My Breast Implant Removal and Lift Experience
Breast implant revision - Implant removal
About 8 years ago I made the decision to have breast augmentation (aka boob job) when I was insecure about my A cup breast size. I felt like a boy for most of my teen years because I was so flat-chested, and couldn’t wait until I was old enough to make the decision to get breast implants. At 23 I got my implants put in with the breast augmentation procedure by my plastic surgeon. I went from a sad A cup, to a confident C+ cup. I was so happy with my decision and honestly had one of the simplest courses of post-surgery care that I could imagine (in hindsight).
I had my breast augmentation after booking the procedure 1 month from meeting the surgeon. He was a kind and soft-spoken guy that made the procedure seem quite simple since I was such a good candidate, and explained the risks in language I was able to understand. He reviewed the difference between saline implants and silicone implants, the difference in feel of the tissue with each type. I knew after the discussion and my research that I wanted silicone implants, and not the silicone gel that was more rigid like a gummy bear. He also discussed the recommendations made by breast surgeons that in about 10 years I should have a breast MRI to observe for any breast changes, signs of implant rupture, or signs of breast cancer (this too, I already researched). I booked that very day with this surgeon – after meeting one other doctor with a less-than-satisfactory demeanor – and after my excitement wore off, I became slightly terrified with a raw, gnawing pit in my stomach for the next few weeks.
Surgery day! I remembered to avoid food and water the morning of the surgery, brought comfy clothes to zip up and slip on for when I was taken out of the surgery center, and headed to the surgical center. The knots in my stomach twisting tighter and tighter…thinking I was making a very selfish decision for my appearance (for my confidence)…what if something went wrong?
I checked in at the surgery center, got situated in the pre-op area with a horrible gown, peed on a pregnancy stick, and laid on the uncomfortable rolling bed in the chilly, boring room. Anesthesia came by with a “Hi…nice to meet you…blah blah…allergies…medicine…etc.” discussion, then a comforting smile by the surgery center nurse to help release at least one knot in my stomach. A friendly face then came by – the surgeon. He was wearing a blue cap and his scrubs…shared comforting words and a quick joke about how much he hates wearing hats…then drew on my chest with a marker. He was creating lines to show where the implants were going and the area where he planned to cut through my skin (ouch!). The rest is pretty much a blur…
I woke up in the post-op area with the same smiling nurse, my boyfriend was at my side…and some palpable chest pain that felt like a tight muscle cramp at an 8 out of 10. She gave me some pain medication after asking my pain level and then again, things get a little fuzzy. Before I know it I’m home in my bed with my boyfriend giving me ice chips. Before I know it I’m back for my 1 week follow up and I’m feeling, surprisingly, good about my pain level and how my new breasts were looking. For once I looked like a female! I was pretty swollen on the top of my chest, but the doctor assured me that it would die down over the next 4-6 weeks.
He was right. With some massage he instructed me on, and a special bra, my breasts looked amazing. I was ecstatic. The first mall trip was the most memorable thing about my new attribute, and I couldn’t wait to try on bathing suits – albeit February in New York.
Fast forward 8 years, 1 wedding, 2 childbirths, and a little weight gain, I began to notice my breasts weren’t the same as I remembered. They were larger, lower, and a little, for lack of a better word, saggy. I started to talk to my husband about having my implants removed and “tightening” things up to where I remember them being before the kids were born and breastfed. He was supportive as I knew he would be, and so I began my research into what kind of procedure I thought I would need. I figured my procedure would be somewhat simple, as I didn’t have some of the nightmare stories of capsular contracture (or hard/painful scar tissue that forms around the implant), bacterial implant infections, or issues with my scars.
