Breast implant removal
What is breast implant removal surgery?
If you have previously had breast implants to enhance the size of your breasts, but you have now decided you don't want them anymore, you can have your breast implants removed surgically.
There may also be medical reasons why a breast augmentation needs to be reversed, or you might just want to change the size, shape or feel of your breasts. If so then new different sized implants can be inserted following removal of your original implants.
What does breast implant removal involve?
The operation normally takes one to two hours and is carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you will be asleep throughout the procedure. You will usually stay in hospital for one or two nights and you will need to plan time off work so that you can recover at home.
Your current implants will sit either directly under the breast tissue or deeper behind the breast muscle. They will be removed through incisions made underneath your breasts or around the areola. Depending on the exact type of surgery you have, further surgery such as a breast uplift, might be required following the implant removal and/or replacement.
Following the procedure you will be taken from the operating theatre into the Recovery Suite where you will be looked after until you are fully awake following the anaesthetic. After this, you will return to your room, where nursing staff will check your dressings and monitor your pulse and blood pressure at regular intervals.
Your anaesthetist is likely to prescribe painkillers to reduce any potential discomfort and you should take these regularly for the first few days. Pain can slow down your recovery, so it is important to discuss any discomfort with your nursing staff.
You will have wound dressings in place and a supportive dressing around your breasts. You may also be wearing your support bra.
Breast implant removal recovery time
After breast implant removal you are likely to have some discomfort, swelling, bruising, hardness and pain/twinges in the breasts. These are temporary and should subside after the first few weeks. It may take several months for the shape of your breast to settle.
You should follow your surgeon's advice regarding how long to avoid driving but you certainly should not begin driving again until you are confident that you can safely perform an emergency stop without experiencing any discomfort. You must avoid strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, swimming and vacuuming for four to six weeks after surgery.
Your surgeon will advise you as to how long you will be required to wear your support bra and whether it is to be worn day and night. You must avoid wearing an under wired bra until you are informed otherwise.
You will receive a post-operative telephone call from the Cosmetic Surgery Specialist Nurse one to two days after your discharge home to ascertain your progress and well being. At your post-operative follow-up appointment your surgeon will assess your progress and give advice on when you can resume your normal activities. You may need to take one to two weeks off work, depending on your type of employment.
What risks should I know about?
Breast implant removal is a commonly performed and generally safe procedure, however, all surgery carries an element of risk.
The possible complications of any surgery can include an unexpected reaction to a general anaesthetic, excessive bleeding, developing a blood clot (usually in a vein in the lower leg, known as a DVT - deep vein thrombosis) and infection.
You may experience changes in sensation in different parts of the breast including the nipple - these areas may become more or less sensitive than before. These changes are usually temporary, but can last for up to six months. Occasionally numbness can be permanent.
A small number of patients can develop thick, red and painful scars that may take years to improve.
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