Why Breast ‘Explants’ Are On the Rise

Woman lying on bed after getting breast implant removal

The phrase “explant surgery” is something women considering breast augmentation may come across during their online research. The name describes the process of having breast implants removed or replaced with other implants. My goal when performing breast augmentation at my Houston plastic surgery practice is to create long-lasting results that my patients love. However, there are many reasons women may opt to either have their implants removed or replaced with different implants.

In this blog post, I want to discuss why women may choose to have implants removed or exchanged and how you can decide if this procedure is right for you.

Before & After Breast Implant Removal with Lift
Before & After Breast Implant Removal with Lift
Before & After Breast Implant Removal with Lift

Why Explant Surgery?

The decision to have your implants removed is a highly personal one. It may be driven by:

  • Lifestyle changes: If you become more active than you were in the past, you may decide your implants are no longer comfortable for your activity level or no longer match your new body type.
  • Aging: Aging causes the skin to stretch, which can lead to sagging or drooping in the breasts. Implants don’t always adapt well to these changes.
  • Weight changes: Weight gain or loss can affect the proportionality of your implants.
  • A new desired look: Today, women are turning away from the full, round look and pursuing a more natural, timeless result that calls for smaller implants.
  • Complications: In the rare case a woman develops capsular contracture or another implant-related complication, she may opt to have her implants removed.

The Implant Removal Process

I use the en bloc resection technique for implant removal procedures, which involves taking both the implant and its surrounding fibrous capsule out together. This requires making small incisions where the primary augmentation incisions were made. It is performed while you’re under general anesthesia. If you have saline implants, we may decide to deflate them under local anesthesia in our office.

Many women getting their implants removed also choose to combine their procedure with a breast lift to address sagging and stretched, loose skin. Most patients take a couple of days off of work to recuperate and are back to their usual activities within 2 weeks.

Is Explant Surgery for You?

Patients may choose to remove or exchange implants within a year of their primary surgery, or as long as 15 to 20 years after first getting breast implants. If you’re considering having your implants removed or replaced, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • Have I seen my final augmentation results? It may take at least 6 months for the implants to settle and for swelling to subside. Learn more about this in our previous blog post.
  • Are my implants interfering with my lifestyle? Think about the role your implants play in your daily routine, including outfit choices, exercise, and your typical activities.
  • Would a smaller bust size better suit my body’s proportions? While your size may have been ideal for you when you had your first procedure done, it’s possible your body shape has changed.

If you’re considering explant surgery, it’s important to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in this specific procedure. To learn more about breast augmentation revision or implant removal at my plastic surgery practice in Houston, please contact us using the online form or call (713) 571-0600 to request a consultation.

This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated for 2023.

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