an extended period of time. Thus, you may feel that the results are not as cosmetic as you may have hoped or look very different to the initial appearance of your breasts before their augmentation. In some cases, it may not be possible to achieve the most cosmetically optimal results with a single procedure and additional surgery may be necessary.
In the majority of cases, however, a successful surgery and a satisfactory result is achieved so long as the surgeons instructions are followed.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Heal From Surgery More Quickly?
As previously stated, it’s important to give your incision scars plenty of time to heal before undergoing strenuous exercise or returning to the gym. It’s also important to reduce stress in your day-to-day life as much as possible. This is because psychological stress can be extremely tough on your body and can actually slow down the healing process. As previously stated, this is why effective pain management is also very important.
Your diet is also an important way to boost your chances of a speedy and effective healing process. Your body is much better able to repair damaged tissue when it has the nutrients it needs to do so optimally. As such, you should ensure that after surgery your every plate contains nourishing foods like;
- High fiber whole grains- These help prevent constipation which is common after surgery.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables- For vitamins and minerals.
- Lean proteins like poultry, seafood or plant based proteins like tofu, tempeh and seitan.
- Calorie and nutrient dense foods like smoothies if your appetite is diminished post-surgery.
Meanwhile, processed foods should be avoided (especially processed meats which are type 1 carcinogens). Dairy products can also exacerbate post-surgical constipation and should be phased in gradually.
Can Complications Arise From A Breast Implant Removal?
As with any surgical procedure, there is always a low risk of complications. Complication rates for breast implant removals are generally less than 1%. Nonetheless, be wary of any surgeon who tells you that there is no risk entailed in a breast implant removal.
Some complications that may arise include;
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Poor healing of incisions
- Skin loss
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation especially around the nipple and areola
- Swelling or discoloration of the skin
- Looseness of the skin
- Fatty tissue deep in the skin may start to die (fat necrosis)
- Asymmetrical breasts after healing
- Persistent pain
Is There Anything I Can Do To Reduce The Risk Of Complications?
Absolutely! The most important thing you can do to avoid complications is to follow your surgeon’s personalized advice post-surgery. It’s absolutely imperative that you follow your surgeon’s instructions following your procedure as this will go a long way towards reducing your risk of complication and maximize your chances of getting the desired cosmetic results.
For example, you will likely be asked to wrap your chest wall for a week or so after your surgery to keep the tissue compressed. This is an extremely important step as keeping the affected tissues compressed will help your new body shape to heal properly, in a smooth and even way.
It’s also very important to ensure that you avoid stress and strain as mentioned above and maintain a clean, healthy diet and a relaxed lifestyle.
Why You Can Trust Doctor Nir
Entrusting a surgeon with your breast implant removal procedure is not a decision to be made lightly. We’ve seen how important aftercare and the right personalized post-operative instructions are in facilitating better and faster healing. Doctor Nir and his support team are dedicated to providing the personal touch as well as a combination of outstanding surgical talent and cutting-edge technology.
Doctor Nir MD FACS is a Board Certified Cosmetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon with almost 20 years of experience in Aesthetic Surgery of the Face, Body, and Breasts. His meticulous approach, passion for perfection and genuine care for all of his patients have built a thriving medical practice.
If you’re ready to talk to us about a breast implant removal procedure call us today on 561-899-8118, or you can click here to get in touch with us digitally.