If you have silicone or saline breast implants that you no longer want, you may be a good candidate for breast implant removal at Manuel Gigena MD, FACS Plastic Surgery in McMinnville, OR. However, there are a lot of factors to consider when determining whether surgery is right for you. To help you decide, today, we’re taking a closer look at what to expect before, during, and after the removal of unwanted breast implants.
Breast Implant Removal: What Should You Expect?
What to Expect Before Your Procedure
Before your breast implant removal, you need to attend an initial evaluation with a plastic surgeon. During this evaluation, we will review your medical history and discuss your current health to verify that this procedure will be safe for you. Furthermore, we will talk about your concerns and goals to verify that this procedure will be effective for you and that you do not need complementary procedures, as well. We will also discuss preparation and aftercare expectations.
There is a good chance that you will qualify for this procedure if you are in relatively good health and feel like the time is right to replace your implants. Depending on the type of implant you got, your implants may only last between 10 and 15 years. When it is time for your implants to be removed, you will need to decide whether you want your implants replaced or you no longer want implants.
Sometimes, women qualify for the removal of unwanted breast implants before the implants are so old they are at high risk of leaking. For example, there is an excellent chance you will be considered a good fit for this procedure if you are experiencing pain due to your breast implants.
Often, neck, back, or shoulder pain occurs due to implants that are too large and heavy. However, it is also possible to experience pain after getting breast implants due to capsular contracture. Especially if you suffer from capsular contracture, you can expect almost immediate pain relief once your implants are out.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women start getting mammograms every few years starting around the age of 45 depending on their risk of developing breast cancer. Unfortunately, both saline and silicone breast implants can affect the X-ray photographs taken during this vital diagnostic imaging test. If you have had a mammogram to diagnose breast cancer and received unclear results, you may be an excellent candidate for implant removal.
What to Expect During Your Procedure
Before your breast implants are removed, you will be prepared for your surgery. Your skin will be inspected to verify that it is not irritated. Assuming there is no skin irritation, we will sterilize your skin and mark the incision locations. Then, you will be given anesthesia to ensure you remain comfortable throughout the entire procedure.
The type of anesthesia you will receive primarily depends on your heart and lung health and the scope of your procedure. If you receive local anesthesia injections instead of local anesthesia, you will also be given intravenous sedation to keep you calm and relaxed during your operation. Once your anesthesia is administered and has taken effect, the removal process will begin.
What to Expect During the Removal Process
To remove your unwanted breast implants, incisions will be made in your inframammary folds and around your areolas. Thanks to the locations of these incisions, nobody will be able to see them as they heal after the surgery. Once your incisions are made, your implants and any scar tissue you may have will be removed through the incisions. Then, if necessary, new implants will be put in. Finally, the incisions will be closed.
What to Expect During Your Post-Op Recovery
You should not be surprised if you feel exhausted during the first one to three days following your breast implant removal. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, both general anesthesia and intravenous sedation can make you feel very tired. Second, your skin will take a lot of energy to heal the incisions. While the healing process will take a lot longer than a few days, it is during the first few days that the effects are felt the most significantly.
You should also expect to adhere to a lot of restrictions during your recovery period. For example, you will need to go six to eight weeks without engaging in strenuous physical activity, including lifting heavy weights. You also must be prepared to go a week or two without driving. Exactly how long you will need to go without driving depends significantly on how quickly you start to feel better. It is imperative that you go 24 hours without driving if you take certain analgesics.
What to Do During Your Recovery
To reiterate, we will advise you on post-op care expectations during your initial consultation. We will review these instructions again once you have woken up fully after your surgery. One of the most important things to do following your breast implant removal is to sleep on your back. Sleeping on your stomach or side will result in too much pressure applied to the incisions.
Another crucial step you must take during the early stages of your recovery is to wear a specially designed compression garment. You can generally expect to need to wear this special bra for approximately three weeks. To heal as quickly as possible, you should wear your prescription-strength compression bra at all times, including while you sleep, unless you are bathing.
How Long You Should Take Off From Work
You shouldn’t need to take more than two weeks off from work to recover from your procedure. The exact number of days you will need to take off from work depends on many factors, including the nature of your work, how well you care for yourself post-op, and the scope of your procedure. The more physically demanding your job is, the more time you should expect to take off from work to focus on your recovery.
What Results to Expect From the Procedure
As previously mentioned, you can expect almost immediate pain relief if capsular contracture was your reason for seeking this procedure. If your reason for removing your breast implants was back or neck pain, you can expect that pain to ease over time as your overtaxed muscles relax. Depending on the size of your implants and your cosmetic goals, you may need a breast lift in addition to your implant removal.
If you got very large implants, your skin may have stretched to accommodate your new contours to the point that it may sag significantly once your implants are removed. If you get a breast lift in addition to your implant removal, you can expect your skin to be tight despite your smaller breasts. You also don’t need to worry about excess skin, and the position of your nipple and areola may be elevated to further enhance the appearance of your breasts.
What to Expect During a Breast Lift
A breast lift is similar to an implant removal in that it is performed while you are asleep and numbed. You will feel no anxiety or pain during your operation. A breast lift is designed to enhance the appearance of the breasts by tightening loose skin, but we will remove any excess skin you have during this procedure. We can also elevate your areola and nipple and lift and reshape your breast tissue to improve its firmness and contour.
The incisions necessary to perform a breast lift depend on many factors, including the extent of the skin sagging, the size and shape of your breast, the position and size of your areola, and how elastic and healthy your skin is. If you only have mild or moderate sagging, the only necessary incision may be the same one made in the dark ridge of the areola made during the implant removal. However, a vertical incision may also be required for adequate results.
The Bottom Line
Before the removal of unwanted breast implants, you will need to attend an initial evaluation and prepare for your surgery. Then, you will be anesthetized and sterilized, incisions will be made, your implants will be removed, and the incisions will be closed. To find out for sure whether you are a good candidate for the removal of unwanted breast implants, contact us today at Manuel Gigena MD, FACS Plastic Surgery in McMinnville, OR to schedule your initial consultation.