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Breast Implant Removal

While most breast augmentation patients understand that their implants will probably need to be replaced, they usually don't expect to remove their implants. When done for reasons that are well thought out and compelling, implant removal can be a significant source of physical and emotional relief. Because this type of surgery involves many unknowns and challenges, it's especially important to carefully consider your choice of surgeon. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Arthur Cambeiro, a breast surgery expert with extensive experience performing complex revision procedures, is the doctor of choice for breast implant removal in Las Vegas.

Important Terminology

To understand how Dr. Cambeiro performs breast implant removal, it is helpful to review the following associated terminology:

  • Pocket: The space made behind the breast to hold a breast implant. It may be placed directly behind the breast tissue (subglandular placement) or behind the chest muscle (submuscular placement).
  • Capsule: Natural scar tissue that forms around the implant. In most cases, the capsule is thin, elastic, and slightly larger than the implant. In extreme cases, the capsule becomes firm, thick, and adheres to the chest wall and ribs.
  • Capsular contracture: When the capsule thickens and tightens around the implant making the breast feel hard and look distorted.
  • Explant: Removal of a breast implant.
  • Capsulectomy: Removal of the capsule around the implant.
  • Implant exchange: Removal of a breast implant and replacement with a new one

Reasons for Breast Implant Removal

While breast implants don't last forever, women who are happy with how their breasts look and who are not having any issues, don't need to replace or remove their implants. Common reasons women have their breast implants removed, also called explant surgery, include:

  • Changes in personal preferences (implants too big, desire to be natural, etc…)
  • Implant leak or rupture.
  • Infection or inflammation.
  • Concerns about breast implant illness (BII), a self-reported condition (no specific diagnosis) that patients link to their implants, including either saline or silicone. Patients may believe the implants are responsible for a variety of symptoms including fatigue, chest pain, headaches, chronic pain, brain fog, and hair loss.
  • BIA-ALCL (breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma) a rare cancer of the capsule, not the breast, related to textured implants.

During a personal consultation, Dr. Cambeiro talks with patients about their concerns, performs a physical exam, and helps them develop realistic expectations about the results of this surgery. Patients who believe they have breast implant illness need to know there is currently no test for proving or disproving that their concerns are caused by or related to their breast implants. Dr. Cambeiro supports his patients in their decision to move forward with explant surgery once he is confident that they understand the pros and cons.

How Is Breast Implant Removal Performed?

Dr. Cambeiro is skilled in a variety of techniques for implant removal to accommodate the diversity of patient needs and concerns (see table).

TECHNIQUE

HOW IT'S DONE

ADVANTAGES

SIMPLE

HOW IT'S DONE

  • Implant is removed from the capsule.

ADVANTAGES

  • Fastest recovery.
  • Reduced risk of breast deformity.

INTERMEDIATE

HOW IT'S DONE

  • Posterior (back) capsule stays on ribs/chest wall and the anterior (front) capsule is removed.

ADVANTAGES

  • Avoids risk of damage to the muscle, rib, or lung if scar tissue is extremely thick and adherent.

COMPLEX

HOW IT'S DONE

  • Entire capsule–front to back wall–is removed, possibly in pieces.

ADVANTAGES

  • Allows internal tissues to heal back together and seal the pocket.

EN BLOC

HOW IT'S DONE

  • Entire capsule and implant removed as a unit.

ADVANTAGES

  • Best option to remove all silicone.

Dr. Cambeiro usually performs the procedure as outpatient surgery using general anesthesia. He places the incision in the same location used for the original surgery, unless it was performed through the underarm.

While the en bloc capsulectomy technique is preferred, it is not always possible to perform safely. If Dr. Cambeiro finds that the capsule is too hard or firmly adhered to the chest wall, he may use another technique. After removing the implant and the capsule, he irrigates the pocket thoroughly with an antibiotic solution. Dr. Cambeiro can reshape the breasts by performing a breast lift, if desired. After a capsulectomy, he usually places surgical drains to prevent fluid from building up in the pocket and to promote healing.

How Will I Look After Breast Implant Removal?

When breast implants are removed, the breasts typically do not return to the shape they were before breast augmentation. Due to natural aging and the weight of the implant, the skin and tissues stretch over time making the breast look deflated when there is no longer an implant to fill it out. Dr. Cambeiro can reshape the breasts with a breast lift to give them a firmer, rounder shape.

If you're considering removing your breast implants, Dr. Cambeiro can answer all of your questions in person. Request a complimentary consultation using the online form, or call SurgiSpa at (702) 734-4100 to schedule an appointment.

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Experience You Need, Care You Deserve

Throughout the years, Dr. Cambeiro's dedication to patient safety and satisfaction has earned him a reputation as one of the premier plastic surgeons in the region. Learn why so many people agree that Dr. Cambeiro and SurgiSpa were the best choices for them.

Meet Dr. CambeiroTop Doc Awards
  Arthur M. Cambeiro, MD