Your Guide To The Breast Implant Removal Recovery Process

Breast Implant Removal Recovery

Going into breast implant removal surgery, you may be feeling shocked that the results of your initial breast implant surgical procedure did not go according to plan. However, you’ll be pleased to know that this removal surgery is a prevalent outpatient procedure.

Unfortunately, breast implants aren’t always for everyone, and patients who are unsatisfied with their implants can get them removed with little to no complications. That said, every surgery comes with its share of essential details.

That’s why we’ll review some of the most imperative information for patients to understand before undergoing breast implant removal. Here’s what you should know about the breast implant removal recovery process.

Understanding Breast Implant Removal

Before detailing the implant removal recovery period, you must have a complete understanding of the procedure itself. The breast implant removal process typically involves making an incision, often in the same place as the original breast augmentation incision, to minimize additional scarring. The surgeon removes the implant and any scar (capsular contracture) that may have formed around it through this incision.

Reasons for Removal

Patients opt for breast implant removal for several reasons, ranging from medical concerns to personal preferences:

  • Health Concerns: Some women experience symptoms of breast implant illness or fear the risk of breast implant-associated illnesses like anaplastic large cell lymphoma, which is a rare cancer associated with certain types of implants.
  • Capsular Contracture: This condition can happen when the scar that innately develops around the implant starts to tighten and squeeze the implant, causing pain and discomfort. A surgeon can remove scar tissue or remove the implant to relieve these symptoms.
  • Implant Leaks or Implant Rupture: Over time, breast implants can weaken and rupture, releasing silicone gel or saline into the breast tissue. Implant removal surgery is necessary to remove these materials and prevent further complications.
  • Cosmetic Preferences: Changes in personal taste or body image, weight changes, or aging can lead women to reconsider their desire for breast implants. Some may opt for a different size or shape, while others prefer to return to their natural breast size without implants.
  • Physical Discomfort: Large implants can cause physical discomfort or interfere with everyday activities, leading some women to seek relief through implant removal.

The Recovery Process After Breast Implant Removal Surgery

Immediate Aftercare

Immediately following breast explant surgery, patients are typically taken to a recovery area, where they are closely monitored as they wake up from general anesthesia. The focus during this phase is on managing pain and preventing any risks. Surgeons might place drains to remove excess fluid from the surgical site, and patients are usually wrapped in a compression garment or fitted with a compression bra.

Breast Implant Removal Surgery Healing Timeline

The healing process after breast implant removal varies among patients but generally follows a predictable timeline:

First Week: The initial week is crucial for rest and recovery. Patients are advised to take it easy, avoid heavy lifting, and refrain from strenuous activity. Swelling and bruising are common, but these symptoms should decrease as the week progresses. Staying hydrated and maintaining a nutritional diet to support healing is essential.

One to Two Weeks: Many patients can restart normal activities between one and two weeks after surgery. However, they should continue avoiding activities that could strain the chest area. Follow-up appointments are often scheduled during this time to ensure the incision sites are healing correctly and to remove any drains if they were placed.

Up to Six Weeks: By six weeks, most of the initial swelling has subsided, and the results of the breast implant removal become more apparent. Patients can generally return to their regular routine, including returning to work, depending on the nature of their job. It’s still important to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise until cleared by the plastic surgeon.

Beyond Six Weeks: Full recovery can take several weeks to months. Scar tissues will continue to heal and fade over time. Some patients might opt for secondary surgeries to address sagging or changes in breast shape after implant removal. Regular breast examinations are recommended to monitor breast health and ensure there are no further complications.breast implant removal recovery time

Managing Expectations and Risks

Physical Changes

One of the primary concerns for many women is how their breasts are going to look after the implants are removed. The breasts may appear deflated or saggy initially, especially if the implants are large or if the patient has had them for a long time.

The skin and chest muscles might take some time to adjust, and in some cases, patients may opt for a breast lift (mastopexy) as a secondary surgery to improve the appearance of their breasts. This procedure can help to clear out excess skin and raise where the nipples are positioned, creating a more youthful contour.

Potential Risks

As with any surgical operation, breast implant removal comes with the risk of complications. Breast explant surgeons will discuss these potential risks during the consultation process, and patients need to be aware of them:

  • Although rare, there is a risk for infection at the site where the patients have gotten their breast implants removed.
  • There’s a small risk of bleeding and the formation of blood clots, though this is rare and will not impact most patients.
  • Any surgery will leave some form of scarring. Cosmetic surgeons typically make incisions in less noticeable areas, such as along the inframammary fold, to minimize visible scarring.
  • After the implants are removed, the breast tissue may take time to settle into its new shape.

Lifestyle Adjustments for Optimal Recovery

Activity Restrictions

To ensure a smooth implant removal recovery, patients should take precautions to limit their physical activity. After several weeks, it will become safe to resume normal activities in moderation. Just be sure to follow the timeline your team of plastic surgeons set.

Diet and Hydration

As with any operation, the breast implant removal procedure will leave your body quite dehydrated and lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. To combat this, ensure that you increase your water intake substantially in the weeks following your breast surgery. In addition, it may be worth it to avoid the consumption of alcohol and processed foods.recovery time for breast implant removal


What is the typical recovery time for breast implant removal?

There is no blanket recovery period after removing breast implants, but typically, you’ll come to find that you’ll slowly return to normal activity levels roughly three weeks post-operation. However, this depends on factors like your medical history and whether additional procedures, such as a breast lift, were performed. Your surgeon will give you more comprehensive information at the time of the procedure.

Can I have new implants placed after removal?

Some patients choose to remove breast implants due to complications, a desire for a different size or shape, or to update the implants with newer models. After the removal, depending on the condition of the breast tissue and the patient’s overall health, a new breast augmentation procedure can be conducted either during the same surgery or at a later date.

How can I manage pain during the recovery time?

Typically, your doctor will prescribe some form of pain medication immediately after your operation. However, applying ice packs, wearing compression garments, and ensuring adequate rest can also help reduce swelling and pain.

What should I expect in terms of scarring after implant removal?

Plastic surgeons typically aim to make incisions in less visible areas, such as the inframammary fold (the crease under the breast), or use existing scars from previous surgeries to minimize additional scarring. Over time, the scars should fade and become less noticeable. There are also treatments available, such as silicone gel sheets, laser therapy, and scar creams, which can help improve the appearance of scars.

Is it expensive to have breast implants removed?

Breast implant removal costs are variable, influenced by factors like surgeon’s expertise, procedure complexity, and geographical location.

Ready For Your Consultation?

If you’re looking for breast implant removal and you’re unsure where to start, consider working with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Rachel Mason. Dr. Mason has years of experience with various types of plastic surgery and handles each case with precision, kindness, and aptitude. Consider contacting our practice today to schedule a consultation for your upcoming breast surgery.


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