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Defining Explant Surgery

There are a number of people who aren’t familiar with the term “explant surgery”, though they likely are aware of the surgery itself.  More commonly known as “implant removal,” explant surgery is the process by which saline gel or other implants are removed from the breasts or other portions of the body for one reason or another.  Depending upon the reason for the surgery, additional material may be removed or other surgical procedures may be performed at the same time.

The reasons for having an explant procedure done can vary, but they generally fall into a few categories.  Some explants are performed because the individual feels uncomfortable with the look of their body because of the implants that they have received, while others simply want to have their current implants removed so that new implants of a different type or a different size may be inserted.  Health problems or implants that have begun to leak may also require that explant surgery be performed so as to prevent additional damage or more severe health concerns over time.

While a basic explant surgery is simply the removal of the implant itself, additional surgical work may be required depending upon the specifics of the individual and the reasons that the procedure is being done.  If the implant is being removed completely and no other implant is being put in its place, then the scar tissue that made up the “capsule” that the implant was held in will be removed as well so as to allow for better healing after the surgery and a more natural look and feel.  Additional cosmetic procedures such as a breast lift may also be performed so as to eliminate sagging or loose skin, especially in cases where the implant was of decent size.  If a new implant is being inserted, then the capsule may be left intact unless the implant is going to be moved to a new location (as is often the case if the previous implant caused an unnatural look and the new one is being inserted to create more natural curves.)  If the new implant is going to be in a new position, then some or all of the scar tissue capsule may be removed in order to make room for it.

In many cases of explant procedures, the surgeon performing the removal will take advantage of the general anesthesia that is usually used and will perform other cosmetic procedures that the patient desires as well.  The most common of these additional surgeries include liposuction, stomach tucks or tightening of the skin over the abdominal area, and the removal of cellulite in the thighs and buttocks.  Additional implants may be made as well, or other adjustments to proportion might be performed.

Explant surgery is in most cases an outpatient procedure, with healing and recovery taking on average 3 to 5 days before the individual can resume their normal activities and return to work.  During this time and potentially for a short time afterward the patient will likely experience some discomfort while the body heals as well as swelling and bruising in the areas where the surgery was performed.  Care should be taken to help avoid causing additional damage to the surgery area during this time, as strenuous activity can begin to reopen the healing wounds which will cause bleeding and may lead to infection as well.

Additional information on explant procedures can be found by searching online or consulting the cosmetic surgeon that you are likely to utilize so that they can tell you about the benefits and risks of explant surgery and answer any additional questions that you might have.



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