Home/Breast Procedures/Breast Implant Removal (Explantation)

Due to their vast experience working with breast implants and performing breast surgery, patients trust our Palm Beach plastic surgeons to help them resolve both breast implant-related health issues and cosmetic complications. These can be very complicated matters and a difficult journey for the patient. Generally speaking, patients have already been through one or more difficult surgeries, and the goal going forward is to have an insightful strategy that manages the issue(s) for the last time. Our physicians understand there are many reasons you may want to have your breast implants removed, and they conduct all of their professional interactions with the utmost compassion for your physical and emotional needs. Whether you are concerned that your implants are negatively affecting your health or you are unhappy with the current appearance of your augmented breasts, our doctors can develop a fully personalized treatment approach aimed at achieving a proper diagnosis and reaching your personal breast goals.

Choosing a Surgeon for Breast Implant Removal

As your plastic surgeon, your health, comfort, and delivering on your expectations are our physicians’ primary concerns, and they will strive to create an experience that fulfills your every need at each phase of the process. Using knowledge gained as a top breast surgeon for more than 20 years, a FDA Clinical Investigator for both Mentor® Corporation and Allergan® breast implants, and as a frequent lecturer at Allergan Academies around the world, Dr. Mark Pinsky has developed a reputation for delivering exceptional results in some of the most difficult cases.

We invite you to explore the informative sections provided below to learn more about the various reasons for breast implant removal, BIA-ALCL, breast implant-related illness (BII), and treatment techniques to restore natural-looking breasts following explantation, such as fat grafting to the breasts.

What are Common Reasons for Breast Implant Removal?

There are many personal reasons you may be considering the removal of your breast implants, and our surgeons have extensive experience addressing virtually any concerns you may be having. During a one-on-one consultation, one of our physicians will take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions in an easy-to-understand manner, thoroughly evaluate your needs, and develop the most appropriate treatment plan for your unique situation. If you are experiencing (or think you may be experiencing) any of the issues listed below, we welcome you to trust the health and care of your breasts to the experience of our doctors.

Women who choose to have their breast implants removed commonly do so for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To treat BIA-ALCL (breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma)
  • To treat breast implant illness (BII)
  • To treat capsular contracture (hardening of the breast from scar tissue)
  • To treat leaking or ruptured breast implants
  • The desire to no longer have breast implants
  • To exchange old breast implants for new implants
  • To exchange breast implants for fat tissue
  • To resolve pain related to breast implants

If you are worried about the possibility that you are suffering from a breast implant-related illness or that your breast implants need to be removed and/or replaced due to other serious concerns, please contact Pinsky Plastic Surgery today to schedule an appointment. We can book you for the soonest time available with one of our physicians to discuss the breast-related issues that are on your mind, evaluate your breasts and breast implants, and help you on the road to overcoming any related emotional and physical challenges you are experiencing.

What is BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma)?

Breast Implant-Associated Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) which develops in the scar tissue (capsule) surrounding a breast implant. This condition has mostly been linked to the use of certain textured breast implants and has not been correlated with smooth implants. At this time, the likelihood of developing BIA-ALCL is thought to be low, occurring in less than 0.03% of patients with BIOCELL textured breast implants.

Due to the concern of BIA-ALCL being linked to certain aggressively textured breast implants — and in particular, Allergan textured implants — Allergan has voluntarily issued a recall of their unused BIOCELL® textured implants out of abundance of caution for patients’ safety.

Breast Implant Recall

On July 24, 2019, at the request of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Allergan announced a voluntary worldwide withdrawal of unused stock of BIOCELL® textured breast implants and tissue expanders from doctors’ offices and hospitals. As a member of the Allergan Executive Council on Breast Aesthetics for 15 years, Dr. Pinsky has personally been in meetings with Allergan management following this announcement. There are a few very important points to note:

  1. The recall does not pertain to smooth surfaced implants.
  2. It’s the shell of the implant, smooth or textured, that is important, not the contents of the implant, silicone or saline.
  3. The recall only pertains to unused inventory from doctors’ offices and hospitals.