I decided to make a visit with the surgeon who originally put my implants in, and was pleasantly surprised to see the same familiar face of the man who helped change my life so many years ago. The visit was fairly brief with the surgeon who explained the basics of the explant procedure. He did agree with me that I would need a breast lift (medically called a mastopexy) after the breast implant removal surgery was performed, but that it would occur at the same time. He explained that it was very important to remove not only the implants, but the capsule my body formed around it when it was first placed. I was told I had enough breast tissue now after the kids and a little weight gain that I will probably be left with a medium to small B cup. Lastly, he had to tell me some slightly upsetting news (not that I wasn’t already aware after my extensive research) that my scar wouldn’t be as pretty as the first time – it would look more like a lollipop with the circle around my areolas and a line straight down from there. I shrugged the news off, as I really just wanted to be without them for the rest of my adult life. I didn’t want to go through elective surgery in my 50’s or 60’s, because I have no idea what my health will be like then and didn’t want to take the risk.
The booking process was as simple as I remember, with less butterflies than I recall in my early 20’s – maturity and childbirth can do a lot for a women’s pain and anxiety threshold. I was all set for 15 days out from now, had to do a little bloodwork this time as pre-op testing beforehand, and prepare for avoiding lifting and working around the house too much afterwards. The procedure was going to cost me $9,500, which was well within my allotted budget set with my husband.
Surgery day was upon me again – I felt like it wasn’t long ago that I was in this chilly pre-op room, in the somewhat itchy gown with a tie in the front, and peeing on a pregnancy test for the kind nurse with smile (not the same nurse as the first time, sadly). An older, unrecognizable face approached me – experience would tell me this is the anesthesiologist again – and introduced herself as the anesthesiologist and asked me several questions about my history, allergies, etc. The friendly-faced surgeon gave me a warm smile in his scrubs and blue hat, drew the curtain like before and started to mark the areas of my breasts and showed me where he intended everything lining up once the procedure was over. I had no additional questions, and before I knew it, my husband was kissing me on the forehead and saying, “See you soon, honey”. Again…the blur.
It was all over and I was lying in the post-op area with the younger, smiling nurse at my side asking about my pain level and if I had any shortness of breath or nausea. I felt better than I felt I deserved and within an hour I was escorted via wheelchair to our family van with the help of my husband. The next few days were somewhat exhausting mentally and physically because I knew the house was starting to accumulate piles of clutter. The laundry was slowly progressing to a frightening amount, despite my husband’s attempt to “take care of everything” so I can heal. I needed help getting dressed and undressed, and wore the familiar bras that I never threw out from the first surgery. I even had my 9-year-old daughter help me with washing my hair in the kitchen sink – until my husband got home from work and could actually rinse the suds out without spraying the counter (she tried to help mommy and it was adorable).
Each day I got better and better, followed the surgeon’s instructions for cleaning and caring for the scars, and when the follow-up day came he seemed mostly please with my progress. He was slightly concerned with my left breast appearing to sit higher than my right after 2 weeks post-op, but he assured me (and I think himself) that they would continue to settle as inflammation went away. I came back another 4 weeks later and he was correct, the breasts had settled to an almost perfect symmetry and we were both happy. I was moving more and he cleared me to continue with normal activities again without weight restrictions. This was even faster than I remember for the implants originally being placed, but that’s because the implants could have still become inflamed or created that painful contracture even 10 weeks after the surgery, so the surgeon told me. This time was easier, he said, because there was no implant my body needed to heal around, therefore my risks of the issue occurring were basically nonexistent.
I’m now about 3 months out from my breast implant removal, and despite them being smaller than when they were with the implants, they were now sitting higher (I say ‘perkier’) and I couldn’t be happier. I went from a saggy C/D cup to a respectable, higher-sitting B cup after the removal. The scars are fading now from bright red/purple to a lighter pink/purple color, and I anticipate them being a darker shade of my flesh in the future. I’m happy, my husband is happy, and I have the peace of mind knowing I won’t need implants removed when I’m older and I’ve gotten likely the last plastic surgery I will ever need (fingers crossed!).
Thank you so much for posting this! We have a very similar story! I got my implants at 21 and am now 40. 4 kids later and weight gain. I too don’t want to worry about implants later in life and just want them out! I was scared though that a lift may not be good enough, but your story gives me hope! Thank you so much