What Will My Breasts Look Like if I Have My Implants Removed?

Over the years, breast augmentation surgery has helped millions of women feel more confident and happy with their bodies. However, each year a small percentage of women choose to have their breast implants removed.

Breast implant removal surgery, or explantation, is usually very straightforward, and recovery is often faster and less painful than the initial breast augmentation. Most of the time, I can even use the existing incision sites to remove the implants, avoiding any new scars.

Achieving a pleasing implant removal outcome takes considerable skill and finesse on the part of the cosmetic surgeon. Every patient I see who is considering the procedure wants to know “will I look like I did before I had implants?”, so I’d like to offer some answers, as well as help you understand what goes into successful breast implant removal surgery.

Change is inevitable

It is highly unlikely that your breasts will look exactly like they did prior to your breast augmentation.

Consider all of the factors that can impact your breasts over time:

  • Your genetics, particularly the natural quality of your skin
  • How much your breasts changed in size and shape after augmentation
  • The change in your skin tone and elasticity with age
  • The size and weight of your implants
  • How regularly you wear a bra
  • How long you’ve had your implants
  • Whether your implants were placed over or under the muscle
  • Your age
  • The number of pregnancies you’ve had and how long you breastfed
  • Hormonal changes from aging or pregnancy
  • Weight gain and loss over time

Will I need a breast lift after having breast implants removed?

Taking all of the above into consideration, your breasts have likely stretched over time with the implants. It’s rare for these tissues to contract all the way back to their pre-implant size and shape.

Some patients do need a breast lift to achieve an optimal outcome, though others are satisfied with their breast appearance without a lift. If you’ve had a significant change in your breasts, a breast lift will likely give you the most the most aesthetically pleasing result. That said, a breast lift is not always necessary.

You’re more likely to benefit from a breast lift if:

  • You have larger implants relative to your natural breast size
  • You’ve had your implants for many years
  • Your breasts were beginning to droop before you had breast augmentation
  • You’ve been pregnant or breastfed
  • Your nipples sit too low after the implants are removed
  • Your implants have drooped over time
  • You’ve experienced a major weight change
  • Your breasts aren’t in the right position.
  • You have stretch marks you are unhappy with.

You may not need a breast lift if:

  • You have had your implants for a relatively short time (less than a couple of years)
  • You have more modest size implants
  • You have good natural skin elasticity
  • You have not been pregnant or breastfed

A breast lift can be performed at the same time as breast implant removal, or as a separate procedure. There are benefits to both. Combining implant removal with a breast lift requires only one surgery and recovery, and allows me to lift and reshape the breast with greater control and precision. If it is not so clear-cut that a patient needs (or wants) a breast lift, it can be better to wait and see if the breasts return to a shape that a patient is happy with, thus avoiding the additional scars.

In general, the younger you are, the better your skin elasticity, and the less time you’ve had your implants in, the more likely it is that your breasts will return to something close to their pre-surgery state without a breast lift.

This is not to say that your breasts will inevitably be “ruined” after your implants are removed. I take the above into consideration when planning your surgery to restore the most aesthetically pleasing, natural breast shape, as should any true cosmetic breast specialist.

The most important factor in how your breasts will look after implant removal is your cosmetic surgeon

Just like achieving a beautiful breast augmentation result involves a lot more than inserting breast implants, ensuring a beautiful breast appearance after explantation involves a lot more than simply taking out the implants. As a cosmetic surgeon, it is my role to help you understand how breast implant removal is likely to impact your appearance, and then design a surgical plan that will provide shapely, symmetrical natural breasts to the highest degree possible.

If you are considering having your implants removed, I invite you to contact my office to request a personal consultation. I offer in-office consultations in Las Vegas, as well as remote consultations for out-of-town patients.

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