As breast implant surgery becomes more popular, so too does breast implant removal.
There's a LOT of information I could share about implant removal so, for now, I'll just start with the basics...
Many women choose to have their implants removed (or 'explanted') at some point in their lives. It may be to switch them out for bigger (or smaller) implants or to repair a surgical complication. And every year many women say goodbye to their implants all together.
If your breasts have changed due to aging, pregnancy, or weight fluctuations, or you are simply no longer satisfied with the look and feel of your implants you may choose to get them removed.
It take about 1-3 hours of surgery time to remove implants, depending on what your plastic surgeon needs to do and their technique.
If you’re just having your implants removed the plastic surgeon will typically open your original incision site, extract the implant and close the wound again.
Breast implant removal is typically considered an elective cosmetic procedure (i.e. you choose to do it) and not medically necessarily. For this reason, implant removal is not likely to be covered by your health insurance. Therefore, the cost will be all yours to cover.
There are so many factors (the experience of the plastic surgeon, length of the procedure, location of your doctor, and additional fees associated with anesthesia, surgical facility, post-op medications etc) that affect the cost of removing implants that I wouldn’t even want to give you an uneducated guess on this.
If you’re asking this question it’s time to reach out to your (or another) board-certified plastic surgeon, who can help you determine if implant removal is right for you and how much it will cost.
You should be able to go home the day of surgery if you're just having your implants removed.
Recovery after breast implant removal is much easier than recovery from initial breast implant surgery. You can expect minimal pain (so minimal pain meds) and to be back at work within a couple of days (with the usual 'no heavy lifting' rule in place).
But, if you do have a more involved surgery or have your implants replaced after explanting you’re looking at a similar recovery to a first breast augmentation.
The risks from implant removal surgery are similar for placing implants (e.g. infection, bleeding) so it's important to follow your post-op recovery instructions.
You might be worried about how your breasts will look if you remove your implants, don't replace them and don't have any further breast surgery (e.g. a lift).
Certainly your breasts will be smaller. But what will they look like?
No one can predict for sure how your breasts will look after your implants are removed. It depends on your anatomy (skin, amount of breast tissue) before implants and any changes to your breasts since you've had implants (e.g. pregnancy, and weight changes).
At first they may look a bit... deflated. Some sagging of the natural breast following implant removal is normal. Over the course of a few weeks though the breasts do settle and skin can bounce back. Depending on your age and skin quality (and the size of your implants) your breast skin will tighten up and the breasts take on a more normal shape.
Your breasts immediately following surgery will not be your final look. But, it's important to recognize that you will not go back to the way you looked before you got breast implants (Boobie Mantra: Have Realistic Expectations).
Your plastic surgeon will be able to give you some idea if sagging will be an issue for you (based on your anatomy). Just be prepared that you may need further breast surgery (e.g. a lift) if you want to keep your breasts looking perky.
What If I Change My Mind (Again)?
Some women are perfectly happy with their natural breasts after they've recovered from implant removal.
If you have your implants removed and later (or not so much later) down the line you decide you want implants again this should be okay as long as you are in good health and your plastic surgeon gives you the green light for further breast surgery.
It can be a bit scary to think about having your implants removed (especially if you've only just started your boobie journey). BUT it's good to know this part of your journey doesn't have to be scary. Like every part of the boobie journey you get to decide the when's, the how's and the why's... it is, after all, your journey. :)