Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Claire Clarke - Head of Surgical Services for The Harley Medical Group
What is breast implant removal or replacement surgery?
Breast implant removal is a surgical procedure to take out breast implants. Breast replacement surgery swaps old breast implants with new ones. Implants might be replaced with like-for-like implants or with implants that are a different size, shape or material. Both can be performed for medical or cosmetic reasons.
Breast implants typically need removing or replacing after 10 to 15 years. They may start ‘bottoming out` (lateral displacement), feel hard to the touch and misshapen (capsular contracture), or have moved or rotated creating an uneven appearance or a gap between your breasts.
During a breast implant’s lifespan, many women undergo natural changes in their body through pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss and ageing, and their breast preferences may change too. A breast implant removal or replacement surgery is often combined with other procedures to meet these moving body and lifestyle needs and desires of women.
A breast uplift is often combined with a breast implant removal or replacement surgery. Breast re-augmentation is a popular choice to make your breasts bigger.
When it comes to removing your breast implants, you can use this opportunity to re-evaluate your breasts and your breast surgery requirements so that you are happy with your breasts again.
Breast implant removal or replacement benefits
The many benefits of a breast implant removal or replacement include:
- Old implants are replaced or removed
- Better breast shape, size, and position
- Capsular contracture capsule is removed relieving pain
- Better fitting implants
- Reassurance of high-quality implants used by The Harley Medical Centre
Breast implant removal or replacement surgery process
- Free initial consultation with an experienced Patient Advisor. Virtual consultations are available.
- Surgeon consultation.
- Pre-operative assessment with your Nurse.
- 24hr pre- and post-op wellness calls.
- 7 days and 6 to 8 weeks post-operative appointments.
- Comprehensive care every step of the way.
There are a number of different treatment options available depending on your desired look and the condition of your current breast implants.
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss these choices with you and their varying results to help determine which approach is suitable for you. Together you will consider different breast implant shapes and sizes if you have new implants and discuss the look you wish to achieve and your potential results that are achievable.
Breast implant removal or replacement surgery is similar to breast enlargement surgery.
To minimise scarring, your surgeon uses your existing scars to remove your old implants and any internal scar tissue. They repair the implant pocket. If you choose new implants, they insert them into the pocket using the Keller Funnell technique that allows minimal contact with the implant.
If you have capsular contracture, your surgeon will perform a capsulectomy to remove the implant and its casing, restoring your breast to a more natural appearance. You may also choose to have a new implant inserted.
Your nurse will advise you about your post-operative recovery before your surgery. You should follow this guidance to ensure your optimum recovery.
Most patients find their recovery from replacement breast implants is more comfortable than their original surgery. This is because the tissue and skin in the area have already been stretched.
If you choose larger implants or combine your procedure with a breast uplift your recovery will be similar to your initial breast enlargement surgery.
You should be able to return to a light version of your normal daily routine within a few days.
We strongly recommend 2 weeks off work following your surgery and avoiding any strenuous exercise for 5 to 6 weeks.
Types of breast implant removal/replacement
Following implant removal surgery your breasts will have a deflated appearance. Many women choose to undergo a two-stage procedure to address this.
At The Harley Medical Group, we have the following options available to achieve your desired result.
Breast implant removal
Your breast implants are removed and not replaced. No further surgery is performed.
Breast implant replacement (breast re-augmentation)
Your breast implants are removed and replaced with new implants. Depending on your breast tissue and your preferences your new implants can be the same size, larger or smaller.
An implant removal with replacement implants can have the same appearance and only the people you talk to about your surgery will ever know.
Breast implant removal and uplift (mastopexy)
If your breast tissue has stretched as a result of pregnancy, weight loss, a large breast implant, or natural ageing, a breast implant removal and uplift might be recommended by your surgeon.
Your breast implants are removed and not replaced by new implants, but your breast tissue is lifted to give a smaller, pert and natural result.
Breast implant removal and enlargement with uplift (breast re-augmented mastopexy)
This combination procedure is suitable if you have stretched breast tissue and you want to lift and enlarge your breasts with a bigger implant.
You can enjoy bigger boobs that are lifted to their optimum position.
Capsular contracture happens when the protective scar tissue capsule around your breast implant is unusually hard and dense. It can cause chronic pain and distort the appearance of your breast.
A capsulectomy procedure removes the capsule lining around your implant. You can then either remove the original implant or replace it with a new one.
Breast implant removal/replacement cost
Breast implant removal/replacement costs start from £4,995 and vary depending on the condition of your breast tissue, whether breast implants are being removed or replaced, and the complexity of the surgery.
