If patients ever feel that implants are no longer necessary, implant removal surgery can be performed at any time. Normally, implants are removed due to patients’ psychological discomfort with prosthesis, opposition from spouse, recurrent capsular contracture that cannot be fixed after repeated revisions, implant infection or inflammation, or uselessness at current stage. Dr. Chuang would respect the opinion of patients to conduct the procedure. This surgery would normally be performed through the original incision site. If patients do not have any problem associated with capsules, then implants can be removed. However, if implants are removed due to infection, then debridement and irrigation with an antibiotic solution would be necessary to ensure safe recovery after surgery. If implants are being removed due to recurrent capsular contracture, Dr. Chuang should perform partial capsulectomy or capsulotomy to avoid complications associated with implant removal such as breast deformation or atrophy.
Implant removal surgery would not damage the breast tissue again. Under usual circumstances, skin and breast tissues would gradually attach to the chest wall within 3 months after surgery. The breasts would be slightly more atrophic (hollow) or loose compared than before augmentation mammoplasty but would improve and become fuller within 6 months. The degree of breast atrophy and loosening is dependent on the duration of implants that have been placed. If implants are removed within 3–6 months of an augmentation procedure, the effect is limited and the breasts can mostly restore to their original size and elasticity. However, if implants are removed many years after the procedure, then the breasts would definitely be affected by age and the sudden loss of support. The degree of loosening and sagging may be more obvious. The size of the breasts would also noticeably shrink, as much as a half to a full cup size. Hence, patients must evaluate individual expectations and acceptance prior to removal to avoid any psychological discomfort. Dr. Chuang always suggests patients to think twice before implant removal and avoid impulsive decisions because it may be even more difficult to reperform breast augmentation once they regret their decision.