The most common reasons cited for the removal of breast implants are hardening of the area around the implant, or a change in the position, appearance, or stability of the device itself.
A recent report issued by the Food and Drug Administration indicated that 20% of women who receive implants for aesthetic reasons, and 50% of those who have breast reconstruction will have their implants taken out within 10 years of the initial surgery.
What are the Reasons to Remove Breast Implants?
Contracture is one of the most common reasons for breast implant removal. Breast implant contracture is a condition in which the implants harden, usually as a result of pressure from surrounding scar tissue.
Breast implant contracture is the most common reason for implants to be taken out, followed by: breast implant leakage or breast implant rupture, wrinkling of the breast implant’s surface, breast implant shifts that lead to asymmetry, asymptomatic pain, and infection.
Because the life expectancy of the average American is trending upward, more women will opt for implant removal in the future or opt for a second revision surgery simply to retain a more congruent physical appearance. Breast implant removal is rarely a problematic procedure, and the recovery time is similar, and often shorter, than that experienced with the initial surgery. In some severe cases of contrature, there is post-operative pain that is normally well-controlled with medication.
It should be noted that if the reason for the removal of the implants is connected to trauma, for instance being in an automobile accident, the total recovery of all injuries including the removal of the implants can be considerably longer and more difficult.
Breast Surgery Popularity Increases Removal Numbers
Breast implant removal is becoming more common if for no other reason than the fact that so many women are seeking augmentation surgery the last few years. In 2011, approximately 307,000 women increased their breast size with implants making the procedure the most popular cosmetic surgery in the U.S. Over the past 10 years, breast implant procedures are up 45%. Breast implant removals went up 3% in 2011 from 2010, but is actually down 45% from 2000.
What is the Breast Implant Removal Procedure?
Medically known as breast prosthesis, the removal of breast implants is a simple medical procedure that can increase in difficulty if it is being performed in addition to another medical task. For example, many breast prosthesis patients are undergoing the procedure to resolve the condition of capsular contracture. That condition results when capsules (scar tissue) that forms around the breast implant begins to harden and squeeze the implant causing discomfort in the patient. In this scenario, breast prosthesis is used to remove the breast implants as well as the capsules and local silicone from the patient's body.
Breast prosthesis surgical procedures will also vary depending on the reasons behind the procedure. Patients that are solely undergoing this treatment for the removal of breast implants will be able to have their surgery performed with either local anesthesia or a combination of sedation and local anesthesia or general anesthesia. The choices for patients undergoing breast prosthesis for medical reasons such as capsular contracture are more limited. Typically breast prosthesis for this group will be performed using either sedation and local anesthesia or sedation and general anesthesia.
What is the Breast Implant Removal Recovery Process?
Implant removal tends to be quick and requires little recuperation time. For patients that are only undergoing this treatment to remove their breast implants, then the time needed to recuperate is minimal. Patients that are undergoing breast prosthesis for medical reasons will find that the time needed for operation will increase. Additionally, the time needed for recuperation will also increase.
Whereas individuals undergoing the removal of breast implants for cosmetic reasons tend to experience little discomfort during and following the surgery, the case is different for patients undergoing this treatment for medical reasons.
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