Breast Implant Removal: Reasons, Risks, Recovery


Breast implant removal is a surgery to remove breast implants. During the procedure, the surgeon may also remove silicone material from implant leaks and the breast capsule, which is the scar tissue that forms after placing a breast implant. Because the scar tissue may harden and cause concerns ranging from implant malfunction to dissatisfaction with the size of your breasts.

According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as many as one in five women will have their implants removed. Since breast implants are not lifelong devices and it is important to have them exchanged or removed approximately every 10-15 years.


A good candidate for breast implant removal include:

  • Bothered by the appearance of implants
  • Have experienced discomfort or pain
  • Bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too heavy
  • Imaging a leak or rupture of implants
  • Have stable weight
  • Physically healthy and have no other medical illnesses that impair the healing
  • Nonsmokers
  • Have positive and realistic expectations toward the surgery
  • Committed to living a healthy life with proper nutrion and fitness


You should call your doctor to arrange breast implant removal if you:

  • Have capsular contracture (hardening of the breast)
  • Feel pain with implants
  • Have taken imaging tests showing a leak of the capsule
  • No longer desire implants
  • Wish to exchange them

Other reasons for doing the surgery include:

  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)
  • Implant shifting, wrinkling, rupture, deflation or asymmetry
  • Adverse reaction to the implant
  • An infection or bleed after the plant


According to RealSelf reviews, breast implant removal costs about $4,500, with prices ranging anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 based on the surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic office location.


All surgeries have risks. Breast implant removal is no exception. Its risks include:

  • Bleeding
  • Breast sagging
  • Infection
  • Loose skin
  • Scarring
  • Asymmetry
  • Persistent pain
  • Loss of sensation in the nipples
  • Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
  • Anesthesia complications

These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It’s important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.


You may be asked to do some lab tests or a medical evaluation before the breast implant removal surgery. To prepare for the procedure, you may also need to:

  • Stop smoking
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Surgical steps

Generally, the breast implant removal surgery can take more than 1 hour and involves 4 steps. They are:

  • Anesthesia

In this step, medications, either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Your doctor and anesthesiologist will recommend the best choice for you.

  • The incision.

A breast implant removal requires an incision to be placed along the lower fold of your breast or an incision around or below the areola.

  • The operation.

This will depend on your particular type pf surgery and your surgeon. Often, the breast capsules and implants are removed using a combination of techniques.

  • Closing the incisions.

Your surgeon will use sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips to close the skin incisions.


Each patient’s recovery is different and may vary based on many factors, such as the type of procedure that was performed and whether it involves placement of new implants.

Probably, you will need to wear a drain for 2–3 days and a compression garment for 3–4 weeks after the surgery. Overall, you can usually expect less pain and a shorter recovery time than you experienced after your initial breast augmentation.

Keyword: breast implant removal.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.