There are many reasons you might remove your breast implants.
I talk to women with breast implants about how their implants impact their lives physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and financially. They tell me about receiving unwanted, embarrassing and uncomfortable attention from others, feeling guilty while at church, feeling fraudulent in their profession, being dishonest with their daughters, or just longing to hug someone without rolling their shoulders forward to avoid smashing their implants against the other person.
The list is endless.
Breast implants are simply not problem-free devices. Around half of women with breast implants develop local problems within the first year. And moving past that first year without problems doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. In fact, the risk for developing problems increases the longer breast implants are in your body, especially for silicone-filled implants (which were placed in 85% of non-reconstruction augmentation patients in 2019). Most reports on breast implants focus on problems localized to the implant, like capsular contraction, pain, rippling, and rupture. It’s unknown how many women suffer with more systemic issues from their implants, like breast implant illness, or lifestyle impacts like those mentioned above. I’m willing to bet, it’s not an insignificant number.
Women with breast implants have complained of problems related to them for decades.
In 1990, Connie Chung hosted a “Face to Face” investigation of problematic breast implants. In 1995, Orpah Winfrey aired a show featuring women suffering from systemic illnesses related to their breast implants. But the pushback against acknowledging breast implant safety issues mirror those seen in 2005 with the first reports linking football with brain disease. Prior to inspiring scientific research, that finding was ignored and then attacked. The same thing is playing out with the link between breast implants and women’s health, only it’s taking much longer to move past the denial and anger stage.
In the interim, women whose lives are adversely impacted by breast implants connect with one another across the planet. They amplify awareness around problematic breast implants, often with photographic proof that cannot be denied. Celebrities, influencers, and hundreds of thousands of women in online support groups, openly discuss their decision to explant.
Here are 10 reasons you might eventually want, or urgently need, to remove your breast implants:
- Increasing discomfort from local issues in your breasts like pain, immobility, unnatural shape, rippling, or an unnaturally cold temperature of your implanted breasts.
- Ongoing and worsening systemic health issues related to breast implant illness.
- Becoming weary of other implant-derived issues impacting your body like neck or spine pain, exercise-limitations, or simply not being able to lay on your stomach or feel your partner or child resting atop your heart.
- Costs of correcting problems or exchanging your implants every decade.
- Difficulties with breast cancer screening.
- Implant rupture.
- Receiving notice that your implant has been recalled.
- Changes in you, your life, or roles leading you to no longer want breast implants (e.g., career or a move toward natural, organic living, or body acceptance).
- Concern about the message you’re sending to your maturing children about women’s bodies.
- Desire to avoid elective surgery risks as you age.
Removing breast implants threatens your beliefs about women, breasts and belonging.
As a result, even thinking about explant can be uncomfortable. But if you have breast implants, they will eventually have to be replaced or removed. (To understand why, check out my other blog post comparing breast implants to tires). And you deserve your change catalyst to be more than a ruptured implant or a beleaguered battle with breast implant illness. You deserve to be in the driver’s seat, where you choose what to do with your body, and your aging and problematic breast implants, based on what matters most to you, despite what society tells you about how your breasts should appear.
You can do things now even if you’re nowhere near ready to decide.
- Question why you got breast implants, and how you learned your breasts were something that needed to be fixed. (My blog post on your beliefs about breasts helps with this.)
- Examine your breast-related self-concept. Acknowledge if removing your breast implants feels threatening to you in any way.
- Learn to steady and ready yourself now using your “inner BRAKE”, a science-based inner skill featured in my free e-book, so you can move intentionally through the inevitable decision of replacing or removing them.
- Find your way to true self-acceptance, no matter how your breasts and body change over time, by joining my free Facebook group Breast Implant Through Explant Inner Companions.