Breast implant removal is a surgical procedure that removes breast implants from breast augmentation or breast reconstruction patients. It’s an option for women who no longer wish to have implants, are experiencing health issues, have implant complications or failures, or those who prefer a smaller implant size.
Breast Implant Illness (BII), a term used to describe unexplained physical and psychological symptoms in women, can be caused by saline or silicone implants.  Additionally, complications such as ruptured implants and silicone leakage and capsular contracture, can affect the shape of the breast. Some women may also wish to remove their implants for increased comfort and mobility.
Whatever the reason, Joshua Korman, MD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in the removal of breast implants. Patients in California can trust Dr. Korman to perform their breast implant removal procedure with the highest level of care and expertise. His extensive experience and knowledge in the field allow him to provide his patients with the best possible outcomes and minimal scarring. Don’t decide if breast implant removal is right for you until you’ve discussed your options with Dr. Korman during a consultation appointment. Call (650) 671-2033 for our Mountain View office, (831) 244-8685 for Carmel, and (669) 318-0259 for San Jose.
Follow the blog of Dr. Korman for an inside look at the procedures, treatments, and methods he uses to transform his patients’ lives.
About Breast Implant Removal
In the United States, silicone breast implants are used in nearly 300,000 breast augmentation surgeries and 100,000 breast reconstruction surgeries yearly.  It is recommended that breast implants be exchanged or removed every 10-15 years, as they are not intended for long-term use. The decision to do so is usually based on the specific needs and desires of the individual patient.
While most women do not experience any issues with their implants, some may develop complications. Therefore, women with breast implants must be aware of the potential risks and have regular check-ups with their plastic surgeons to ensure the implants function properly.
Often, an issue with the implant may be readily apparent, such as with a visible rupture or capsular contracture, which can cause the breast to change shape or become hard. In these cases, the implant will likely need to be removed and possibly replaced. However, with Breast Implant Illness, symptoms may not be as clear cut, and it can be difficult to determine if the implant is the cause.
What is Breast Implant Illness?
The safety of breast implants has been controversial and debated since their introduction, with the FDA issuing bans on certain types for some time. Many women are choosing to have their breast implants removed in hopes of alleviating symptoms that are sometimes referred to as “breast implant illness.” Symptoms that are commonly reported include:
- Chronic pain
- Dysfunction in the endocrine, autonomic, and peripheral nervous systems
However, this still needs to be recognized as a clinical entity due to a lack of research on the subject. 
What is Capsular Contracture?
Capsular contracture is a complication that can occur after breast implant surgery. It occurs when the body forms a capsule, or a layer of scar tissue, around the implant. In some cases, the scar tissue can become thick and hard, which can cause the breast to feel tight and uncomfortable, and the shape of the breast might change.
The cause of capsular contracture is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to the body’s response to the foreign object (the implant) in the breast tissue. Factors that may increase the risk of capsular contracture include bleeding during surgery, infection, and damage to the implant. 
Capsular contracture can occur anytime after breast implant surgery, but it is more common in the first few months after surgery. Symptoms can include:
- Hardness or tightness in the breast
- Pain or discomfort in the breast
- Change in the shape of the breast
- Visible implant rippling or wrinkling
- Asymmetry between the two breasts
It can be treated by surgically removing the capsule of scar tissue around the implant, a procedure called capsulectomy. If the implant is removed, it can be replaced or not, depending on the patient’s decision.
For patients struggling with symptoms of BII, the benefits are clear. Still, for others, the benefits may range from:
- Increased mobility and comfort
- The ability to exercise with greater ease
- The ability to wear a new style of clothing
- A more age-appropriate silhouette
- An implant refresh after a decade or more
Once the implants are removed, Dr. Korman will help you determine which course of action will best benefit your lifestyle.
The ideal candidate for breast implant removal will vary depending on the individual’s specific circumstances, but in general, someone who may be a good candidate for the procedure would be:
- Women who are experiencing health issues or complications related to their breast implants, such as ruptured implants, capsular contracture, or breast implant-associated lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). To develop BIA-ALCL, a specific type of breast implant (textured) and bacterial contamination are thought to be necessary factors and a genetic predisposition. 
- Women who are experiencing symptoms of Breast Implant Illness.
- Women who have had breast implants for many years and are approaching the recommended replacement time for the implants.
