what is breast explant surgery

Summary: What is breast explant surgery, exactly? It doesn’t have a name that’s quite as catchy as something like a “mommy makeover,” so the procedure itself could use a little explanation. Essentially, a breast explant procedure is one in which a breast implant is surgically removed. Breast explant surgery has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years, so it’s worth looking into what happens with this procedure and why it’s caught on so much.

What is Breast Explant Surgery?

There’s a new procedure making the media rounds, so it’s no wonder that everyone’s asking: what is breast explant surgery? And why is it suddenly so popular? Well, let’s answer those questions in order. Breast explant surgery is a plastic surgery procedure in which the breast implants are removed from the body, returning the breasts to roughly their natural size.

As to why this procedure is suddenly so popular, well, that answer is going to require a more comprehensive answer. It’s difficult to boil down into one sentence, other than to say that a combination of factors has caused a shift in the aesthetics around the breasts. Then again, there’s more to it than that, too.

Breast explant surgery is interesting in that you might find yourself doing research on this procedure if you’re in any number of situations. Maybe you’re thinking about a breast augmentation and want to know your options down the line. Or maybe you’ve already had a breast augmentation and you’re thinking about removing your implants. That covers a very wide range of people that might be wondering, what is breast explant surgery?

The Basic of the Breast Explant Procedure

During most breast augmentation procedures, an implant is inserted beneath the tissue or fat of the breast. Sometimes that implant is saline, sometimes it’s silicone, but the basic procedure is the same. An incision is made, the implant is inserted, healing occurs, and the breast size increases. A breast explant procedure is essentially the opposite of a breast augmentation procedure. An incision is made, and the implant is removed.

There are a few things to know about breast explant surgery:

  • In many cases, the incision is made in the same spot as the original breast augmentation procedure; this helps limit any additional scarring that might develop
  • The breasts will naturally return to their normal size once the implant is removed; in most cases, there will not be a significant accumulation of excess skin that patients have to deal with after the procedure.
  • For some patients, a breast explant procedure may be performed concurrently with a breast lift procedure–but that really does depend on the individual patient.

The recovery time for these procedures is usually relatively light, with most patients returning to work within a week or so. That said, you’ll want to talk to your surgeon about whether a breast explant procedure is right for you. Some patients, for example, will elect for a variation on this procedure: the breast implant revision surgery, which swaps out old implants for new ones (often of a different size).

Why is Breast Explant Surgery so Popular?

Breast augmentation has often been the single most popular plastic surgery procedure in the United States. It was true in 2017, just as it was in years past (though, not all of those years). So when a procedure that does the exact opposite of a breast augmentation suddenly starts gaining traction, it seems to create an incongruity.

But I’m not sure that incongruity exists. It’s entirely possible for some women to want larger breasts and then, later in life, want smaller breasts. That this is possible and efficient–and well advertised these days–helps contribute to the popularity of breast explant surgery.

That’s not to discount the role that culture has played in that trend as well. There have certainly been changes in the definition of beauty–oversized breasts are not quite as aesthetically appealing in a universal way as they once were. This is natural–beauty standards change over time because they’re socially driven.

Will Breast Explant Surgery Remain Popular?

It’s an open question, then, whether breast explant surgery will remain popular over the long term. If I were a betting person (and I’m not, really), I would wager that people would remain interested in this procedure for some time to come. After all, most breast implants have a limited shelf life. So it’s not unreasonable to think that all those who undergo a breast augmentation today will think about an explant surgery in the years to come.

It’s worth noting that breast explant surgery will only work on actual implants–saline and silicone. Breast explant surgery is not designed to reverse the effects of fat graft breast augmentation, which uses your body’s own fat to increase the volume of the breasts.

Fewer people will ask, “what is breast explant surgery” and more people will simply know it’s an option down the road. That’s probably a best case scenario on many levels. Patients love to have options, and breast explant surgery is designed to do precisely that: give patients as many options as possible.

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