BREAST IMPLANT REMOVAL - Thomas G. Crabtree, MD, FACS
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BREAST IMPLANT REMOVAL

There are many reasons to have breast implants removed. These include failure of an implant (leakage), poor outcome (appearance), and/or firm internal scars also known as capsular contracture.  Many patients are also concerned about possible long-term health effects and simply wish to remove otherwise “normal” implants. Dr. Crabtree is very experienced and sought after to address these various situations.

Dr. Crabtree will work with you to decide on the right surgical procedure. If your breast implants are ruptured, or if you have capsular contracture or capsular calcifications, you may also need your implant capsule removed. This is a surgery called “capsulectomy” and is often performed with breast implant removal or replacement. Whether the removal of the capsule is necessary or not is determined by your physical exam, radiological studies, or both.

Depending on the amount of loose skin that you have, you may also need a mastopexy, or breast lift. The scar for mastopexy varies from patient to patient, depending on the degree of excess skin. In all cases, however, the scar is kept to a minimum, and the skin is never used to hold or lift breast tissue. Many times, however, this is not required as the breast has a remarkable ability to lift itself after the weight of the implants are removed.  Dr. Crabtree often suggests letting the breasts heal and recover between the explant surgery and the breast lift surgery. This allows for a more precise and predictable final result with less risk.

Your Consultation

In the initial consultation, Dr. Crabtree will use the time to get to know you, learn about your expectations and discuss a plan to achieve your goals.  He will discuss the variables of the surgery and create a custom approach for your procedure.  Together you will decide if you want to do an implant replacement or just the explantation.  Dr. Crabtree will also be able to tell you if you need a capsulectomy. Prior to surgery you will have a good understanding of the procedure, plan and recovery. If you decide you are ready to proceed you will set a date for surgery and be given instructions on how to prepare. You will also schedule a pre-operative appointment to review your medical history, take pre-operative photographs, and confirm the details of your surgery.

Your Procedure

Your breast revision procedure generally takes about an hour to an hour and a half depending on the procedures planned and will be performed under general anesthesia administered by a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist or a Board-Certified Nurse Anesthetist at Windward Surgery Center in Kailua, Hawaii.  

Your Recovery

After the procedure you will be wrapped in a ‘tube top’ type dressing with bandages covering the breasts.  The sutures are all under the skin and only glue and flesh colored type is visible on the skin itself. You may also have surgical drains to collect any fluid from the incision site.  You can shower 24 hours after the surgery and either rewrap the breasts with the ace wrap or wear a front closing sports bra during the healing process. You can return to normal daily routine in a week, one month of avoiding strenuous activity and several months for scars to fade and normal sensation to resume.  The results will be evident immediately but will continue to improve and “settle” over the course of several months. The results will last many years depending on lifestyle, childbirth, weight maintenance and other factors.

The Breast Implant Removal Procedure:

  • Clinic Procedure or Operating Room: Operating Room
  • Hospital Status: Outpatient
  • Length of Surgery: 1-2 hours
  • Anesthesia: General Anesthesia performed under the care of a board certified Anesthesiologist
  • Post-Operative: A special bra may be worn for up to two weeks to help with swelling and recovery.  Mild soreness, swelling, and bruising are all normal
  • Recovery Time: Return to normal daily routine in one week, one month avoiding strenuous activity and several months for scars to fade and normal sensation.
  • Results: The results will be evident immediately but will continue to improve and “settle” over the course of several months.