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Breast Implant Removal

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about breast implant removal?

Breast implant removal is surgery to take out one or both breast implants. You may choose to have the implant removed completely, or to have it replaced with a new implant. If the implant is removed, you may need to have the skin or tissue tightened or lifted. You may choose to have the scar tissue around the implant removed. You may need one or more other surgeries to have this done.

How do I prepare for surgery?

  • Your surgeon will tell you how to prepare. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight before surgery. Arrange to have someone drive you home when you are discharged.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
  • Your surgeon may tell you to shower the night before your surgery. He or she may tell you to use a certain soap to help prevent a surgical site infection.

What will happen during surgery?

Your surgeon will tell you what will happen. This depends on the kind of implants and amount of scar tissue you have. It also depends on if you want a replacement implant or to have any part of the breast reshaped. The following is general information about what will happen.

  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision under the breast. He or she may make the incision in the same place as the incision used to put in your implant. He or she will check for scar tissue and feel for the implant. The implant will then be removed. The scar tissue may also be removed.
  • If you are not having the implant replaced, your surgeon may reshape the breast. Extra skin may be removed or breast tissue may be tightened. These procedures may help improve the look of your breast after the implant is removed. If you are having the implant replaced, your surgeon will put in the new implant.
  • The incision may be closed with stitches, medical glue, or tape. Drains may be placed to remove extra fluid or blood. The surgery area will be covered with bandages. Your surgeon will repeat the process on the other breast, if needed.

What should I expect after surgery?

  • You may be given a surgical bra or told to wear a sports bra. A supportive bra may help hold your bandages in place. It may also help with swelling and pain.
  • Bruising and swelling are normal and expected. Ice can be applied to help reduce pain and swelling. You may be given pain medicine, such as ibuprofen.
  • Your healthcare provider may show you how to do arm stretches. The stretches may prevent stiff arms or shoulders. You will be told how often to do the exercises at home, and for how long.

What are the risks of breast implant removal?

You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. You may develop a life-threatening blood clot. A seroma (pocket of fluid) may form in your breast. The size and shape of the breast may be different from before you had the implant placed. You may have lost breast tissue. This can cause the breast to sag. The nipple may be higher, lower, or more to the side than before. The skin on your breast or nipple may also be dimpled, wrinkled, or puckered. You may have numbness or lose sensitivity in your breast for several months. Scar tissue may develop. This can make the breast feel hard. Your breasts may not be of equal size or shape after surgery. This may be permanent. You may choose to have more surgery to fix these concerns.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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