Breast Implant Removal
Breast implant removal surgery or “explantation” surgery is a procedure in which breast implants are removed for a variety of reasons. Whether the implants are removed due to health concerns like breast implant illness (BII), Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), complications or changing of your aesthetic preferences, our surgeons are here to help you navigate some of the questions or concerns surrounding this procedure.
In recent years, more and more questions have been raised about removal of breast implants through En bloc capsulectomy. While some patients may benefit from en bloc capsulectomy, others can get similar benefits from other implant removal methods which have less associated risk.
En bloc or Total Capsulectomy
When breast implants are placed, your body naturally creates a barrier around the implant. This is a normal and expected response and, because of this, all breast implants have what we call a “capsule” around them.
The term en bloc capsulectomy refers to the removal of the breast implant along with the scar tissue capsule encasing it. Though en bloc capsulectomy is less common than other explantation methods, it has recently grained notoriety online in different BII forums. Breast implant illness is used to describe a range of symptoms that some women with implants experience and associate with their breast implants. In these forums, information is shared regarding different surgical approaches other patients have undergone in order to take out or explant their breast implants. Although these types of forums are a great source of information sharing, they can also set a patient’s mind on a surgical approach which may not be the best indicated for in their particular case.
En bloc capsulectomy can prove to be a challenging procedure especially in cases where breast implants have been placed under the muscle. In these instances, the capsule becomes attached to ribs and muscles risking injury and excessive bleeding. An en bloc capsulectomy is most appropriate for patients who have ruptured implants to avoid the leaking of the implant material into other parts of the body or in cases of BIA-ALCL which has been associated with textured implants. Outside of these instances, complete capsulectomy is often a better and safer choice.
For patients who are concerned about removing all tissue that has been in contact with their implants, the recommended method of explantation would be a Total Capsulectomy. In a total capsulectomy, the tissues are separated from the capsule and then a small incision is made into the capsule to remove the intact implant. The capsule is then completely removed safely and with a minimal incision.
Total capsulectomy is also recommended in most patients who wish to undergo explantation surgery to remove breast implants which no longer serve their aesthetic goals.
It is important in explantation due to health concerns such as BII to rule out other conditions. It is ultimately to protect you and for your benefit to do so. Explantation has resolved symptoms in some women while in others it has not. It is not guaranteed that symptoms will resolve a patient’s BII symptoms. Though research still continues into BII, it has not yet been proven that having breast implants leads to generalized illness or that removing them will conclusively cure systemic issues.
During your explantation consultation, our surgeons will gather a thorough history, address any concerns and discuss which explantation approach would be more suited to your particular needs. It is recommended that you keep an open mind during your consultation and are receptive to your surgeon’s input.