If you have had breast implants but decide you no longer want them, whether it is for medical reasons or simply because you want to change them, they can be surgically removed.
Breast implants generally have a life span of up to 15 years so it may be that you want or have been advised to have yours replaced. Other people decide they want larger or smaller breasts. On rare occasions some women suffer complications as a result of their original implants, and so they need to be replaced.
The implants, which sit either directly under the breast tissue or behind the muscle, will be removed through incisions underneath the breasts or around the nipple.
Depending on the exact type of surgery you have, further work – such as a breast uplift – may be required following the implant removal and/or replacement. This is because your breasts can lose their shape with age and the uplift procedure is often performed as part of breast enlargement.
We understand that surgery can be a cause of anxiety – even if it’s a relatively straightforward procedure like this one. That’s why our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you every step of the way.
Depending on the procedure you are having, the operation should take between 1-2 hours to complete and is carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you will be asleep throughout.
The incision is made in the same location as your first breast enlargement, to try to avoid creating any new scars. After the old implants have been removed, new ones can be inserted. The wounds will then be stitched and dressed. See our Breast Lift page for details if you’re having this procedure done at the same time.
After the procedure, you will be taken to your room where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go to your hotel.
- Pain relief: You will probably experience some pain, swelling and bruising immediately after surgery. This is normal and your symptoms should start to improve over the next few weeks. You will be prescribed painkillers for after the operation. Suffering from pain could slow down your recovery, so please discuss any discomfort with your doctors or nurses. We will also provide you with a supply of all the medicines your surgeon feels you need to take home with you after you’ve left the hospital, up to 14 days.
- Recovery time: After traveling back home you’ll need to take things easy at first and it’s a good idea to sit upright as much as possible to minimise swelling. Arrange at least a week off work and you’ll gradually be able to return to normal activity within four to six weeks. It’s also a good idea to wear loose clothing while your wounds heal. Light activity will be comfortable after around two weeks but you shouldn’t do anything too active – like going to the gym or do any heavy lifting – for at least a month.
- End results: Breast implant removal is usually a very successful procedure. Extra scarring is minimised but healing time will depend on your skin type, age and the efforts you make to eat healthy after your surgery.
- How your loved ones can help: You’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home from the airport once you have travelled back home, as you won’t be able to drive. You should also ask them if they can run some light errands, such as shopping and cleaning, as you won’t feel up to it at first.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it’s important to follow your healthcare professional’s advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.