American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
4 years ago

Do I need to remove implants?

I had implants inserted in 1996, saline size 36 d

I want a breast reduction do to back issues. Do I need to replace implants for reduction or is there a less painful way

Procedure: Breast Reduction
Location: Rotonda West, FL

Replies 9

Mark Labowe
ASPS Surgeon

You might be a reasonable candidate for implant removal and mastopexy (breast lift).

The recovery is generally very easy.

Go see a board certified plastic surgeon.

Steven Wallach
ASPS Surgeon

Depending upon how large your breast implants are, you may be a candidate to have the implants removed and also perform a breast lift. The only way to know for sure is to examine you in person and to review your history. Good luck.

Shashidhar Kusuma
ASPS Surgeon

Based on how much smaller you want to be and how big your current implants are, you can either do a reduction of breast tissue if you have some volume to reduce of your native breast tissue and also reduce the size of the implants to get an overall decrease in size and comfort and look.

If you want to remove the implants all together, then a reduction/Lift will be needed. Often times when implants are removed after a long time, the shape of the breast will needed to be addressed. You will also have to discuss removal or not of the scar tissue or capsule as well. Some prefer to leave it alone and some prefer to remove that as well.

Debra Johnson
ASPS Surgeon

If you want your health insurance to cover the cost of your breast reduction, they often require that a certain amount of breast tissue be removed. Usually this translates to about a 2-cup size reduction. Most insurances will pay for a reduction if you are a DD-cup or larger. You would need to consult with a plastic surgeon to determine if you would qualify for an insurance-based reduction. You could leave the implants in place (to maintain upper breast fullness) and remove just breast tissue. Or, if you want the implants out, you could do that as well, but that would reduce your breast size even further. If you don't want such a large reduction, then you could simply under go a breast lift with a smaller reduction, but you would have to pay for that on your own.

Use the Find-A-Surgeon link on this website to locate a board-certified plastic surgeon near you to determine all your options.

Saul Flores Gonzalez
ASPS Int. Surgeon

You are a good candidate for breast reduction ( mastopexy ) and I would recommend you a breast implant removal.

You can also do a breast implant exchange, but it would be better to first check you at office

Gary Culbertson
ASPS Surgeon
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No, consider just taking out your implants. They have been in for >20 years. Let things settle & see how you are doing. Then, consider an evaluation for a reduction or lift if you are still having issues. Best,

Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

Eric Fynn-Thompson
ASPS Surgeon

With saline implants, one option is to deflate the implants in the office and then allow the breast to shrink and you will be able to better determine if any breast tissue removal or breast lift is needed prior to surgery. I would recommend deflation at least for one month to allow the breast envelope to contract.

Jon Ver Halen
ASPS Surgeon

Dear Eturner53,

Hello and thank you for your excellent question. Either a reduction, or implant removal are likely to be great options for you. It is best to answer your question during a face-to-face evaluation, when you can discuss your goals and expectations for the procedure, and you can have a physical examination to evaluate for that procedure. I recommend that you find a board-certified, or board-eligible plastic surgeon with whom you are comfortable. Be sure to have all of your questions answered during a face-to-face meeting with your surgeon, and review before and after pictures of similar patients whom have had this procedure. If you have any questions, call our office for assistance. Good luck!

Larry Leverett
ASPS Surgeon

There are a couple of options available to you. One of the few advantages of saline implants vs. silicone implants is that if/when the patient feels that the breasts are too large, she can either remove the implants all together, opt for smaller implants, or keep the implants and perform a breast lift/reduction around them. How do you decide? The best way is to have them purposely deflated in the office. It takes about 15 mins and is fairly painless. Once deflated, the breasts will "recover" as much as possible from the weight of the implants. At that point, you can more readily decide if you have enough volume (needing only an implant removal and breast lift) or if you want volume added back in the from of an implant.


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