As breast augmentation is still one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world today, it’s no surprise that some patients seek a reversal. If you are among those who have decided to remove your breast implants, you must find a surgeon who understands your needs. Dr. Nir at Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery in Wellington, FL, specializes in this procedure. Change is the only constant in life, and no matter your reason for removal, Dr. Nir can help you. Below we explore our most frequently asked question about breast implant removal surgery: how long does it take to recover?
What Is Explant Surgery?
Explant surgery is the process of removing breast implants. More than ever, women around the world are choosing to remove their implants for a variety of reasons. Some patients aren’t satisfied with the appearance of their implants, while other patients experience complications that necessitate the procedure. The most common reasons women remove implants include:
- Dissatisfaction with the look or feel
- Leaks or ruptures
- Capsular contracture prevention or mitigation
- Size adjustments with breast revision surgery
You don’t need a reason to remove implants. Some patients who remove them don’t have a specific reason, and you don’t need one either. While the surgical process is relatively straightforward, to achieve the best results it’s crucial to choose a highly experienced surgeon like Dr. Nir.
At Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery, we combine the expertise of the best surgical talent with the latest world-class technology to deliver unparalleled results. Our goal is to get to know every patient to create an authentic rapport and trust. Cosmetic surgery is a collaborative process that isn’t successful without a team effort. We want to understand your needs and goals so we may serve you best.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Explant Surgery?
It’s typical for patients to experience some uncertainty about having explant surgery. In the same way that you took time to consider how breast augmentation would fit into your life, it’s reasonable to consider the impact of removing them.
Because you’ve already had breast augmentation surgery, you have an idea of how long it might take you to recover from this procedure. However, If your augmentation surgery was many years ago, your previous recovery experience may not offer the most accurate time estimate as you consider this procedure.
If you are like most patients, you want to know about recovery times before getting into the details of the explant procedure. Every patient is unique, and each body responds to surgery a little differently. Therefore, no surgeon can guarantee a specific recuperation timeline. We can only provide information based on the average recovery times experienced by other patients. On average, most women can return to a white-collar job in about a week. Blue-collar jobs that require lifting or a lot of movement should be avoided for longer.
It’s vital to remember that recovery is a two-step process: resuming your routine and full healing with expected results. There is often a gap between when you’ll feel ready to re-engage in regular activities and when you’ll see the desired changes in your breasts. Below we look at the estimated timelines for each of the two stages of breast implant removal recovery.
Downtime After Surgery
Implant removal usually happens under local anesthesia. Sometimes we use twilight anesthesia, which is a very mild dose of general anesthesia to calm the nerves. Patients are sedated but still conscious. Enlist a family member or close friend to escort you to and from your appointment as you will not be able to drive after.
Expect to clear your schedule for the first several days after surgery. Dr. Nir will probably recommend that you spend at least a few days at rest. Typically, we remove wound sutures and fitted drains two or three days after surgery. During this time, you should not work or engage in physical activity. You must avoid subjecting your incisions to abrasion, excessive force, or motion as they heal.
Take any prescribed pain medication as directed to maximize your comfort and expedite healing throughout the recovery process. Stress and pain can inhibit healing, so please follow the instructions given by your surgeon for a swift recuperation.
Returning to Work
Most patients feel ready to return to work about one week after breast implant removal surgery. The nature of your job plays a role. Those with physically demanding jobs may need to take more than one week off from work. Discuss your occupational situation with Dr. Nir during your consultation. He can provide more precise estimates about how much time off you’ll require.
Your Personalized Timeline
With the variables at play in any operation, it’s crucial to choose a surgeon and professional staff you can trust. We monitor your progress closely to provide a detailed and personalized time structure. After surgery, Dr. Nir and his team will give you specific information about:
- The medications to take
- When to remove dressings
- How long drains remain in place
- When to bathe or shower post-op and how
- When you may return to work
- When you may engage in physical activity
- When to book follow-up appointments
How to Reduce Risks
As with any surgery, there are risks associated with removing implants. Any complication you experience after surgery can extend your recuperation timeline. The best way to keep your healing timeline and ensure a faster recovery is to follow Dr. Nir’s post-surgery advice. He customizes your post-op instructions for your specific needs.