- Women who are no longer satisfied with the size or appearance of their breasts and wish to have the implants removed.
- Women who wish to switch from silicone to saline or the reverse.
It’s important to discuss the procedure and any potential risks and benefits with a qualified plastic surgeon like Dr. Korman to determine if it’s the best option for you.
During the consultation, Dr. Korman will discuss the patient’s medical history, goals, and concerns, and then together, they will develop a personalized treatment plan. This plan may include options such as breast implant removal or replacement with new implants.
Dr. Korman will discuss the state of your breast tissue and what he determines will happen once the implants and scarring have been removed. Some patients who have experienced stretching may not have enough tissue to support the breast shape without the implant and may require a fat transfer or breast lift to achieve the desired results.
Dr. Korman will also discuss the potential risks and benefits associated with the procedure, recovery time, and expectations. He will determine if the patient is a good candidate for the procedure based on their overall health, the condition of their implants, and the reason for wanting to remove the implants. To schedule your consultation, get in touch using this form or call to speak with our scheduling coordinator.
Before you undergo surgery to remove your implants, Dr. Korman may require a physical examination, laboratory tests, and an ultrasound/mammography to ensure you are in good health and are a good candidate for the surgery. Patients should be in good health and should not be smokers, as smoking can interfere with the healing process.
Dr. Korman may ask you to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners or anti-inflammatory drugs, before the surgery and that you refrain from drinking alcohol leading up to the surgery date. Furthermore, you will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for a few days after the surgery. It is important to have someone available to assist you with daily activities, such as cooking, cleaning, and dressing. We will prepare you fully for your procedure and are here to answer your questions.
The Implant Removal Procedure
The explant surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia and can take anywhere from one to several hours, depending on the case. During the procedure, Dr. Korman will make an incision in the breast, usually in the same location as the original breast augmentation incision, and carefully remove the implant. Dr. Korman may remove any scar tissue or silicone leaked from the implant.
Once the implant is removed, Dr. Korman will either move on to the next phase of your treatment plan or close the incisions. He may place drainage tubes to help with any post-operative swelling or fluid build-up. After the surgery, patients will typically need an observation period as they wake up from the anesthesia.
Post Procedure Recovery
While the surgery is pain-free because the patient is asleep, recovery may be a different story—however, Dr. Korman’s skills and techniques mean that recovery is typically quick and the discomfort manageable for most patients. Dr. Korman will prescribe pain medication to ease the transition from surgery to fully healed. He recommends you are extremely careful during the first few weeks. Patients are directed not to engage in strenuous activities or heavy lifting as that could jeopardize the incisions.
Once the swelling and discomfort subside, you will be gradually cleared for more intense exercise. We encourage you to take it as easy as possible and use this time to focus on self-care and relaxation.
No matter what the next step in the process of implant removal is – complete removal, replacement, lift, or fat transfer – the patient will be pleased with their results. Dr. Korman prides himself on providing natural-looking results tailored to each individual’s unique needs and goals.
He will work closely with you to ensure that you are completely satisfied with your new look and that your recovery is as smooth as possible. Whether you’re looking to restore your natural breast shape or achieve a new look, Dr. Korman has the skills and expertise to help you achieve your desired outcome. Trust in his judgment and experience to guide you through this process; you will be on your way to a new you in no time!
Depending on the specifics of your case, the cost may change, so we recommend a consultation appointment with Dr. Korman to understand the cost of your implant removal procedure fully. Dr. Korman will work with you to ensure that you clearly understand the costs associated with your procedure and will help you explore any financing options that may be available to you. He will also discuss any insurance coverage that may apply to your procedure. In some cases, insurance may cover implant removal if it is deemed medically necessary. Overall, Dr. Korman’s goal is to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about your breast implant removal surgery. Start the process today!
- Habib PM, Serena T, Derosa A. Breast Implant Illness: A Case Series. Cureus. Published online March 31, 2022. doi:10.7759/cureus.23680
- Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics. Aesthet Surg J. 2017 May 1;37(suppl_2):1-29. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjx076
- Center for Devices and Radiological Health. Risks of Breast Implants. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published 2019. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/breast-implants/risks-and-complications-breast-implants
- K Groth A, Graf R. Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) and the Textured Breast Implant Crisis. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2019;44(1):1-12. doi:10.1007/s00266-019-01521-3