What are the breast implant removal complications I should be aware of?

A fundamental way Medbelle ensures our patients have the best experience possible is by focusing on education and information.

While every Medbelle surgeon is dedicated to informing their patients of the risks associated with surgery, it is always good for a patient to research the possible breast implant removal surgery risks on their own.

Below are short explanations of general surgical risks as well as specific breast implant removal complications.

Can anything potentially increase my risk of breast implant removal complications?

Outside of preexisting medical conditions, there are a few factors that can increase your risk of developing complications during or after any surgery.

Smoking & Nicotine Use

Nicotine, which is in cigarettes and other tobacco products as well as many e-cigarettes, is a vasoconstrictor meaning it naturally reduces blood flow.

Limiting blood flow to any tissue during surgery increases the likelihood of complications like tissue necrosis and infection. Limited blood flow may even increase the time it takes you to recover from breast implant removal.

This is why Medbelle surgeons all strongly recommend stopping any nicotine use or smoking 6 weeks before surgery. For the best results possible, you should continue abstaining from nicotine use or smoking for at least 6 weeks after surgery as well.

What are the general surgical risks and breast implant removal complications?

Every surgery is associated with some risk.

General surgical risks and complications include:

  • Blood clots
  • Anaesthetic risks
  • Allergic reaction to a surgical component (i.e. medical tape)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain

Your surgeon and their medical team will do everything possible to prevent any breast implant removal complications from developing. You may be given medication to thin your blood, control your pain or ease nausea. You may also be given compression socks or a compression bra to wear after surgery.


An infection can develop after any surgery. An infection will become apparent in the first 2 to 3 weeks of your recovery from breast explant.

It is important to contact your surgeon at the first sign of infection.

In most cases, infections are mild and easily treated with a course of antibiotics. However, if allowed to continue untreated, an infection can be a serious breast implant removal complication. Infection can severely impact your health and the look of your breast explant results.

if you have any of the following symptoms of an infection, speak to your surgeon promptly:

  • A temperature above 38° C
  • Redness surrounding your incision that begins to grow and spread out
  • Any foul-smelling fluid coming from a surgical wound
  • Pain or discomfort that isn’t controlled with painkillers

What are the specific breast implant removal surgery risks and complications?

Disappointment with your results

While a vast majority of patients are very happy with their results after breast implant removal, some may regret having surgery or be disappointed with the look of their results.

Choosing an experienced BAPRAS/BAAPS member surgeon for your breast explant will help reduce this risk. You should also choose a surgeon who can show you before and after photos for breast implant removal procedures they have performed previously.

Changes in sensation

After breast explant surgery, you may experience an altered sensation across your chest. This breast implant removal complication is more likely to happen to the nipples and incision areas.

This is because nerve connections to the skin or breast tissue may have been damaged during surgery, especially if you have a more invasive procedure such as a breast lift included with your breast explant.

Any change in sensation will more than likely return to normal with time as the nerves heal. It can take several months for this to happen.

In rare cases, however, nerve damage and loss of sensation can be permanent after breast implant removal.

Tissue Necrosis

Damage to the breast tissue’s blood supply is a rare but possible breast implant removal complication.

Tissue necrosis develops when the cells of any tissue die. This can be caused by a loss of blood supply to sections of breast tissue during breast explant surgery.

Necrosis is much more common in nicotine users as nicotine can damage their blood vessels. Diabetes and a very high BMI also increase the risk of necrosis after surgery.

If you have any of these symptoms of necrosis, contact your Medbelle surgeon promptly:

  • The breast skin becomes very dark or black
  • New wounds develop on the breasts
  • Your breasts feel lumpy, hard and painful

You may require further surgery to remove and repair the damaged tissue.

Bruising and bleeding

Some bruising and bleeding are to be expected after any surgery including breast explant.

However, more severe bleeding can occur up to a few weeks after breast explant surgery.

Contact your surgeon as soon as possible if you have an incision that continuously bleeds, or if your breasts become very swollen, bruised and feel tight after breast implant removal. You may need another small surgery to stop the bleeding.