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Sometimes, it is just time for the implants to go. Some women just know when it is time for this. It just dawns on them. There may be a period of internal turmoil before concluding that implant removal is the right thing to do. But it’s OK to remove your implants; what was right for you then may not be what is right for you now.

As one patient put it, “It’s time for the girls to go.”

The original reasons that prompted you to get implants might be gone. Augmented breasts may be in the way after lifestyle changes. You may feel that you’ve just “been there, done that,” and it’s time to move on. Some women’s breast tissue slowly grows with time, so the implanted breasts may have become too large.

Most implant-related problems can be improved, such as size, shape, asymmetry, and other appearance issues. Dysphoria with altered breast shape and appearance after many years may just not be important enough anymore to fix.

A trial of “implant removal” is possible for patients with saline implants who are not sure if they want their implants completely removed. The saline implants can be deflated in the office to give the patient an idea of what their breasts will look like if they decide to remove the implants. This also allows for sizing exercises to determine if a smaller implant is then felt necessary.

Obviously, your breast volume will become reduced after implant removal. You will go back to where you started plus any pregnancy, age-related, and “genetic destiny” changes that have occurred in the interim. The tissue-stretching effect of implants over time may have accelerated some of these changes.

Procedure

An anesthesiologist is present to administer anesthesia so that patients are completely comfortable and unaware during the surgery. The most common procedure recommended is implant removal; the anticipated benefits will most likely be achieved by this alone. If a patient already has breast lift scars, these may be re-used to tighten the breast skin envelope if necessary. Since most patients are satisfied with implant removal alone, a mastopexy (breast lift) at the same time is not usually performed.

Recovery

Patients will awaken with a small dressing on their chest. For a few days, a breast stabilization strap will be used to keep the space closed where the implants were.

There is surprisingly little discomfort after implant removal. Most patients can resume their normal activities the day after surgery, but exercise should be avoided for two weeks to minimize chances of extra bleeding.

There could be wrinkling, irregularity, or dimpling of the breast surface. There may be an extra fold on the undersurface of the breast. If implants were under the muscle, tugging on the undersurface of the breast may become exaggerated (increased animation effects). Differences between the right and left breast size may become more apparent.

There could be a period where a patient perceives a “sense of loss,” but most are relieved and move on without much ado. Breasts are just not as much of an issue as they once were.

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