Breast implants are not forever. All implants have a life span of 10-20 years and will require exchange. Some women decide to have their implants permanently removed for a variety of reasons. Some women decide that the prospect of repeat surgeries every 10-20 years is no longer appealing. Some decide that their motivations for getting implants years ago no longer exist. Some women have unexplained symptoms, such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia that they believe may be related to their implants. There is currently no scientific evidence to support a link between such symptoms and implants, but some people may have sensitivities to foreign bodies, just as some people are allergic to common drugs. Whatever the reason, an implant can always be removed and a woman has the right to decide to do so. Explant (implant removal) sometimes involves just the implant, but sometimes the scar capsule around the implant is also removed (capsulectomy). Dr Mistry will discuss the indications for capsulectomy. A capsulectomy done “en bloc” means that the scar and the implant are removed together without opening the scar capsule in the patient. Not all capsulectomies can be done this way, but minimal spillage of the contents of the capsule is the goal of every capsulectomy.
The cosmetic outcome of an explant varies widely and depends on multiple factors: length of time the implant has been in the patient, elasticity of the skin, size of the natural breast, etc. Dr Mistry will give her professional opinion of the likely cosmetic result, but there is always some uncertainty. Sometimes a breast lift can tighten the breast after explant and Dr Mistry may recommend this if it is feasible.