While some implants last for decades, others may need to be changed in a much shorter period of time. Any type of breast implant is not expected to last forever. The most common reasons patients decide to have breast implant removal, en bloc explant procedure, or breast implant replacement are: 1) hardening of the breast capsule (capsular contracture), 2) implant rupture, and 3) preference for a different size or type of implant.
Hardening or Capsular Contracture
Capsular contracture is scarring that forms around the breast implant. For the majority of patients, the capsule that develops around the implant is soft and unnoticeable. A very small percentage of patients develop a capsule that is firm and may feel like it shifts or contracts, and changes shape. The reason patients develop capsular contracture is unknown. It is not dangerous but, in most cases, patients prefer the implant be removed.
En Bloc Capsulectomy – Explant Surgery
An en bloc capsulectomy removes the implant and the capsule in one piece. This is a meticulous procedure that removes the entire capsule along with the any part of the capsule and scar tissue attached to the chest wall and ribs. In some cases, it is necessary to repair the pectoralis muscle. Not all patients require an en bloc capsulectomy and all options are discussed during your consultation.
Both saline and silicone implants can rupture. Ruptured implants should be removed and/or replaced. Replacing implants is a straightforward procedure. In some cases, if gel implants have been left for many years, they can be difficult to remove and require additional time and expertise.
Patients may decide they would like smaller or larger implants. Additionally, some patients who have saline implants, may want to change to gel or what is referred to gummy bear implants. We discuss the all options with our patients and make recommendations based on a patients individual anatomy, lifestyle, and goals.
Contact our office to schedule a consultation.