At Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery in West Palm Beach, FL, we get a lot of questions about explant surgery. How painful is it? How long is the recovery process? Am I a good candidate for this procedure? Today, we’d like to address several of these questions to help you determine if this is the ideal procedure for you.
How Painful Is Breast Explant Surgery?
Breast explant surgery isn’t painful at all. At Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery, Dr. Nir administers an anesthetic to numb your chest region in advance of your procedure. Depending on your health, personal preference, and the size and location of the implants being removed, you may receive either general anesthesia or local anesthesia.
Local anesthesia is ideal for women who wish to remove smaller implants from above the chest muscle. Women with larger implants or implants located beneath the chest muscle should strongly consider general anesthesia. General anesthesia is ideal for women who are healthy enough because it allows them to be peacefully pain-free and asleep during the procedure.
How Much Will Recovery Hurt?
Recovery from breast explant surgery also won’t be painful. Before your procedure, you will receive a prescription for analgesics. We strongly encourage you to fill this prescription before your procedure so you can go straight home and focus on resting.
If you don’t want to take the prescribed analgesics, or you don’t feel taking them are necessary, you don’t have to take them. However, it’s important that you only take approved alternative analgesics. For example, you must not take any NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, or other analgesics that can thin your blood and put you at risk of bruising.
What Should I Wear During My Recovery to Ensure My Comfort?
To ensure your recovery process is as comfortable as possible, wear a compression bra or a compression band as instructed. Compression bras are adequate if the incisions made are small. Compression bands allow for even less movement than a compression bra does, making it ideal for larger incisions to ensure your arms don’t irritate your incisions as they’re healing.
Besides wearing a compression garment as instructed, you should wear comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and take off. Opt for a loose flannel shirt that buttons down the front rather than a dress that has to be tied in the back. You mitigate the risk of aggravating your incisions as they heal. Wear comfy clothes on the day of your procedure and make sure you have a week’s worth of comfy clothes clean.
Good Candidates for This Procedure
To determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure, it is important that you come in for an initial consultation with Dr. Nir. If you were healthy enough for breast augmentation, there’s a good chance that you’re healthy enough for breast explanation. However, Dr. Nir will still need to evaluate your current health and medical history to ensure a successful procedure.
Furthermore, your expectations determine if this is the right procedure for you. To be a good candidate for this procedure, you should have realistic expectations regarding the entire process. This encompasses preparing for the procedure, the procedure itself, and the recovery process. During your initial consultation, Dr. Nir will review each of these in-depth.
What to Expect Before the Procedure
Before the procedure, you must attend an initial evaluation. During this initial evaluation, Dr. Nir will review your medical history and assess your current health to ensure you are healthy enough to undergo this procedure and the recovery process. He will then discuss your goals and ensure your expectations line up with what you can expect realistically.
Preparing for this procedure is just like preparing for your breast implants. If you’re currently smoking or drinking alcohol, you must stop that for the six weeks leading up to your procedure and be prepared to continue avoiding these products for six weeks post-op. You must also ensure you are adequately hydrated, well-rested, and well-nourished.
What to Expect During the Procedure
As stated previously, you will experience no pain or discomfort during the procedure. You will most likely be asleep under general anesthesia or administered local anesthesia in conjunction with intravenous sedation. There is no risk of infection during or after the procedure because your chest is sanitized before the procedure takes place.
Once the area is clean and numbed, incisions will be made through which the implants are removed. If you are not having your implants removed due to implant ruptures or capsular contractures, the incisions are usually made in the same location as your original incisions, such as the underarms, inframammary folds, or areola.
What to Expect After the Procedure
You can expect to feel tired after your explanation. This is a potential side effect of both intravenous sedation and general anesthesia and you may feel tired for up to 24 hours post-op. If you opt for either of these medications, you can’t drive within 24 hours post-op. However, you wouldn’t want to drive, anyway. Arrange for a ride home so you can rest and relax.
Expect to take five or six business days off from work. If you have a white-collar job, you should be ready to return to work within five to seven days post-op. If you have a blue-collar job, you will want to take two weeks off from work to focus on your recovery. When you return to work after two weeks, your supervisor should understand that you may need to work in a limited capacity.
