It’s tough to call explant surgery, the procedure done to remove breast implants, a “trend.” There are a variety of reasons people get their implants removed—some cite health concerns like Breast Implant Illness, others have recalled implants, and more commonly, there’s a large portion of patients who no longer identify with the style, shape and size of the implants they had placed years prior. Whatever the reason, the decision to undergo an explant or breast implant removal surgery is never trendy, but sometimes needed.
“There are a few reasons women decide to get their breast implants removed,” says Houston, TX, plastic surgeon German Newall, MD. “For some, they no longer desire the size and look of their implants. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, the trend was big breast implants and today a more natural look is in. Others do not like the idea of having a foreign matter in their bodies anymore. In some cases, women who undergo a breast lift find they don’t need an implant anymore to achieve their desired look, so they undergo implant removal surgery.”
“Explantation surgery simply means removing the implants, which may be all we do if someone is just tired of implants or wants to downsize,” shares Louisville, KY plastic surgeon M. Bradley Calobrace, MD. “In some cases we perform a breast lift and/or fat grafting to ensure the best breast appearance possible.”
Here, the celebrities who have chosen to go public with their explant procedures and the reasons why. While it’s brave to be upfront about any cosmetic enhancements one undergoes, it’s doubly so to share such a delicate experience with the world.
One admirable trait about Chrissy Teigen is her openness with fans about any cosmetic enhancement the 36-year-old star undergoes. When she decided to have her implants removed in 2020, she shared that it came down to comfort. “I’m getting my boobs out!,” she wrote on Instagram. “They’ve been great to me for many years but I’m just over it. I’d like to be able to zip a dress in my size, lay on my belly with pure comfort! No biggie! So don’t worry about me! All good. I’ll still have boobs, they’ll just be pure fat.”
It’s surprising to hear, but the celebrity most-responsible for the Baywatch-style breasts prevalent in the 90s had her famous implants taken out before the decade’s end. The now 54-year-old Anderson told the press in 1999 that her choice was due to aesthetics, but doctors did find a leak during her procedure. “Actually when I did remove them they found a leak in one side,” she said. However, the star maintained that size was the motivating factor. “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I feel like I’m a petite person and just having these large breasts was… it just didn’t feel right anymore.”
In 2015, when 58-year-old Hadid was still cast member of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the star and model-mom shared her journey in finding cause of her chronic Lyme disease. As she underwent various exams, she learned one of her implants had been leaking. In an Instagram post she wrote, “Turn a mess into a message. We might have hit the jackpot by finding all this silicone from a 20 year old implant rupture through ultrasound mapping as shown in this selfie.” The star famously went on to have her implants removed in a 2016 episode of the show.
In her recent book, The Great Peace: A Memoir, the 43-year-old actress chronicled her decision to get implants after starring in American Beauty and her choice in 2019 to remove them. She told People she had originally explored the idea of removing her implants when considering having a child, but ultimately she felt they did not feel like part of her. “I would catch myself so many times realizing, ‘I have these bags in my chest.’ And I didn’t have that connection as to why I truly did it. There was a lack of appreciation on my part. So, I just sort of felt like, ‘Who am I and what am I doing?’ I had gone to this extent, to such extremes, looking for this identity.”
On an episode of The Real, the now 38-year-old Bailon shared that she regretted her choice to get implants at a 19. “I got my breast implants taken out because I looked crazy,” said the co-host. “The insecurity went from ‘I don’t have big breasts’ to ‘Now everyone is looking at my breasts’ and I was more embarrassed that people knew I was so insecure that I went and got breast implants.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage shared her recent breast implant removal journey in her film Explant. In the documentary, the former singer and DJ explores how chronic symptoms, including pain and fatigue, may be linked to her implants. Visage, now 53, was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. “In my head, I thought if I have an autoimmune disease and my body is attacking itself, there’s only one common denominator here,” she told Page Six. “I have an invader. My body wants to heal but it can’t because there’s an invader.”
In July 2020, the 38-year-old reality star posted from the post-op room to share that she had some complications that led to her decision to take her implants out. “After one reconstructive surgery, and one implant that refused to settle right (even after reconstruction), my body was telling me [it] didn’t want these implants in!”
To address health concerns she attributed to her implants, the 54-year-old reality star shared with followers that she had undergone an explant procedure in 2021. “Implants and capsules removed,” she wrote. “Feeling tired and a little sore as expected. I’m pretty sure not working-out will be the hardest part for me. I know it sounds crazy, but I woke up today with rosy cheeks, no sinus congestion and happy thoughts. I’m hoping I will continue to see health improvements as the weeks go on.”
The 40-year-old Bachlorette star went public in 2021 with her implant experience. While she liked her implants, she stated that her body did not. “As much as I love my implants, my body is fighting them and recognizes it as something obviously foreign in my body.” After her implant removal, she went on social media to offer an update and thank the team that helped her and other BII patients. “I still feel amazing. No pain meds. And the best things so far…no itchy rashes anymore! I had them for 5 years off and on… my skin feels incredible!”
In 2014 the 47-year-old arbiter of style shared that she no longer had her implants. Once calling them “torpedo bazookas,” the singer and fashion designer felt they had fallen out of favor. In 2017 she advised others to think twice before committing to a chestier look. “Don’t mess with your boobs…just celebrate what you’ve got,” she said in a Vogue UK interview.