Explant Surgery: Removing Breast Implants

Breast implant removal is a common surgical procedure that has been gaining attention and becoming increasingly more popular. This is a newer trend and there are a few things worth knowing about it. 

Why do patients have breast implants removed?

Most patients who undergo breast augmentation or breast reconstruction procedures decide to have their implants replaced on an as-needed basis. However, there are some who wish to remove their implants completely and not have to worry about undergoing more surgery related to their breast implants in the future. Factors that may lead to removal can be ruptured implants, pain with implants, capsular contracture (hardening of the breast), health concerns, or if there is no longer a desire to have breast implants. 

There has recently been an increase in breast implant removal requests since concerning reports were released by the FDA regarding a rare lymphoma, Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), that has been linked, not to all implants, but to textured implants only. In addition, patients sometimes read and hear information circulating through the news and social media regarding breast implant illness (BII). Breast implant illness is a term used by women who have breast implants and describe a variety of unfavorable symptoms that they attribute to their implants. As breast implant removal is a highly individualized procedure, it is best to speak with your surgeon regarding any symptoms or concerns, 

To read more on BIA-ALCL and BII, follow this link: https://www.stcharlesplasticsurgery.com/bia-alcl-breast-implant-illness/

Will breast implant removal get rid of the symptoms I am experiencing

Some patients who have their implants removed state that their symptoms improve while others don’t find relief. Unfortunately, there are no studies that show a direct link between symptoms and breast implants or relief of symptoms following removal. However, even in the instances where symptoms persist, implant removal can provide peace of mind. 

What is Capsulectomy and En bloc capsulectomy? 

Capsulectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a breast implant and part or all of the breast implant capsule. Scar tissue is referred to as the capsule. Once breast implants are placed, patients naturally form some scar tissue around the breast implants. Whenever a capsulectomy is performed, an attempt is usually made to remove most of the capsule. This is done by opening the capsule, removing the old implant, and then peeling the capsule away. The capsule that forms can be soft, however, it may harden over time causing discomfort and pain. A capsulectomy is more in-depth than just removing the implants. Drains may be required, and the overall procedure may be more costly. 

En bloc capsulectomy is becoming a popular term that’s circulating on social media and can be incorrectly interpreted. Recently, there have been many patients being told an en bloc procedure is the only breast implant removal option they should consider. En bloc means to remove the breast implant as well as the surrounding tissue or capsule as one piece. This is a detailed surgical procedure that often involves removing the capsule off the ribs and chest wall. During the procedure, as the implant cannot be seen, the capsule needs to be gently dissected to be removed in one piece. This means an en bloc procedure takes considerably more time and requires a much larger incision. Although an en bloc procedure may seem to be a more preferred method for some surgeons, you will need to be evaluated in person to determine if you are a candidate. If the capsule is too thin or adhering too closely to the ribs or vital tissues, an en bloc procedure may not be possible. 


If you are considering breast implant removal or have concerns or symptoms regarding your breast implants, please contact our office today to schedule your personalized consultation with Dr. Ghaderi to be evaluated.