I had the pleasure some months ago to speak to WLWT Cincinnati about the importance of breast implant removal, or explant surgery, to address infections or other associated issues. A lot of women who experience these complications seem to have an extremely difficult time finding a surgeon willing and able to perform the surgery.
It Isn’t Common Knowledge
According to my patients, their original surgeons are very rarely willing to perform explants for different reasons. I have heard stories of patients being told they were in perfect health despite the chronic pain they were experiencing; others had their surgeons offer to replace or resize their implants.
Believe it or not, these incidents are not done for wholly negative reasons. Explant surgeries are just something that has only entered mainstream recognition recently, and my fellow physicians are just beginning to pick it up. We are creatures of knowledge and are determined not to perform unfamiliar procedures without learning as much of it as possible.
A Rising Awareness
Breast Implant infections are not new, per se, but only recently have they been recognized as a very real condition. Previously we’d prescribe the usual – painkillers, topical creams, or antihistamines. This practice is now being corrected to identifying the root cause of the condition: either the silicone in the implants or the surrounding scar tissue or capsule.
Silicone allergy is the common cause for rashes, hives or other skin blemishes that appear on or around the chest after getting an implant. These can manifest hours, days, or weeks after the surgery. Even saline implants utilize a silicone shell, so draining them of fluid will ultimately make no difference.
Capsules, meanwhile, are scar tissue that forms around the implant over time. While small amounts of scarring are normal, a large number of results in capsular contracture, as the body struggles to contain the foreign substance away from its natural parts. Often hard and painful, capsules need to be removed to alleviate any aesthetic and functional issues. Complete removal of the implant ensures no future scarring will manifest.
Breast Implant Complications Can Be Severe
As I mentioned in my interview, the symptoms for either of the causes above can extend beyond normal expectations. I have had cases of whole-body rashes, inflamed breasts, or fevers and influenza that can all be traced to an infected breast implant. It is imperative to return to your original surgeon when any complications appear.
Even then, actual diagnosis can be tricky, and finding a surgeon willing to perform explant surgery is even trickier. No matter their stance on the actual surgery, however, a good doctor will be willing to give advice. Which is why…
Getting a Board-certified Plastic Surgeon is Half the Battle
A rather big reason behind the spike of explant surgery requests is the lack of pre-surgery testing for how a patient’s body will react to implants. However, obtaining the services of a board-certified plastic surgeon guarantees excellent results and support for revision surgeries. Explant surgeries are expected to be more immediately supported in the near future, another advantage of a board-certified surgeon.