You hear a lot about breast implants and breast enhancement surgery, as well as why women get breast implants – what you don’t hear about quite as often however is breast implant removal.
There are plenty of situations where you might need an implant removed. And that’s why we’re dedicating today’s article to explaining what those situations might be, as well as what to expect.
Maybe your implants have reached their use-by date. Perhaps your tastes have changed, and you no longer want implants in your life. Maybe your body has changed over the years, and you’re no longer a fan of your implants.
Or, it could be a combination of all these factors, plus others.
These are just some of the situations where you might want to think about breast implant replacement or removal.
Before you do however, you’ll want to book a complimentary information session with the team at Cairns Plastic Surgery to talk through any concerns and questions that you have about breast implant removal.
And that includes questions like…
How do I know when my breast implants need replacing?
Like we briefly mentioned above, breast implants (and implants in general) have a finite life.
Even if you’re committed to getting implants, you may have to have them renewed periodically to maintain your appearance – a process that begins by removing your current ones.
Over time, implants tend to change shape, affecting your appearance. In some cases, they can degrade and even rupture if they’re left for too long without being regularly checked – something which can lead to all sorts of issues down the line.
Not replacing your bilateral breast implant can have a serious impact on your health, so you’ll want to make sure you get your implants replaced as needed.
Can breast implants last 30 years? How often you should change your breast implants
One of the most common questions that women ask about their breast implants is how long will it last, and how frequently they’ll need to be replaced.
Modern implants typically have a “shelf life” between 10 to 20 years.
Of course, this is assuming you don’t run into complications over the lifespan of your implants. Various medical conditions can affect not just your health, but also your implants, and may need to be immediately addressed…
Leaks and ruptures
Breast implant silicone shells can eventually burst given enough wear and tear – saline implants, on the other hand, have a valve that can cause a leak.
Leaking and ruptures may be the result of:
- Radiation therapy
- Breast trauma
- Injury and accidents
When leaks occur, fluids may be absorbed by the body, which can lead to a number of health problems depending on the composition of your implants (in addition to the obvious change in your breasts’ appearance and form).
The body automatically forms a protective capsule to defend against anything that it considers to be foreign, including implants. Such a tissue capsule is usually soft and unnoticeable, and can even help keep your implants in place.
Capsular contracture refers to a condition that can occur in certain women with breast implants. It refers to when the body “overreacts” to getting implants, with the tissue surrounding an implant reacting to a new implant by hardening.
This can change the shape of your breasts, as well as lead to considerable discomfort and pain. In many cases, the only remedy for capsule contracture may be implant removal and optional replacement.
Do breast implants get hard over time?
It isn’t just the tissue around the implant that can tighten and can become dense and hard with enough time – in addition to capsular contracture, it’s also possible for your implants themselves to harden as well.
Over time, the material in your implants themselves can harden, which can result in your breasts looking strange and uneven, often being accompanied by a swollen feeling and your breasts sitting higher on your chest.
If the issue is isolated just to your implants and not the surrounding tissue, breast implant replacement can help fix the issue for you, giving you a more natural-looking chest.
As we mentioned above, most of the time, the tissue surrounding your implant helps provide support, ensuring that your implants stay in place and helping you avoid uneven or misshapen breasts.
Once your breast implant loses its internal support however, it can lead to your breasts becoming misshapen or uneven. This may be the result of muscle weakness, or an issue with your skin no longer holding and supporting it properly.
The result is referred to as “bottoming out”.
There are many factors that can contribute to bottoming out:
- Weight loss
- Physician error
Bottoming out can also indicate weak tissue structure and poor elasticity around your chest area.
What happens if you don’t replace breast implants?
Higher chance of leaks and ruptures
While there are many things that can cause leaks or ruptures in your implants, the most common issue is simple wear-and-tear.
The best way to avoid this? Get your implants replaced as they start to approach their use-by date.
Are you experiencing deformed breasts after implant removal?
Another red flag to watch out for after a breast implant is asymmetry. Over time, your implants can shift and move, resulting in unnatural looking breasts.
Correcting this requires a plastic surgeon to come in and reposition your implant, or even replace it altogether.
In some cases, women who come in to get their implants repositioned may even decide that it isn’t for them, and may ask to have their implants removed completely to return to their natural bust.
Aging will affect implanted breasts, often resulting in your implants shifting and moving as the tissue supporting your implants start changing themselves.
As a woman gets older, hormonal changes can cause the implanted breasts to sag, and the breast implant may become very noticeable.
Implant replacement and repositioning can go a long way towards avoiding these issues and helping you maintain your implants going forward.
One particular aging-related issue is the fact that your skin loses its elasticity over time as you age, which can cause issues with implants owing to the extra weight they add to your chest.
In some cases, the best course of action may be to have your breast implants removed altogether.
How to take care of yourself following breast augmentation surgery
Take time to heal and recover
When it comes to breast implant replacement and surgery recovery, the best thing you can do is rest!
Even after your breast implant surgery, you need to spend at least 1 to 3 months taking it easy to facilitate a faster recovery and healing process.
Doing so will give your breasts time to heal properly – that means having adequate rest, reducing exercise and unnecessary strain, and avoiding lifting anything heavy, all while following your surgeon’s care advice.
Engage in gentle breast massaging
It’s relatively common for plastic surgeons to recommend gentle breast massage techniques during the first few weeks following breast implant surgery.
In many cases, this can help your implant get “settled” in your chest, and can strengthen the pocket created during surgery.
Moreover, it also helps facilitate healing, as well as helping you identify anything unusual that might indicate complications from your procedure.
Wear an appropriate bra
While the right bra is key in supporting your breasts, in the immediate aftermath of surgery, you’ll need to wear a special type of bra.
Your surgeon may prescribe a special surgical bra that’s designed to provide extra support for several weeks after your surgery.
Compared to regular bras, surgical bras can offer more support to your breasts, helping them to maintain their new shape and size, and facilitate recovery.
Talk to us about breast implant removal!
Whether you’re getting your current implants removed as part of implant replacement or you’ve simply decided that isn’t for you, choosing the right team for breast implant removal is just as important as choosing the right surgeon to look after your implant surgery.
When you choose our team for a breast implant at Cairns, you aren’t just choosing a team to perform surgery. You’re choosing specialists who are with you every step of the way, for years to come, when it comes to implant surgery, explant surgery, or replacement.
Our Queensland plastic surgery clinic endeavours to provide the best experience possible.
In addition to ongoing appointments to inspect your implants and evaluate recovery, we’ll also make sure that you’re supported throughout the process.
Book a complimentary session with one of our nurses today to learn about cost, steps of the process, recovery process, and whether breast implant removal is right for you.