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Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world. It has a well-established track record of satisfactory results and positive outcomes. Nonetheless, some patients develop a condition known as breast implant illness.

Breast Implant Illness (BII) is a term used to describe various issues, such as discomfort and pain, that may arise in patients who have undergone breast augmentation surgery. The factors that cause breast implant illness are still unknown, and symptoms look different for each patient. As such, it is vital that patients are aware of all possible symptoms so they know what to look for.

What is breast implant illness?

Breast implant illness is a series of symptoms that occur following breast implant surgery. What makes the condition frustrating for patients is that there is no official diagnosis for it. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, brain fog, dry eyes, and various others. Ultimately, breast implant illness is diagnosed by ruling out other potential conditions through a process of elimination.

Treatment for BII ultimately involves removing the patient’s breast implants. Most patients see a major improvement in symptoms soon after undergoing a breast explant surgery.

What is breast implant removal surgery?

Breast implant removal, or breast explantation, is a procedure that involves removing breast implants by way of an en bloc procedure and total capsulectomy. This ensures that the body experiences no contamination. Furthermore, it can address all of the symptoms associated with breast implant illness. Sufferers of this condition find that they see major improvements after having their breast implants removed.

What are the benefits of breast implant removal?

  • Relief from shoulder and back pain caused by implants
  • Relief from pain caused by scar tissue or capsular contracture.
  • Patients may find that they feel more comfortable and confident with their new breast size
  • A diminished risk of developing BIA-ALCL, a very rare form of lymphoma that manifests exclusively in the tissue surrounding breast implants
  • A major reduction in autoimmune symptoms

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Who is an ideal candidate for breast implant removal?

Breast implant removal surgery is incredibly individualized, as every patient has a different anatomy and needs. Patients who are struggling with breast implant illness are considered to be great candidates for the procedure. Other issues that will lead one to need the treatment include capsular contracture (hardening of the tissue surrounding the implant), general pain in the breasts, and implant breakage and/or leaking. Some patients simply want to remove their implants to return to their pre-procedural look.

In general, patients are considered good candidates for the procedure if they meet the following criteria:

  • Being in good overall health and at a stable weight
  • Having realistic expectations regarding the outcome of the procedure
  • Being a nonsmoker (or willing to quit)
  • Being upset or unsatisfied with the appearance of one’s implants
  • Struggling with excess discomfort or pain in the breast region
  • Feeling that one’s breasts are too heavy since undergoing breast augmentation
  • Sensations of hardening in the breast tissue following surgery
  • Imaging shows that there may be a leak in one or both of the implants
  • You have a BMI of 32% or less

What does the procedure entail?

Whether the patient is struggling with breast implant illness or simply wants to have their implants removed for aesthetic or other reasons, the procedure is generally the same.

  • Patients receive anesthesia
  • An incision is made to allow access to the breast cavity. In most cases, this incision is made in the same location as the original one from the breast implant procedure. This enables patients to remove their implants without having any additional scars.
  • The breast implants are then taken out of the breast capsule, a mass of fibrous scar tissue that develops around implants and other foreign materials in the body. In many cases, the capsule will be removed as well.
  • The incisions are then closed with sutures and patients are given time to rest.

Prior to being discharged, patients are given compression garments, which are factored into the cost of the procedure. They are also given prescription medicines to ensure that they are comfortable throughout the healing process. As patients will be under the influence of anesthesia and painkillers, they will need to have someone drive them home. Patients are not allowed to drive home from the procedure.

What is the recovery process like?

For the first few days, it is vital that patients stay on top of their medication intake. While rest and relaxation are vital, it is also important to get up and walk around once in a while. Most patients can get back to work in just three to four days. Patients will receive detailed instructions regarding changing bandages, cleaning their incisions, taking showers, and other post-procedural activities. They must make sure to avoid taking baths, swimming, or getting into hot tubs for at least two weeks following the surgery.

Effects such as soreness, tenderness, and sensitivity can persist for up to six weeks. As such, it is vital that patients refrain from engaging in the following activities for at least six weeks:

  • Lifting objects more than five pounds in weight
  • Strenuous exercise or working out
  • Sleeping on one’s side or stomach

Most importantly, patients must wear a compression bra for at least two to three weeks following the procedure. This ensures that tissues shrink back to their original form while also maintaining the shape and positioning of the breasts following surgery. Patients will find that their breast implant illness symptoms fade away quickly, allowing them to experience comfort and peace of mind.

Why choose Dr. Rottman?

Dr. Steven Rottman is a specialist in cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. He uses his extensive knowledge and expertise to provide patients in the greater Washington DC - Baltimore area with some of the most cutting-edge and effective treatments available. He is dedicated to helping his patients achieve their aesthetic goals while simultaneously preserving their natural beauty.

A highly respected pillar in the cosmetic community of Maryland, Dr. Rottman’s track record for successful results has garnered him attention from patients and practitioners all over the world. Every year since 2015, he has been selected as a Top Doctor for Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, Body Contouring, and Breast Plastic Surgery by Baltimore Magazine by Baltimore Magazine.

Reach out to our office today to learn more about breast implant removal.