10 Reasons You Might Remove Your Breast Implants

Written By: Amanda Savage Brown, Ph.D., LCSW

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.

———

Amanda Savage Brown, PhD, LCSW, is a self-acceptance counselor & coach. She uses the research-backed approaches from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help women reclaim their wellbeing from adverse childhood experiences, other trauma, grief, loss, and people-pleasing through mindful self-acceptance and values-guided change. 

She explanted in 2018, recovered from breast implant illness, and now specializes in helping women find their way before, during, and after breast implant removal.

She is the author of Busting Free, the forthcoming self-help book for women whose life journey includes breast implants.

Learn more at amandasavagebrown.com and follow her on FB and IG @dr.amandasavagebrown

Disclaimer: All information shared in these blog posts is educational and should not be used as a substitute for therapy or taken as therapeutic guidance.

© 2022 Amanda Savage Brown

10 Comments

  1. I have been relatively lucky. I’ve gone decades with the same implants, although I’ve wanted them out for over a decade; they just don’t fit me. I have textured implants, I have swelling and pain in the left side, the first PS I went to wouldn’t touch me without further testing for BIA-ALCL. I’d heard of it, I didn’t know what the symptoms of it was. Scared the crap right out of me! Explant with lift, 1 week from today.

    Reply
    • Hi Leslie, Thanks for sharing your experience; it reinforces that we choose to remove for many reasons and that we might take several years to follow through. That’s why I see this as a rather long journey, and one that doesn’t end at explant. I can only imagine how scared you felt after the first consult and am glad that part is behind you. Keep me posted about how you do moving forward.
      Warmly, Amanda

      Reply
  2. I really enjoy reading the flowing style of your articles. This one is excellent! I certainly wasn’t aware about the pushback in 2005 when the link between brain injury and football was ridiculed, however, having dates a man who played football in grammar, middle school, h.s. and college, he has experienced issues with processing information, loss of memory and misplacing or losing important things like his wallet, keys, ID, credit card, checks, etc. So thank you for making a comparison between the two— that is, the ridicule of new scientific discoveries about the harm’s that occur to our bodies as the result of something else, and that “something else” sadly, being a highly-protected commodity.

    My reason for explanting was “ongoing and worsening systemic health issues related to
    breast implant illness.”

    The road to recovery has not been easy. Breast implants have caused permanent damage to my body’s systems and
    functions. Although I was otherwise healthy five years ago, the quick decline in my health began the moment I opted to get reconstructive surgery after mastectomy. If this article prevents women from choosing breast implants, it will have been worth it.

    Reply
    • Melissa, Thank you for taking time to reflect and share. Bot hare so helpful and meaningful. (And, thank you for the feedback on my articles!) I’m glad to know you through this journey, and, as we’ve discussed, I keep you and yours in my thoughts always.
      Warmly
      Amanda

      Reply
  3. Thank you for your support of women and the thoughtful way you gently support us all suffering needlessly for our past bad decision. My doctor asked me at my follow up appointment,” But didn’t you love them while they lasted?” And I had to stop and remember because the past 23 years of pain just couldn’t let me justify the selfish reasons I had them in the first place. I was young and thought all that mattered was if I fit the broken idea of what a REAL woman was supposed to look like according to magazines and movies take on women. I wish I had all the money I sunk into that original procedure to travel or donate to the homeless moms. Hindsight needs to be shared with our daughters growing up in the broken world. Remember God makes NO mistakes. Post explant 3 weeks and counting for a real hug. Be kind to yourselves princesses to THE KING.

    Reply
    • Martha,
      Thank you for sharing on that moment where you had to remember your full experience. Many women do enjoy their breast implants, some for many years, and it’s so important to acknowledge and honor that part of this journey as well. It IS so complex and being open and real about the entire journey is incredibly helpful to our healing. Thanks for sharing. Your comment is important to me.
      Warmly,
      Amanda

      Reply
  4. So grateful !
    Thanks for sharing your own story, and being vulnerable .Your story is going to be an inspiration about how to have a healthy relationship with my breast after the explant(
    (Do not have a date yet).
    In my mind I started to have negative emotions even weeks before the surgery!
    BUT after I read your testimony ,It gave me a new understanding about how our breasts will need some TLC from us.
    Cultivating a new awareness. : ,which is the danger of letting someone ‘s words affect us.
    Merci 💗
    Thanks for the wisdom and kindness for so many of us.
    I find comfort in the support that you give us.

    Reply
    • Manon,
      Merci to you as well for this lovely reflection. It is incredibly meaningful to me. These journeys are so much more complex than what we see on the outside. It’s my honor to help with the inner experiences, before, during, and LONG after we explant. Here for you and yours.
      Warmly,
      Amanda

      Reply
  5. How do you know if systemic health issues are related to BII? I have had the same silicone implant since I was 40 yrs old in 1986. Now, at 75, I was recently dx with PBC, a degenerative autoimmune liver disease.

    Reply
    • Hello Marti,
      That is such a great question. I always recommend visiting breastimplantillness.com to learn more about symptoms and testing. As you will see, it’s very complex, varies from person to person, and there is no definitive biomarker at this time. It’s considered a diagnosis of exclusion. However, as you will see on that site, better, newer, higher quality studies are consistently showing a link between breast implants and autoimmune reactions. My blog on BII-related self-doubt gets into this issue in more detail. Let me know if you get a chance to read it and if you have any more questions. Here for you!
      Warmly,
      Amanda

      Reply

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