Why Women Opt for This Procedure
Capsular contracture is a natural part of the implantation process. Colloquially, capsular contractures are known as scars. These scars may fade with time, or surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the scarred tissue. Note, incision scars will fade with time. Capsular contractures refer to the scarring that develops beneath the skin tissue.
In most cases, the scar tissue that develops beneath the skin’s surface helps to keep the breast implants in place. However, even with this scar tissue, the breasts remain soft to the touch and feel natural. It is when the scar tissue continues to develop, hardening and distorting the shape of the breasts, that explantation is the recommended course of action.
Another common reason that women choose to remove their implants is if one or both of their breast implants rupture. The most common cause of breast implant rupturing is riding in an airplane too soon after the augmentation procedure. However, there are several other potential causes.
In the case of saline implants, rupturing is obvious because the breasts begin to look deflated nearly immediately. Receiving regular imaging tests is imperative if you have silicone implants because your breasts may not change shape quickly and noticeably if the implants rupture. Signs of a silicone implant rupture include tingling, burning, numbness, and gradual physical deformity.
Implant Rippling and Palpability
If you lose a significant amount of weight after your breast augmentation, or if you underwent the procedure with an inadequate amount of breast tissue, ripples or wrinkles from the implant may show through your skin.
Palpability refers to ripples or wrinkles that can be felt when the breast is touched. Unfortunately, gaining weight is not an ideal solution to this problem as there is no guarantee that weight gain will increase the density of breast tissue. If you still want augmented breasts after explantation, ask Dr. Nir if your aesthetic would improve if the implants were repositioned or loose skin was tightened.
Breast Implant Illness
While rare, the silicone in breast implants can cause symptoms of autoimmune disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, severe skin inflammation, and severe joint inflammation. Insomnia is another common symptom of breast implant illness that is often not connected with breast augmentation.
Age is another common reason cited for why explantation is desired. A lot of our clients were married to the idea of breast implants when they opted for augmentation. However, with age, personal preferences change. Women often find that there is nothing structurally wrong with their implants and nothing is medically wrong with them: they simply want a change.
Age of the Implants
The age of the implants is another reason why women opt to have their implants removed. While most implants maintain their shape and texture for 10 to 20 years, you should start considering their removal once you have had them for 10 years.
You can replace your old implants with new implants that are exactly the same as your old ones. You can opt for larger or smaller implants in different textures, shapes, or materials. You can opt to not have new implants placed. What’s important is that you mitigate the risk of your old implants rupturing.
Sometimes, women want to remove their breast implants because they are dissatisfied with their appearance. This may be related to the way the implants look on the body as the body ages. However, an unexpected pregnancy followed by nursing can also change the appearance of the implants by damaging the surrounding breast tissue.
If you feel self-conscious about the way your breast implants look on your body, now may be the right time for a change. Come in for an initial consultation with Dr. Nir and he will help you determine if the right course of action for you is a breast lift, alternative breast augmentation, a combination of aesthetic procedures, or only the removal of the breast implants.
Pain or Discomfort
Sometimes, breast implants cause pain or discomfort. Whether the implants chosen by your plastic surgeon were too large for your body or an unforeseen amount of capsular contracture built up, there is no need to live with breast pain after augmentation. Similarly, there is no need to live with neck, shoulder, or back pain caused by breast implants that are too large.
Depending on the cause and severity of your pain or discomfort, you and Dr. Nir may decide that a smaller breast implant is right for you. Alternatively, the two of you may decide that breast augmentation via fat transfer is a better way for you to enhance your aesthetic.
Learn More About Breast Implant Removal Today
Whether you have a medical or aesthetic reason for wanting to remove your breast implants, or you can’t articulate a reason at all, breast explant surgery is quick, convenient, and not painful at all. Dr. Nir administers a safe, powerful anesthetic before every procedure to ensure comfort both during and after the procedure.
Dr. Itzhak Nirm MD FACS is double-board certified and has over 20 years of experience. To learn more about this procedure, please contact us today at Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery in West Palm Beach, FL to schedule your initial consultation.