Breast implants have really become a long-term device. It used to be said that an implant would last about 10 years. This is no longer the case. I see patients all the time who’ve had their implants for 20 years or longer. This is great news when it comes to amortizing your investment. It does not, however, mitigate the fact that your aesthetic taste may have changed with time. Oftentimes, the look you wanted in your 20’s is no longer a fit once you reach your 40’s. Furthermore, your body, and therefore your breasts, may have changed shape with age. When this happens, you have the choice to either replace your current implants with new ones or simply remove them altogether. More and more patients are choosing the latter, and their number one question for me is always: What will my breasts look like after breast implant removal?
Breast Shape Following Explantation
Sometimes, a patient is simply done with her breast implants. This happens for any number of reasons including:
- Desires a different look
- No longer wants a foreign device in her body
- Has gained weight and doesn’t need an implant anymore
Of course, the question then is: What is my breast going to look like without the implants? Bottom line, how you will look without your breast implants will depend on the quality of your breast tissue. Most women who come in to see me to discuss breast implant removal or explantation have had their implants for a long time. Furthermore, their breast tissue has aged along with the number of candles on their birthday cake. Time exacts its toll on all the tissues of the body. After about 25, your body starts to produce less collagen and elastin. These are literally the foundation of lifted, plump, youthful looking skin. This is why your skin begins to sag or droop. Your implants can help mitigate this issue which is why once they are removed, many patients are going to require a breast lift in order to create a more pleasing shape.
Fat Grafting to Upper Pole
A breast lift will address the loose skin and tissue left behind once your implants are gone. However, a lift may not produce enough volume in the upper pole of the breast. This is the top third of your breast, and having appropriate volume there can help create the kind of feminine, full shape that most women want. One thing thing that I can do to off-set this upper pole volume loss is a fat transfer. While it’s not a complete cure, it can help. With a fat grafting to the breast procedure, I take a bit of excess fat from your:
And place it into the upper third of your breasts to improve their shape. It can help to deliver a better looking result after a breast explantation.
Breast Implant Exchange
Another option is to replace your current implants with new ones. This is nice for the patient who wants to go from saline to silicone or vice versa, who may have developed a complication such as a leak or rupture, or who just wants to change the size of her breasts. As discussed, aesthetic tastes change over time. Generally, I find that most patients who desire an breast implant exchange want to go smaller. This may also be due to the fact that childbirth, menopause and age can all cause a volume increase in your breasts so perhaps you no longer need as big of an implant. Regardless of the reasons, you always have options.