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What to Expect After an Explant Procedure

Many people may consider having an explant procedure to remove silicone or saline breast implants, but are hesitant to do so because they aren’t sure exactly what will happen after the surgery is over.  Some people fear permanent scarring or deformation, while others are concerned that things just won’t feel right or there might be some change in the texture of the breast.  While the following should be considered a basic overview and is not going to cover every possibility, many of the more common results and effects will be covered so that you will have a much better idea of what to expect should you decide to have explant surgery.

While explant surgery is generally an outpatient procedure and you will most likely be out of the operating room within 30 minutes to an hour, it will take you a little longer than that to be fully recovered enough to go back to work or resume your normal life.  Depending upon how in-depth your surgery was, it may take as few as 2 or as many as 5 or more days for you to get back to your normal routine.  During this time, you can expect mild to moderate discomfort as well as some swelling and bruising from the surgery.  You will likely not be able to wear a bra during this time, as it would rub against the surgery site and serve to irritate it more or run the risk of either contaminating the site or reopening the wound.

Depending on how large the implants being removed were, you may also have had a breast lift or other cosmetic procedure in order to restore a natural look.  These procedures may increase the time that it takes to heal, or increase the sensitivity of the surgical site or the discomfort that you feel during the healing process.

There may be side effects or other risks associated with explant procedures, which you should discuss with your cosmetic surgeon before having the surgery performed.  Some of the more common of these side effects include loss of sensation in the nipple, sagging breasts or other loose skin, and scarring in the surgical area.  Make sure that you surgeon is fully aware of any concerns that you have regarding these topics, and after the procedure has been completed report any negative effects to them as soon as you notice them as they may be able to treat them early on but would be unable to do so later.

Of course, as with any surgery there are other things that you should look out for while healing as well.  Inspect the surgical site for any signs of additional bleeding until the wound is healed, and contact your doctor or surgeon immediately if you do see any fresh or dried blood.  Small amounts of spot bleeding may not be anything to worry about soon after the surgery, but it’s better to let the doctor know just in case there is a problem.  You should also keep an eye out for additional swelling, redness, an increase in pain, or other fluid discharge from the surgical site as these could be signs of infection setting in.  Most potential infections can be treated by antibiotics, though the doctor may want to clean the wound site as well.

Finally, you should be aware that there may be psychological effects associated with explant surgery in addition to the physical effects.  You may suffer from depression, restlessness, or a feeling that you are ugly or undesirable.  Should you begin to feel these emotions, don’t be afraid to discuss them with your doctor or a psychologist or psychiatrist of your choosing.  This is merely the mind’s way of dealing with a major change to the look of your body, and it will often go away on its own or may be treated without the need for antidepressants or other drugs.  In more severe cases, some drugs may be used to help you overcome the depression until your mind and body get used to the change.




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