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Breast Implant Removal – What’s Involved?

Breast enlargement surgery is one of the most popular procedures we carry out here at Manchester Plastic Surgery, but we also remove implants too.  Mr James Murphy is our lead surgeon for breast treatments.  Here he explains the most common reasons behind breast implant removal and provides an overview of what’s involved.

 

How long do breast implants last?

There is no expiry date on implants and the general principle is that you can “fit and forget” in that, as long as a patient is happy with the look and feel of their implants, they can leave them in for as long as they want quite safely. Life, however, doesn’t always work out like that and things can go wrong for a number of reasons, albeit rarely. 

 

Capsular contracture

The most common reason for removing implants is a phenomenon called capsular contracture whereby the very thin layer of scar tissue that forms round every breast implant can occasionally thicken up causing firmness and distortion of the implant. 

This can happen quite early on in unusual cases though is more common when the implants have been in place for a few years. The implants we use at Manchester Plastic Surgery have a capsular contracture rate of less than 1% in nine years.

The reasons for capsular contracture are multiple but one of the most common current theories is what is known as a ‘biofilm’.  This is a very low-grade colonisation of the implant surface with bacteria, which forms a layer around the implant and is believed to cause irritation/inflammation. There is, not surprisingly, a huge amount of information – and misinformation - on the Internet about this subject but please get in touch with us to discuss any concerns.

 

Body shape changes

The other reason people have their implants changed is because their breasts and/or body has changed over the years. This can either be from having children and breastfeeding or even just the passage of time and the hormonal changes associated with growing older.

 

Peace of mind

Some people look to change or remove their breast implants to gain peace of mind.  This can be because they feel that their implants have aged. In addition, there’s been some quite negative press about certain types of implant that have very rough texturing (known as ‘macro textured’ implants) and their association with late complications such as a build-up of fluid (seroma) or even a rare form of cancer (ALCL).  Please note that we do not fit macro textured implants here at Manchester Plastic Surgery.

 

Change of mind

Another reason for breast implant removal, though quite rare, is that some women simply change their mind and would prefer not to have the implants any more.

 

What does breast implant removal involve?

The removal of the implants themselves is relatively straightforward.  The patient undergoes a general anaesthetic and we carefully remove the implant, seeking to minimise scarring.

Where appropriate, and in cases where a breast uplift is required, we use a breast implant removal technique called ‘en bloc removal’ which involves removing the implant and the capsule as one. This is seen as the gold standard way of removing the implant without contaminating the pocket with even microscopic amounts of silicone.  

 

What to do next

If you would like to find out more about breast implant removal, please get in touch to arrange an initial consultation with Mr Murphy.