Munson Health
Breast Implant Removal

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by Stahl RJ

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Before the procedure, your doctor will:
  • Do a physical exam
  • Talk to you about:
    • How your breasts may look after surgery and what your expectations are
    • Whether you want new implants and, if so, the type and size
You may also have blood tests and imaging tests
You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
  • Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as, ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • Blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin
  • Anti-platelet drugs, such as clopidogrel
Leading up to your procedure:
  • The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • If instructed, shower the morning of the procedure.
  • Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital and for help at home.


This surgery may be done with:
  • General anesthesia (more common)—blocks pain and keeps you asleep during the surgery
  • Local anesthesia—numbs the breasts, but you remain awake

Description of the Procedure

A small incision will be made along the crease beneath the breast. The implant will be removed through the incisions. Extra care will be taken if the implant has ruptured. Thick, hard scar tissue may have developed around the implant area. It will need to be removed during surgery. This will require a larger incision.
Another option includes making an incision in the area around the nipple. The implant will be deflated then removed.
Dissolvable sutures will be used to close up the incisions.

How Long Will It Take?

It takes about one hour, but it may take longer if there are complications.

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. As you recover, you will have some pain, especially if you have had scar tissue removed. Your doctor will give you pain medicine.

Average Hospital Stay

This procedure may be done in the hospital or surgery center. It may be possible to leave the same day as the procedure. However, you may be asked to stay overnight.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital
The hospital staff will monitor you. Your breasts may be wrapped in a compression bandage. Dressings will be placed on the incision sites.
At Home
When you return home, take these steps:
  • Use a compression bandage or wear a special bra.
  • Change the dressings every day.
  • To decrease swelling and pain, place ice packs on your breasts. Wrap ice in a towel. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
  • Take pain medicine as indicated by your doctor.
  • Ask your doctor when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.


American Society of Plastic Surgeons



Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons

Women's Health Matters



Breast implants: potential local complications and reoperations. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: . Updated September 1, 2010. Accessed July 18, 2012.

Breast implant removal. Breast Implants website. Available at: . Accessed July 18, 2012.

Breast implant removal. Implant Info Net website. Available at: . Accessed July 18, 2012.

Breast implant removal and re-implantation. Group Health website. Available at:;jsessionid=ZX4FR2BTJKFUBJCISQ3SHPQ . Accessed July 18, 2012.

Breast implant replacement or removal. The Hospital Group website. Available at: . Accessed July 18, 2012.

Breast implant surgery. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: . Updated June 22, 2011. Accessed July 18, 2012.

What you need to know about breast implants. National Research Center for Women & Families website. Available at: . Accessed July 18, 2012.


Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD Michael Woods, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2013
  • Update Date: 09/30/2013