What Will My Breasts Look Like After Breast Implant Removal?
In my previous post I discussed the many different reasons why more and more women are getting their breast implants removed. Whether it is for aesthetic reasons such as the desire for a leaner, more athletic look, or for possible health reasons like Breast Implant Illness, the first question I always hear from my Scottsdale, AZ patients is “what are my breasts going to look like”? For many patients, the thought of being without their implants, which often have been in place for many years, causes significant anxiety and concern. There is the fear of looking deflated, out of proportion or saggy. Fortunately, after implants are removed there are many ways to re-shape the smaller, natural breast tissue remaining to create a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing breast.
What will my breasts look like after Breast Implant Removal?
During the very first consultation I have with women who are considering breast augmentation, I always make sure they understand having implants will result in their natural breast tissue being compressed from the implant pushing it against the skin. Over the course of many years, this compression can be significant, depending on the size of the implant. This is important to understand because when the implants are removed, the patient will not be the same size as she was before her augmentation. Also, the skin will stretch to accommodate the implant which often results in loose skin when the implants are removed. And finally, many women have experienced significant changes in the size and shape of their breasts during the time when they had their implants due to weight gain, weight loss, breastfeeding, etc. Because of all of these factors, it is often very difficult to predict what the breasts will look like after the implants are removed. Typically, there will be some loose skin (the larger the implant, the more stretched, loose skin), loss of fullness in the upper part of the breast, and usually, some sagging where the remaining breast tissue sits too low on the chest. Fortunately, there are many ways to correct these issues.
Breast Implant Removal Consultation
The first thing I do when a patient requests a consultation for implant removal is take a complete and detailed health history as well as a comprehensive history of their breast surgery (or surgeries) and their implants. I want to know how long they have been in place, what type they are, saline or silicone, are they above or below the muscle, and has she had any complications with the implants such as deflation, capsular contractures or seromas. I also want to know if there is any history of breast cancer with her or her family members and if she is up to date on her mammograms. I also want to know if she is experiencing any symptoms which she feels are related to her implants. After that, a detailed physical examination is performed so that I can evaluate the quality of the skin, try to estimate how much natural breast tissue will remain and determine if there is sagging that will occur once the implants are removed. After the history and physical is completed, I will often give the patient a few options to consider depending on my findings.
First, if the implants are saline and the patient is not sure she wants to remove the implants because she may not be happy with the way she looks, I can deflate the implants with a small procedure in the office using local anesthesia. Obviously, prior to doing this the patient will already be on the surgery schedule to have the implants removed (or replaced if she does not like the look) since once I deflate the saline implants they cannot be refilled. After the saline is removed, the patient can see what they will look like without the implants prior to surgery. I recommend the patient live with the deflated implants for a few weeks to see if they are comfortable with their new size. Also, this allows the stretched skin to naturally tighten up a bit and may result in the patient needing less of a lift or not one at all, depending on the quality of their skin. After a few weeks have gone by, the patient is able to make a better decision regarding removing the implants or replacing them (often with a smaller size). Obviously, if the patient has silicone implants this cannot be done.
The second option is to simply remove the implants and do no lift. I give this option to patients who have small to moderate sized implants with good skin tone and no existing sagging. Or if the patient does not want the additional scarring that comes with a lift and wants to live with her new size and shape for a while. I always tell patients they can come back at any time to get a lift if they are not happy with their shape after everything heals. Oftentimes, once the implant is removed the skin will naturally tighten up enough to create a good shape and no further surgeries are needed.
And finally, the third option is to remove the implants and do a breast lift all in one surgery. I usually recommend this to patients who might be a little older and the skin’s elasticity is not great, to patients who already have sagging with their current implants, or to patients with really large implants and stretched out skin. There are many different lifts that I perform depending on how much skin I need to remove to correct the sagging. I will also reshape the actual breast tissue that remains to increase the projection of the breast and improve the overall shape. Obviously, the patient has to prepare to have additional scars on her breast following the lift, but it is often the only way to correct significant sagging, remove the stretched skin and improve the overall shape of the breast.
Complimentary Consultation For Breast Implant Removal
If you are considering removing your implants, call my office and schedule a complimentary consultation, in person or virtual, and I will go over all of the options available to you.