Each person has a different recovery plan, and he designs yours to deliver you the ideal cosmetic results. Usually, he recommends patients wrap their chest wall for one week or more after surgery. The wrap keeps breast tissue compressed, which leads to better outcomes later. This step is crucial for healing and promoting a smooth and even chest appearance after surgery.
We’ve mentioned the impact of stress on healing before, but we cannot emphasize this enough. To get the predicted results, you must find ways to eliminate stressors from your life. A clean, healthy diet and relaxed lifestyle is the best way to go.
Failing to comply with the instructions Dr. Nir provides can impact your end cosmetic result. Follow all instructions precisely. Contact us if you have questions regarding the guidelines you’ve received. It’s better to double-check now than wish you had later.
Full Physical Recovery and Results
Stage two of the recovery process is when most patients have the most trouble mitigating expectations. They feel better after the first week, but there is still a time of waiting necessary before resuming strenuous activity, and it may take some time before you see the results you desire. Although it may feel like you are left in the lurch, know that this is an essential part of the recuperation process. This period is the time for your body to heal itself thoroughly.
Gym, Sports, and Rigorous Activity
You must take a break from any demanding activity for at least six weeks after breast implant removal surgery. Dr. Nir will discuss your options for light or moderate workouts with you on a case-by-case basis. Please follow his instructions exactly to allow for your body to heal correctly.
Total Healing and Results Reveal
It can take up to one year for your body to heal from implant removal surgery completely. You may experience swelling and fluctuating breast sizes after your surgical incisions have healed. Your breasts will take time to acclimate to their new shape.
The final results of your procedure depend on several factors. Dr. Nir will discuss these factors with you in-person during your consultation to reveal how they may apply to your situation. The following dictates the final results of your procedure:
- Breast implant size
- Quantity and quality of remaining breast tissue
- Presence of scar tissue surrounding the implants
- If an implant leak predicated removal
Some patients who’ve had implants for an extended period may have thin breast tissue remaining. Dr. Nir may give you an idea of what to expect from this procedure, but individual results vary. Delicate breast tissue can impact the overall appearance of the breasts and may not live up to their desired expectations. In these cases, an additional augmentation procedure may be necessary to achieve optimal results.
How You Can Speed Up Recovery
Following the aftercare instructions we provide is the best way to recover faster. Resting, taking pain medication, and avoiding the gym and stress as advised will help you heal.
Eat These Foods
Altering your diet can help you recover faster. Healing is a complex process that the body is skilled at performing. Still, you can promote extra-strength healing by eating the right balance of nutrients. Eat the following foods for every meal to make your recovery faster:
- High fiber whole grains
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruit
- Lean protein (poultry, seafood, tofu, tempeh, seitan)
- Nutrient-dense foods (smoothies)
Avoid These Foods
Just as you can speed recovery up, you can also slow it down. Avoid eating processed foods if you want your body to heal faster. Processed meats like sausage, ham, salami, beef jerky, and bacon are type 1 carcinogens. They are among the worst foods you can eat after surgery.
Dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, promote constipation, which is already an issue after surgery. We recommend phasing dairy products in gradually after your operation.
Implant Removal Procedure
Now that we’ve covered all the thought-provoking recovery material for your consideration, we’ll address the procedure itself. After administering anesthesia, Dr. Nir reopens the original implant incisions. Most often, these incisions are in the inframammary fold beneath the breast or around the edge of the areola. He carefully removes the implant. If removal is resulting from an implant leak or tear, Dr. Nir removes material lingering in the body.
Placing breast implants usually results in some scar tissue formation. Scar tissue from breast implant placement is typically soft and doesn’t need removal. However, sometimes scar tissue hardens and can cause pain or discomfort. Dr. Nir only removes hard, problematic scar tissues during this procedure. Harmless scar tissue remains in place. It will deflate and collapse as you recuperate.
After the procedure, incisions are sutured and covered with surgical dressings and drains placed in each pocket. We give you detailed aftercare instructions and schedule follow-up appointments. We will also show you how to wrap the chest garment to compress your chest during recuperation.
Schedule a Consultation
Explant surgery is a personal and often emotional decision patients face. You don’t have to go through this journey alone. We support you at every step of your transitioning process by personalizing your experience. We take the time to get to know you and your desired results. Contact us today at Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery in Wellington, FL to schedule your consultation. We look forward to meeting you.