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Does Breast Implant Removal Require Breast Lift?

The overwhelming majority of Dr. George Sanders’ breast augmentation patients love their results and happily enjoy their implants for many years. However, the doctor does see the occasional patient who wants her breast implants removed (a.k.a., “explanted”). These are either patients whose own breast tissue has increased significantly since surgery or patients with intractable hardness of the breasts due to capsular contracture. After removing the implants, some of these women require breast lift surgery to restore a perky breast appearance, while others do not. Here, Encino plastic surgeon Dr. Sanders explains the factors that influence the results of implant removal and the need for breast lift.

Factors that Matter

Elasticity of the tissues and skin. Thanks to factors like genetics, age and weight fluctuation, some women’s breast skin and tissue stretches more than others. Women whose breast skin and tissue stretches significantly to accommodate large breast implants will retract somewhat after implant removal, but probably not enough for a satisfactory contour. In these cases, a breast lift can be performed to tighten the tissues and skin for a youthful breast appearance.

Nipple position in relation to the breast tissue. If, after breast implant removal, the nipples sit noticeably low on the breasts (i.e., below the inframammary breast folds), the breasts tend to look very saggy. Breast lift surgery is then needed to relocate the nipples higher on the breasts for a perkier look.

Size of the implants. Implants that are large in relation to the amount of native breast tissue tend to stretch out the skin and tissue. It is less likely that the skin and tissue will retract after explantation, and more likely that breast lift is necessary to achieve an attractive breast appearance.

Previous degree of breast ptosis. Women whose breasts do not sag prior to implant placement may find that their breasts are still perky (albeit smaller) after explantation. In these cases, a breast lift would not be needed.

Desired results. The most important factor is the personal preference of the patient. Some women are fine with a little bit of ptosis after breast implant removal, and choose to refrain from breast lift. Others want youthful breasts and opt to have breast lift. The decision truly hinges on the personal desires of the individual patient.

Consult with Dr. Sanders

If you are exploring implant removal, only an evaluation with your plastic surgeon can determine whether you will need breast lift surgery. To speak with Dr. Sanders about your specific needs and goals, please schedule a consultation. Call (818) 981-3333 or email our practice today.

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