Although breast augmentation continues to be a popular procedure in Chicago and the NorthShore, Dr. Seth continues to also meet women interested in removing their breast implants. The decision to remove your breast implants is a personal one, but not one that should be taken lightly. Dr. Seth's reputation as an expert in both reconstructive and cosmetic breast surgery has patients from Chicagoland and North Shore seek him out for the safe removal of their implants, including en bloc capsulectomy when necessary.
- Procedure Length: 1-2 hours
- Anesthesia: General
- Disposition: Outpatient
- Recovery: 1-2 weeks
Why Breast Implant Removal?
Although breast implants are safe and have a high satisfaction rate, some women may choose to remove their implants. There can be several reasons why a woman may choose to remove her implants, including:
- No Longer Want Them
- Some women decide that they are no longer interested in the breast enhancement that implants provide. For those women, Dr. Seth will often discuss removing their implants as well as a breast lift for any sagginess that they might experience after implant removal.
- Tight or Leaking Implants
- Unfortunately, implants do have a 'shelf-life', and some at point may need to be removed or replaced due to them leaking. For implants that are leaking, or have ruptured, your body may form some tight scar tissue around the implants called capsular contracture. This scar tissue can change the position of your implants, change your breast asymmetry, or make your implants painful or uncomfortable. Fortunately, Dr. Seth can remove and/or replace your breast implants, which typically completely resolves your symptoms.
- BIA-ALCL, or breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, is a rare, slow-growing lymphoma that has been found to be linked to textured breast implants. Although we know BIA-ALCL is not a true breast cancer, research regarding BIA-ALCL is still ongoing. This association has prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to recall all textured breast implants. They have also notified all patients that have textured implants of this rare risk of BIA-ALCL. Although the FDA does not recommend any routine intervention for textured implants, Dr. Seth continues to see women interested in removing their textured implants and/or replacing them with smooth implants.
- Breast Implant Illness
- More and more, Dr. Seth is seeing women who present with a vague constellation of concerns and symptoms that they believe are being caused by their breast implants. Known as Breast Implant Illness (BII), there remains no clear scientific understanding of why breast implants can cause symptoms in some women and not others. Despite this, Dr. Seth understands and respects how difficult BII can be. If you have BII, Dr. Seth works closely with you so that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of removing your implants. In most cases, Dr. Seth has found that women with BII feel dramatically better after their implants are removed, particularly when combined with an en bloc capsulectomy.
Case ID: 221
What Are My Options?
Because removing your implants is such a personal decision, Dr. Seth works closely with you to ensure that your procedure and outcome is completely customized to achieve your goals. During your initial consultation, he may discuss with you one of following options:
- Implant Replacement
- For women removing breast implants that have leaked, or those interested in changing their breast implant type or size, Dr. Seth offers options for replacing your implants. This allows women to not only remove their old and/or broken implants, but also to customize their next implant to match their current lifestyle and goals.
- Breast Lift
- Following removal of a breast implant, the breast skin may appear saggy or deflated. For patients hoping to maintain a perky but natural appearance to their breasts, Dr. Seth offers breast lift surgery to keep your breasts looking and feeling good without your breast implants.
- En Bloc Capsulectomy
- All breast implants have scar tissue, called a capsule, that your body forms to 'wall them off' from the rest of your body. This is a normal and natural reaction to having an implant. Sometimes that scar capsule can be the source of problems or concerns, such as with capsular contracture or in Breast Implant Illness (BII). In these cases, Dr. Seth removes not only your implants but also all of the scar capsule that has formed around your implant, called an en bloc capsulectomy. For BII patients in particular, an en bloc capsulectomy removes everything related to your implants so that your breasts can go back to their 'all natural' state. Although en bloc capsulectomy has become more and more popular, it is important that it is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with expertise in breast surgery like Dr. Seth to ensure a safe and desirable outcome.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of breast implant removal surgery can vary widely, depending in particular on the extent of your surgery and what options you choose. Possible options include:
- Breast Implant Removal: $3,000 to $4,900
- Breast Implant Removal with Breast Lift: $9,250 to $11,000
- En bloc Capsulectomy with Breast implant Removal: $7,000 to $9,000
- En bloc Capsulectomy with Breast implant Removal and Breast Lift: $10,000 to $12,500
These costs are individualized to each patient and can also depend on other factors, including:
- Fees charged by the anesthesiologist and surgical facility
- The surgical technique and anticipated technical difficulty of your procedure
- The expected length of your surgery
After your consultation, you will receive an individual quote for the anticipated cost of your breast implant removal. If you are interested, third-party payment plans may be available for eligible patients.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are my restrictions after surgery?
- Generally most patients begin feeling like themselves again after only a few days. Dr. Seth will place you in a surgical bra immediately after surgery and ask that you wear it or a sports bra at all times for up to 4 weeks after surgery. You will be ok to resume light activity whenever you feel comfortable. Generally, more strenuous activity and exercise can be slowly resumed starting at 4-weeks after surgery.
When can I drive?
- You are ok to drive once you are no longer taking any 'strong' or narcotic pain medication and when you feel comfortable behind the wheel to be safe.
When can I go back to work?
- You can return to work when you feel comfortable to do so, keeping in mind your activity restrictions. For most patients, this means going back to work after 2-3 weeks.
Will I need surgical drains?
- In general, some patients may need one drain in each breast following implant removal surgery to manage fluid buildup and swelling after surgery. These are temporary and are removed in the office. You will receive teaching on how to care for your drains before surgery so that you are fully prepared to care for yourself.
When can I get resized for a bra?
- Dr. Seth typically recommends waiting at least 2-3 months after surgery before getting resized and buying new bras. This will allow all of the swelling in your breasts to resolve and for your breasts to take on their final size and shape.
Do I have to wear a bra after surgery?
- For the first 4 weeks after surgery, Dr. Seth will have you wear a surgical bra or sports bra at all times. After that, Dr. Seth will recommend that you wear a bra during the day when you are active, but not at all times.
What can I do for my scars?
- Although the scars from breast implant removal surgery tend to heal well and fade over time, there are certain scar care tips that Dr. Seth will recommend after surgery to help optimize the appearance of your scars. These may include scar massage, good sunscreen, and scar creams. In general, most of Dr. Seth's breast implant removal patients are so thrilled with having their implants out that they are not bothered at all by their scars.