More and more women are opting to have their breast implants removed for various reasons. Many of them are concerned about the shape and size their breasts will be afterwards, and most think they will need a lift at the same time. Sydney Plastic Surgeon, Dr Gavin Sandercoe, is seeing more women than ever requesting breast explants and performs dozens of the procedure each year. We had a chat to him about patient motivations and the processes involved in breast explant surgery, including whether to lift or not to lift when getting an explant.
Why have your breast implants removed?
There are several reasons why a woman may want to have her implants taken out including:
- Breast implant illness symptoms which can vary hugely from patient to patient but are often reported as sickness; chronic fatigue, back and shoulder pain, cognitive dysfunction (fogginess, memory loss), lowered immunity and subsequent infections among many others
- Change of mind/lifestyle
- Physical pain such as neck, back and shoulder pain.
While breast implant illness is still being recognised as a valid condition, it is widely accepted that ruptured implants and in some cases implants that have not yet ruptured but may be leaking, are causing unpleasant symptoms leading women to rethink their choice to have implants. Stories such as the one that recently appeared on Channel 9’s Sunday Night with Nicola Robinson (Paleo Chef Pete Evans’ wife) are becoming more and more common.
However, Dr Sandercoe says one of the more frequent reasons why women are wanting their implants removed is because they chose the wrong size implant to begin with. “Neck and shoulder pain, headaches and pain radiating down arms are all common physical symptoms that are reasons that women request their implants to be removed. These symptoms are common in women that have chosen implants that are too heavy for their bodies.”
Will you need a breast lift at the same time?
Dr Sandercoe says that a breast lift is not always required when a woman has an explant; in fact more often than not it will not be necessary, much to the surprise to many women.
However, in some cases a breast lift will also be required to tighten the skin that has been stretched from having the implants in. Dr Sandercoe says this can be done at the same time as the explant, however while each patient is different he usually suggests doing the procedures in two separate surgeries. “In most cases I prefer to perform the two surgeries separately. Better results can be achieved with the lift if the tissue has settled after the explant surgery; Letting the tissue settle provides a clearer starting point for the lift, allowing better opportunity to correct any asymmetry and make sure nipples are level. Doing the procedures 3 months apart is usually the optimum space needed to let the initial explant procedure settle. Not only that, if the patient is insured it is cheaper to separate the surgeries than to do it together. An estimate of out of pocket costs for the procedures together is $19K whereas it’s $18K to separate them, and they get better results.
“Another aspect that makes sense for separating the two surgeries is that many women find that surprisingly the tissue recovers very well from the explant surgery and they in fact do not need or want the lift. In these situations these women have halved their surgical fees by not having a second procedure that may have been unnecessary. ”
In summary the benefits to performing breast explant and breast lift surgeries separately are:
- Better end result
- Possibly avoiding having the breast lift at all
- Total fees for both surgeries performed separately is less than together
Whatever your reasons for wanting your breast implants removed, make sure you find a surgeon who will perform the procedure to get you the best final result possible.
If you’d like more information on Dr Gavin Sandercoe check out the blogs below or visit his website. You can also phone his clinic on 1300 112 358.
To listen to Dr Sandercoe’s podcast on Breast Explant, Breast Implant Removal and Breast Implant Replacement go here.