Patients may be able to identify their breast implant from the wallet sized information card provided from the office at the time the implant was inserted. If you cannot locate your information card, please call Dr. Pinsky’s office and we will assist you in finding out the type of breast implant you have.

This withdrawal of unused stock does not mean your textured implants need to be removed unless you are experiencing specific symptoms. According to the FDA, American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), women who do not have symptoms are being discouraged from having their implants removed because the inherent risks of surgery are greater than the risk of this rare condition.
Symptoms include breast enlargement or hardening, persistent pain, lump in the breast or armpit, or most commonly, swelling from a large fluid collection surrounding the implant—the latter of which would require an MRI and aspiration of the fluid for specific testing. These symptoms typically develop 8 to 10 years after the implant was placed.

Our physicians are aware that for some patients this news may be particularly alarming even if you do not have textured implants. A patient’s safety and sense of ease is of our utmost concern. For those reasons, we can discuss these issues in greater detail, such as what is BIA-ALCL and the relative risk, explantation, en-bloc capsulectomy (the technically more difficult task of removing the scar tissue in one complete piece), and SIEF (simultaneous implant exchange with fat).

What is BII (Breast Implant Illness)?

There are concerns that breast implants may be linked to specific illnesses or symptoms in patients who have undergone breast augmentation, breast lift with augmentation, and breast reconstruction involving implants. The specific illnesses may be various autoimmune-related illnesses with symptoms that may include (but are not limited to) fatigue, weakness, muscle or joint aches and pains, cognitive dysfunction, hair falling out, and other health issues.

For patients diagnosed with a possible type of BII, breast implant removal — and, in some cases, the removal of the scar tissue capsules that surround the breast implants — is generally recommended as part of an effective plan for treatment.

In response to BIA-ALCL and BII developments, Dr. Pinsky has directed a significant focus of his practice to assessing women’s breast concerns, examining the breasts for potential complications, suggesting effective diagnostic methods, and performing procedures to remove implants while restoring natural-looking breasts. If you are worried about your breast implants, symptoms of illness, or the appearance of your augmented breasts, you can rely upon our physicians to provide you with the education and treatment you need.

Breast Implant Removal Related to BIA-ALCL or BII

If you have breast implants and are concerned about developing an illness or believe that you are showing symptoms of BIA-ALCL or BII, we encourage you to contact our practice to schedule a consultation. During this appointment, your doctor can review your medical history, discuss your implant-related issues, assess the details of your specific breast implants (e.g. the type, date of placement, pocket location, etc.), and perform an examination to see if further diagnostic testing is indicated. An MRI and subsequent biopsy of the fluid surrounding the breast implant is required to diagnose BIA-ALCL. Should your breast implants need to be removed, one of our surgeons can perform explantation. You may also choose from the SIEF procedure or breast implant exchange to maintain a natural breast aesthetic, depending on your needs and cosmetic preferences.

Breast Implant Removal with En Bloc Capsulectomy

If your breast implants are old, ruptured, or silicone-filled, your doctor may recommend an en bloc capsulectomy as a possible technique to safely remove your implants. The en bloc procedure is designed to remove both your implant and the surrounding scar tissue as one component. This is where the name of the technique derives from, as “en bloc” translates to as a whole. The en bloc approach is distinguished by its ability to remove the implant and surrounding scar capsule together, at the same time. This can offer many important benefits, including a lower risk of leakage during the removal process and the power to dissect as much of the scar capsule as possible.

An en bloc capsulectomy can be a highly effective approach to breast implant removal for patients who are experiencing the symptoms of BIA-ALCL or BII, or who simply wish to remove their textured implants for their own peace of mind. It’s important to keep in mind that this technique is very complex, and requires the skill and knowledge of an experienced breast surgeon.

How Can I Restore Natural-Looking Breasts Following Explantation?

While some of our patients choose to exchange their old implants for new ones, others choose not to have implants any longer, and still other patients desire volume restoration through Simultaneous Implant Exchange with Fat (SIEF).

