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Explant/Removal of breast implants

  Duration: 2 hr 30 min

The lifespan of breast implants is roughly 10-15 years. 

After years of having had breast implants some women just want to have their implants removed regardless of whether or not the lifespan of their implants has been reached. Times and people change and this sometimes causes people to regret previously made decisions or decide that they have reached a point in their lives where they feel they don’t need implants anymore. 

Women can then have their implants removed or exchanged for new ones.

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Time off work
1 - 2 weeks
Hospital stay
Day case
After 1 week
Sleeping position
Sleep on back for 1 - 2 weeks
Bras & garments
Wear for 8 weeks
Full recovery
6 - 8 weeks
After 1 - 2 weeks
Physical activity
6 weeks

Breast implant removal

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular surgeries to increase and enhance the breasts. However, there comes a time when the breast implants will need to be removed, as even the newer design of silicone implants will not last a lifetime (around 10 to 15 years). There can also be other reasons that someone might wish to remove their breast implants, such as capsular contracture, (where there is some hardening of scar tissue around the breast), a change in body shape or discomfort if the original breast implants were too large. Some people simply feel that they no longer wish to have their implants and have changed views on them. Dr Veerle Rotsaert offers breast removal (explant) surgery for those who need to remove their implants and restore their natural appearance.

There are many reasons why some women want a breast implant removal

  • Capsular contracture/pain
  • Possible Ruptures/No more fear of Ruptures: Although very low-risk, especially with newer implants, older implants sometimes rip.
  • No More Replacements
  • The recovery for implant removal is short
  • Shopping: Removal of implants can make you loose 1-2 sizes

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Procedure performed: Breast Implant Explant/Removal – results shown after 3 months


Procedure performed: Breast Implant Explant/Removal after 19 years with rupture of implant (breast augmentation done by other Plastic Surgeon) – results shown after 4 weeks

Frequently asked questions

Am I suitable for breast implant removal?

If you are in good health, are over the age of 18 and wish to remove your breast implants, you may be suitable for this surgical procedure. However, before any treatment can commence with Dr Rotsaert, we will ask that you attend a no obligation consultation, to discuss your concerns about your breasts, the details of the procedure and to check your medical history, so that we can ensure that the surgery will be both safe and suitable for you and will meet your goals. It is at this meeting that you can ask all those questions that you wish, and to gather all the information you need, in order to make an informed and educated decision on whether to proceed.

What happens during a breast implant removal?

A breast implant removal procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic (GA) so you will be unaware of anything happening, throughout the operation. Under usual circumstances, the procedure can take around an hour to a maximum of three hours. At your consultation, Dr Rotsaert would have analysed your individual body shape, discussed your lifestyle and your desires for your results, before tailoring a bespoke plan for your surgery. This means that you are receiving the best methods of surgery for your unique self.

An incision will be made, usually under the breast and the implants will be removed. Depending on your breast size, the positioning of your natural breasts and whether you would still like some volume, you may undergo a breast lift, reduction or even fat transfer, where your own fat is injected in to the breast, to restore some volume naturally. The methods that Dr Rotsaert will be using, can be discussed and decided on in your initial consultations and physical examination.

Will I get scarring with a breast implant removal surgery?

As with all surgical procedures which involve cutting and suturing the skin, there can be some visible scarring with this surgery. However, we will always try and make the incisions by the original scars. The scarring pattern will depend on where Dr Rotsaert has decided to make the incisions, but in most cases, as these are made under the breasts within the breast crease, the scars will not be visible unless the breast is lifted up.

What is the downtime, following a breast implant removal?

You will need to take between one and two weeks off work, following your breast operation, depending on your job and how physical it is. Not only will your breasts feel sore and swollen after the operation, but you will need to rest well, so that your body can heal properly. You will not be able to lift heavy things (heavy shopping etc) for several weeks and will need to avoid the gym, excessive arm raising and anything where your body is put under stress or strain for some time, following your operation. As with all surgical procedures, everyone heals at varying rates but if you eat well and take care of yourself in these vital weeks, following your breast implant removal procedure, the healing process will be accelerated.

When will I see the results?

You will be able to experience your results immediately, as this surgical procedure extracts the old implants. However, you will need to consider that your breasts will be tender and swollen for a few weeks following the operation and this will affect the initial results. You will need to wear a surgical, non-underwired compression bra for 24 hours per day for 4 - 6 weeks, following your breast implant removal surgery and will also be asked to return to the clinic for a follow-up appointment at around 2 weeks and 6 weeks, after the procedure, to ensure you are healing well and the results are as expected.

Additional Information

This is a procedure that can be straightforward and easy but depending on the indication this can just as well be a slightly lengthier and more laborious procedure.

A small percentage of women suffer from painful capsular contracture for which we have to perform a capsulectomy (total or en bloc). 

Depending on the amount of breast tissue and sagginess of your natural breast tissue you might have to consider an uplift afterwards. The scarring pattern depends on the amount of sagging.

Having worked in major breast units Dr. Rotsaert will tell you all about certain risks and complications involved with this procedure. This procedure starts with the consultation and proper assessment of your breasts. Dr. Rotsaert, together with her patients, decides on the treatment goals and desired outcome together.

You will have to wear a sports bra for 6 weeks day and night after surgery. You will have to refrain from heavy lifting and exercise for 6 weeks. 

Stitches are dissolvable, which means your body digests them so there is no need for them to be removed. 

Drains might be used depending on the case.

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