Breast augmentation surgery is a popular procedure, and the vast majority of patients are happy with their results. However, some women from Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Montgomery, and other nearby cities visit Dr. Michael S. Beckenstein because they no longer want their breast implants. Women considering breast implant removal (explant surgery) at our Birmingham, AL, practice have their own highly personal reasons for making this decision. Dr. Beckenstein has the expertise to perform this complex procedure and customizes each surgical plan to address the patients’ unique needs.
Why Do Women Choose to Remove Implants?
Numerous studies show that breast implants are safe and durable, lasting 10, 15, even 20+ years in some cases. But all implants have a limited life span and ultimately need to be either replaced or removed. Implant removal surgery can be performed for various reasons, with one of the most common reasons being that scar tissue around the implants has tightened or hardened—a condition called capsular contracture.
This can become painful and uncomfortable and can change the appearance of the breasts. The condition can develop at any time after getting implants but typically occurs several years after the procedure.
Other reasons that women choose to remove their breast implants at our Birmingham practice include:
Being dissatisfied with the appearance of their breasts
Feeling their breasts are too heavy and causing back and shoulder pain
Imaging suggests a leak or rupture of an implant or implants
One or both of the implants has ruptured or is leaking
When looking at these reasons, explant patients fall into 1 of 3 groups—women who feel they’ve outgrown their implants, those who have experienced breast augmentation complications such as capsular contracture or ruptures, and patients with concerns about their health who want to remove implants from the list of potential causes.
Women may also have concerns about BIA-ALCL (breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma), a rare cancer of the capsule, not the breast, that has been linked to some textured implants. The specific implants linked to the disease are not available at our practice.
Dr. Michael S. Beckenstein
Dr. Beckenstein is a fellowship-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon whose extensive experience in breast enhancement, body contouring procedures, and reconstructive plastic surgery sets him apart.
Dr. Beckenstein is a breast surgery specialist and highly trained in all breast implant removal techniques, including en bloc capsulectomy. He chooses the best technique after consulting with the patient and physically examining the breasts.
Surgical options include:
Implant removal: This is a fairly straightforward technique that involves making an incision in the scar tissue and removing the implant but leaving the scar tissue in place. This technique works best when the capsule encasing the implant is thin and the scar tissue will dissolve naturally without causing further complications.
Total capsulectomy: Using this technique, Dr. Beckenstein removes both the scar tissue and implants, but not necessarily as a single piece. After removing the implant, he separates the scar capsule from the surrounding breast tissue and removes it, sometimes in multiple segments.
En bloc capsulectomy: This is often the best approach but is also the most complex. Because of the technical skill required to successfully perform the procedure, not all plastic surgeons offer it for explant patients. After removing the implant and scar tissue capsule intact, Dr. Beckenstein saturates the empty pocket with an antibiotic solution to minimize the risk of infection.
Having completed his plastic surgery training in the early 1990s—when procedures to remove silicone gel implants were at their peak—Dr. Beckenstein has an exceptional level of experience performing explant surgery and total or en bloc capsulectomy. Additionally, his experience as one of the nation’s premier breast reconstruction specialists also benefits implant removal patients. He is capable of rebuilding a natural-looking breast mound on women who have virtually nothing left to work with, so you can trust him to create beautiful results from your explant surgery.
Combining Explant Surgery With a Breast Lift
All of these techniques can be combined with breast lift surgery to enhance the results. Your breasts may appear deflated, droopy, or misshapen after Dr. Beckenstein removes the implants because skin and tissue stretched by the implants do not always shrink to the natural breast shape.
How Long Is Recovery After Implant Removal?
Explant surgery recovery varies depending on the reasons for the procedure and the technique used. Patients typically experience some swelling and need several days of downtime. In cases involving a capsulectomy or en bloc technique, Dr. Beckenstein places small surgical drains to help prevent the accumulation of fluid. These are removed after a few days. We’ll provide post-op instructions and it is important to follow them closely to minimize the chance of complications and enhance the healing process.
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How Much Does It Cost to Have Breast Implants Removed?
The cost of breast implant removal surgery depends on several factors, including the technique used and the extent of surgery needed to produce successful results. The cost also depends on if Dr. Beckenstein combines a breast lift with the implant removal. We understand that cost is one factor when choosing a surgeon, but it shouldn’t be the primary reason with a procedure as complicated as explant surgery. We work with health care financing specialists to help patients pay for their procedures.
If you’re looking for a plastic surgeon in Birmingham or elsewhere in Alabama or the Southeast to perform explant surgery, Dr. Beckenstein is one of the most experienced and talented surgeons in the country. Request a consultation using the online form to meet with him, or call us at
(205) 933-9308 to schedule an appointment.