Breast 'Explants' Are a Quickly Rising Plastic Surgery Trend

Model Used for Illustrative Purpose Only

This new "natural" wave in plastic surgery isn't just about the rise in noninvasive procedures; it's also about reversing past surgeries that may look too "done." Case in point: A new trend is on the rise of women requesting breast "explants," aka, having their implants removed. 

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"I have seen an uptick in patients coming in for explantation in my practice," says Troy, MI, plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD. "I think this is based off of a combination of factors. Some patients are getting older, have had implants for many years and decided they just aren't for them anymore. Other patients have changed their lifestyle and the implants no longer fit in with those changes. For example, I've seen some patients who have become very active and super health-conscious, and have decided to remove their implants because they no longer fit with their sense of self. I've also seen a few patients who have been scared by recent social media stories and have come in to discuss implant removal."

New York plastic surgeon Kevin Tehrani, MD, says it's not an uncommon request and procedure at his practice either. "It's even more common now with the new awareness of ALCL (a rare form of cancer linked to breast implants). But in general, it has to do with patients who have undergone augmentation for enlargement and feel they're too big now or wish to be smaller as they get older and want to be more conservative. "

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If the implants are on the smaller side to begin with (roughly 325-ccs or less) and have no associated complications, Dr. Youn says the explantation surgery can be very simple, about 30 minutes. "I advise the patient to wear a tight bra for two months afterward to help the skin that's been stretched out from the implants retract on its own. If the implants are large (about 350-ccs or more), removing them could result in excess loose skin, and a breast lift might also be needed, which can take several hours."

If the patient was completely flat-chested before their breast implant surgery, Dr. Tehrani says they will most likely need to add some volume after their implants are taken out, otherwise the breasts can look too deflated. "The breasts often look smaller after explantation than they did pre-implants because there is some retraction that happens after implant removal," he explains. "To add natural-looking volume, my favorite procedure is explantation and autologous fat transfer at the same time. The results of fat grafting to the breasts are great because of the prior expansion of the breast tissue from the implants."

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1 Comment
  • Noa K. S.
    Posted on

    After decades of steady growth, the breast implant trend appears to be deflating. What experts refer to as "explant" procedures jumped by nearly 10 percent from 2010 to 2014 as augmentations fell by about 3 percent, per data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Last year, nearly 24,000 women—most between 30 and 54—kissed their fake breasts good-bye.

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