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Breast implant removal surgery – what does it entail?

Breast implant removal surgery involves the removal of both the capsule and the implant in their entirety. Dr. Whitfield believes strongly that it his duty, and his privilege, to take care of his patients in whatever way possible. Part of this is trying to understand the underlying “why” behind unexplained symptoms. Dr. Whitfield can and does perform en bloc capsulectomy for his breast cancer and breast augmentation patients requiring or requesting breast implant removal. In the case of breast cancer, the patient will be provided the option of a reconstruction with their own tissue using the DIEP free flap.


The procedure will include the following:

  • A picture will be taken of the implants and capsules to provide to the patient.
  • Samples will be taken for bacterial and fungal DNA analysis to evaluate for inflammation around the implant.
  • The capsule will also be sent to rule out BIA-ALCL or any other potential malignancy like breast cancer.
  • Implants can be returned to the patient if the procedure is performed at the surgery center.
  • Drains may be used in the case of rupture, obvious infection or complicated surgery.

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What is breast implant-related illness?

Breast implant-related illness is a term for a cluster of symptoms that some patients develop who also have breast implants. The most common complaints are:

  • fatigue
  • brain fog or memory loss
  • joint and muscle pain
  • headaches
  • IBS
  • skin rashes
  • swollen glands
  • recurring infections
  • hair loss

Recovery time for breast implant removal surgery

Recovery time varies, based on the patient. Since many women come in with their immune systems already suppressed it may require a bit longer to recover. In general, recovery from breast implant removal surgery will take in the range of one to four weeks. Symptoms related to autoimmune disorders require longer. Many options will be discussed regarding treatment of other underlying medical conditions once the implants have been removed.

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