Dr. Pinsky is also known for his experience in breast revision surgeries. There are literally hundreds of breast implants to choose from when selecting breast implants. Dr. Pinsky has lectured all over the world on choosing breast implants utilizing Bio-Dimensional Planning Principles where the dimensions of the implant are matched to the proportions in each patients’ figure so a patient’s breasts look as natural and beautiful as possible. Dr. Pinsky specializes in using the latest techniques to create natural-looking results for women who no longer want breast implants, or for those who wish to replace their problematic implants with newer more advanced breast implants.

How Much Does Breast Implant Removal Cost?

Breast implant removal is such an individualized procedure that estimating the potential costs of surgery is impossible without first evaluating a patient’s needs and determining how those factors may affect their treatment plan. Generally speaking, the cost of breast implant removal at Pinsky Plastic Surgery can be influenced by:

  • The type of procedure and technique utilized
  • The complexity of your explantation
  • Whether complementary procedures are performed to restore the breasts, such as SIEF breast revision, breast lift surgery, or other treatment options
  • Your overall surgical goals

At the time of your consultation, our helpful office team will be able to provide you with a more personalized cost estimate and answer any questions you may have regarding your payment options. Financing through trusted lenders like Alphaeon Credit and CareCredit® is available for qualified patients who would rather pay for their surgery in a series of smaller installments rather than a lump sum. Our office would be happy to discuss plastic surgery financing, the application process, or any other concerns you need assistance with during your appointment.

Additional Breast Implant Removal FAQs

Is breast implant removal right for me?

Only you can decide whether breast implant removal is the best course of action for your health and appearance. In general, explantation surgery is recommended if your breasts feel hard to the touch (this may be an indication of capsular contracture), if breast imaging tests confirm a leak, or if you’re experiencing pain from your implants. Alternatively, breast implant removal can also be beneficial if you simply do not have use for your implants anymore. We understand that the choice to remove your breast implants is a major decision, which is why our medical team is here to address your concerns and educate you on all aspects of breast implant removal so you’re well-informed on what to expect from the procedure.

Will breast implant removal improve my health?

In some cases where signs of BII or BIA-ALCL are observed, breast implant removal surgery may be able to improve your health; however, this varies from patient to patient. Your medical history will be closely evaluated during the consultation process to learn whether you’re a good candidate for breast implant removal. If you feel your breast implants are causing painful or uncomfortable symptoms, we encourage you to discuss your concerns with your doctor or our physicians to determine whether explantation is a potential treatment option. For some (but not all) women, removing breast implants can reduce or completely resolve the symptoms associated with BII.

What will my breasts look like after breast implant removal?

Your appearance post-surgery will depend on the complete details of your surgical plan, which you and one of our surgeons will discuss at length before your procedure. Keep in mind that years (or decades) of implant use often causes the chest skin to stretch, so your breasts may not look exactly how they appeared before your breast augmentation. The goal with any breast surgery is to achieve a natural-looking outcome, and we offer several techniques to reshape/enhance the breasts after removal surgery. Among these options are Simultaneous Implant Exchange with Fat (SIEF) — a technique that can be performed at the same time as your implant removal — and breast lift surgery to correct a sagging or deflated appearance.

Can I combine breast implant removal with a breast lift?

Depending on the exact details of your treatment plan, a breast lift may be able to be completed at the same time as your breast implant removal. The possibility of a combined procedure is contingent on which technique was used to dissect your implants among other factors, so Dr. Pinsky will assess your unique situation during your consultation. Fortunately, our physicians are extensively experienced in the combined procedure and have the skill necessary to achieve a successful outcome.

What happens if I don’t like the outcome of my breast implant removal procedure?

If you don’t like the way your breasts look after implant removal, your surgeon can perform many procedures designed to refine the outcome of explantation surgery and restore a beautiful, natural-looking aesthetic to the breasts. This may involve restoring a rounder, “perkier” breast shape through mastopexy, replacing your old implants with newer devices, or adding volume using transfers of your own fat. Your doctor will advise you on the best option for your needs, preferences, and aesthetic goals in person.

If you want to remove your breast implants for any reason, we welcome you to contact our practice to schedule a consultation.