The price includes:
- Initial consultation
- Pre-operative assessment
- Hospital stay
- Comprehensive aftercare
There are no hidden costs.
At The Harley Medical Group, we have a number of different payment plans available to suit individual budgets, including a 0% finance loan paid over 12 months.
Breast implant removal/replacement FAQs
Breast implants are not guaranteed to last your lifetime. Mentor, the world's leading cosmetic brand, with over 25 years of experience in breast implant manufacture, places the lifespan of a breast implant at 10 to 15 years.
At The Harley Medical Group, we recommend checking your breast implants with an MRI scan, after 10 years and then again annually to ensure the correct state of the implant. After 15 years of having your breast implants, we recommend, if you have not already, that you consider breast Implant removal and/or breast implant replacement surgery.
Some women need to replace their breast implant before this time for medical reasons such as capsular contracture or implant rupture.
The Harley Medical Group uses the highest quality MENTOR® breast implants that come with a ten-year warranty.
When you have breast enlargement surgery, it is normal for your body to recognise the implant as a foreign object and form a fibrous tissue ‘capsule’ around it.
However, for women who scar easily, a high volume or very hard tissue capsule can form around the breast. This may contain muscle that can contract and cause your implant to rupture or deform your breast size and shape. This is called capsular contracture. Not only can it cause problems with the appearance of your breast implant, but the contractions can also be uncomfortable.
Capsulectomy removes an implant that is causing capsular contracture and its surrounding problematic capsule.
By inserting a new implant, your body has the opportunity to form a healthy capsule.
We cannot say whether breast implant removal or replacement is right for you as it is your choice, with the exception of medical needs. There are many reasons why women choose to remove or replace their implants.
However, if you say yes to one or more of the following, we recommend you consider undergoing this breast implant removal or replacement surgery:
- Your breast implants are coming to the end of their lifespan, being over 10 years old
- You have experienced shifting, sagging, or changes due to age, weight fluctuations, or pregnancy
- The look of your breasts has changed since having children or breastfeeding
- You're not happy with the way your implants look or feel
- You’ve developed capsular contracture and the scar tissue around your breast implant is getting harder or tighter or is causing pain
- One or both implants have leaked or ruptured
- Your original implants feel too large or too small and you want to change the size of your breasts
- You have changed your breast preferences
- You want to return to your original breast size
- You want to change the shape of your breasts, for example, from round implants to more natural-looking teardrop-shaped implants
- The appearance or feel of your breasts is less desirable than when the implants were originally inserted
- A change in your lifestyle means that you no longer want to have breast implants.
Whatever your reason for wanting to remove or replace your breast implants, our team of highly qualified specialists are available to explain all options available to you and answer any questions that you might have.
This will depend, in part, on the procedure you opt for.
In most cases, if you remove and don’t replace your implants, then your skin retracts to some extent. How much it retracts will depend on how much your skin has stretched to accommodate your implants. You may find you feel that your breasts look empty or deflated post-surgery, particularly during the healing process.
If you originally opted for large implants your skin may have stretched too much to return to its original, pre-surgery, appearance. In this instance, your surgeon may recommend a breast uplift to remove any excess skin and to give a natural pert appearance.
Your breasts may look very similar to your current breasts if you wish to simply replace the old implants with the same size and shape implants.
To help you understand your potential results our specialist breast surgeons are happy to discuss with you your achievable results.
This is largely your choice and depends on your reasons for breast implant removal or replacement.
If you have ruptured implants or implants that have developed capsular contracture, you will usually return to your surgeon who performed your breast enlargement.
If you are not happy with your original surgery and you want breast revision surgery to correct it, you may wish to find another surgeon to perform this procedure.
Why choose The Harley Medical Group for your breast augmentation?
- Over 35 years of experience in delivering the highest quality cosmetic surgery.
- Audited by the independent regulator Care Quality Commission (CQC).
- Competitive pricing and payment options including 0% finance loans payable over 12 months.
- GMC-registered Surgeons licenced to practice in the UK specifically for plastic surgery.
- Conveniently and locally available at our 9 clinics across the UK.
- Expert team of Nurses, Surgeons and Doctors who are passionately dedicated to enhancing people's lives.
- Professional, ethical and safe with patient wellbeing always being our top priority.
- Virtual consultations available.
- Use the highest quality MENTOR® breast implants with FDA approval and a 10-year warranty.
- A Breast Safety Charter to ensure our patients receive the very best care.
- Performed almost 1000 breast surgeries last year (July 2021-22).
- 24-hour experienced Nurse helpline available 365 days a year.
- We put you, your goals, your results and your entire experience at the forefront of what we do.