Breast Illness Trends: Questions and Answers for Future Moms 

Breast Illness Trends: Questions and Answers for Future Moms 

Are babies in your future? Do you have concerns that your breast implants may impact your ability to get pregnant or breastfeed your baby? You may consider removing your implants, a procedure known as explantation, before starting a family. We have the information you need to learn more about breast illness trends to help you decide. 

The Facts About Breast Implant Removal 

Celebrities going public with their implant removal has gotten the attention of many women wondering about the appearance and safety of their breast implants. Outspoken women like Chrissy Teigen, Tamra Judge, and Melissa Rycroft have all shared their explantation stories via social media and other channels. 

The trend is also evident if you look at the numbers. In 2020, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported a 9% decrease in breast augmentation procedures since 2000. This downward trajectory is noteworthy as one of the top plastic surgery procedures for many years. In some cases, women are choosing a different approach to breast enhancement, such as a fat transfer procedure that uses their body’s tissue to add shape and volume to the breasts.

While breast augmentation is declining, implant removal is on a definite uptick. Cleveland Clinic cited industry estimates that showed more than 200,000 women chose to remove their breast implants in 2021 alone – a 47% increase between 2020 and 2021. 

breast implants in a tray

Why are so Many Women Removing Their Implants?

The numbers don’t lie, but they lead to the question of why. Why are so many women deciding to remove the implants they pursued, often just a few short years later? 

There is more than one answer to that question, but many women mention concerns about their health when they talk about their implant removal decision. Other common reasons for choosing explantation might include: 

  • Dislike of how larger breasts make you look
  • Difficulty participating in some activities 
  • Pain in the neck and shoulders 
  • Challenges finding clothing that fits your body
  • Implants no longer work with your lifestyle
  • Concerns over the accuracy of mammogram results
  • Worries over breast implant illness (BII) 
  • Risk of implant-related cancer (BIA-ALCL) 
  • Anxiety over how implants might affect future pregnancies

No matter what your reason might be for wanting your implants removed, the decision is a very personal one. Talking to your doctor about your concerns and collecting all the information you need to feel confident in your choice is essential.  

Is Implant Removal a Good Idea? 

Women who opt for breast implant removal are usually very satisfied with their choice. The benefits of explantation may vary based on why you first decided to undergo breast implant surgery. Many women find that despite their desire to enhance their body contour with breast augmentation, the larger breasts do not fit their body proportions as they hoped. When they go “natural,” they become more satisfied with their appearance. 

Other potential benefits of implant explantation include: 

  • Greater physical comfort
  • Reduced strain on back and neck
  • No more MRIs to check for implant ruptures
  • Peace of mind in reducing BIA-ALCL risk
  • Improvement of BII-related symptoms
pregnant person holding onto stomach

Will Implant Removal Impact My Ability to Get Pregnant? 

When you start thinking about trying to get pregnant, questions may arise. You may be explicitly worried about how your implants might impact your ability to get pregnant or the health of your baby. Fortunately, most of these concerns are not warranted. 

While implants won’t affect getting pregnant or your baby’s development, there is another concern many women face when they get pregnant while they still have the implants. The breasts are already subject to changes in size during pregnancy as the body gets ready to nourish your newborn. 

As the breasts get larger, they strain the surrounding skin, leading to stretch marks and sagging skin. When you have implants, they can exacerbate these changes, leading to dissatisfaction with the appearance of the breasts once your baby arrives. Removing the implants now may minimize breast changes during and after pregnancy.

Some women also find that the combination of an expanding abdomen and larger breasts makes it much more difficult to sleep during the night. Since you and your baby need quality sleep during those critical nine months, removing the implants before you get pregnant might make restful nights a little easier. 

Will I be Able to Breastfeed After Implant Removal?

The ability to breastfeed after getting or removing breast implants is a bit more complex. First, understand that many women successfully breastfeed after these procedures, while other women are unable to breastfeed despite never having breast surgery. Specific factors may determine whether surgery impacts your breastfeeding experience. 

One of the primary factors is your incision placement, either during implant placement or implant removal. When the incision is near the areola or nipple, it can affect milk ducts and a woman’s milk supply. When this occurs, breastfeeding may no longer be an option. When these procedures are performed by an experienced plastic surgeon aware of your future family plans, incisions can be placed away from the nipple to preserve breastfeeding ability.

The size of the implant is also a factor. Large implants can put pressure on the milk ducts, which may impact the milk flow to the nipple. In this case, implant removal may resolve any potential challenges. 

surgeon working on patient with a tray of tools nearby

How Do I Choose My Surgeon for Implant Removal?

Any breast enhancement surgery is delicate and complex, particularly breast implant removal. When it is not performed correctly, you can end up with breasts that droop or appear deflated. A surgeon with experience and expertise in reconstructing the breast mound during the procedure will ensure the best outcome for you. 

The reconstruction process is a critical factor in a successful explantation procedure, so I developed my proprietary approach, BRALAN, or breast reconstruction anatomical lift augmentation. I start with an L-shaped incision at the base of the breast to minimize noticeable post-operative scarring. This innovative technique also preserves the natural cleavage line beautifully. 

Through the incision, I remove both the breast implant and the capsule of scar tissue surrounding it. This ensures only healthy breast tissue is left for the reshaping process, which produces the most natural result. As I rebuild the breast mound, I create upper pole fullness and projection to enhance the entire breast contour. I often lift the breast position as well since drooping breasts tend to create a more aged and less shapely appearance. 

I have a similar technique for breast lifts, which I call BRALIFT (breast reconstruction anatomical lift). For women who end up with large, pendulous breasts after pregnancy and breastfeeding, I also offer my breast reduction technique known as BRAR (breast reconstruction anatomical reduction). Both of these techniques focus on using the same type of incision and approach to create a breast shape that is youthful, natural, and proportionate to the rest of the body. 

Is it time to set your family plans in motion? Now may be the right time to decide between your breast implants. Consider your options, talk to your doctor, and prepare your body for your new mommy role and future children.

Dr. Alan González has been performing plastic surgery in Colombia for more than 23 years. After completing more than 18,000 successful procedures, he understands cosmetic treatments are a “change for life” that connects your body image with how you view yourself. Dr. Alan is double board-certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). 

Breast Illness Trends: Questions and Answers for Future Moms  text with picture of person holding breast implants

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