Updated: Apr 25
If you're considering breast augmentation or getting your breast implants replaced, it's important to know about the CAPSULE before making a decision. The capsule is the scar tissue that your body creates to surround the breast implant to protect you from toxins and chemicals in the breast implants. When I had my breast implants replaced, I had no idea about the capsule.
When you get breast implants, you're making a decision that will change your life forever. While most women are happy with their implants, others eventually decide they want to have them replaced or even removed. If this is something you're considering, I want to share my experience of having my breast implants replaced and what happened to me when I found out the truth about breast augmentation.
I had no idea about the potential risks involved with implants or how my body would one day react to them. If I can help one woman, this post will be worth my time because honestly, I wish somebody warned me about what happens when you have them removed or replaced.
Why did I get breast implants?
I was in the modeling/ film industry and thought that having bigger breasts would make me feel more confident. My insecurity about my breast size started when I was a preteen on the swim team. All of my peers developed breasts faster than the average girl and I actually developed breasts slower than the average girl. I felt embarrassed by my size and asymmetry.
My first breast surgery
My initial breast implant surgery was in 2008. When I first got them, I loved them and really did feel sexier, so I understand why women want them. I didn't seem to have any problems with mine that I know of and I felt I had a good experience with my first surgery.
Before I started experiencing complications
Replacing my implants
I wanted to follow the standard breast implant protocol so thirteen years later, I had them replaced last October 2021 with the same plastic surgeon as my initial surgery in 2008.
Immediately when I got them replaced, I was in a lot of pain in my chest area. My doctor put a larger implant inside of me than what I originally had to try and correct some asymmetry even though I actually wanted to go smaller. I wanted the same size and not anything bigger. My plastic surgeon said they didn't make the size I originally had and he put larger implants in me which were way too big for my frame. I later found out breast implants come in any size you want or need. He basically gave me what he had in stock.
I developed a capsular contracture & more breast implant complications
The pain from the bigger implants never went away and I had to take pain medication every day to minimize discomfort in my chest. I had developed a capsular contracture where the scar tissue surrounding my large implants hardened causing pain in my chest.
I also immediately started noticing changes in my body as I was having a lot of migraine headaches, blurry vision, fatigue, brain fog, and joint pain, and overall just didn't feel like myself. I reached out to my healthcare provider as I was starting to get a bit worried about how my health was suddenly declining. At the time, I never linked my health issues to my recent augmentation procedure.
Breast Implant Illness
I started doing research on breast augmentation surgery as the pain from the larger implant became unbearable and I wanted to try and get smaller implants. However, I came across Facebook groups with thousands of women who were having the same health problems I was experiencing.
I discovered something called Breast Implant Illness (BII) which occurs in all brands of breast implants including both saline and silicone implants. Symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, rashes, hair loss, headaches, anxiety, depression and etc. I was shocked that I had never heard of this before and that there were so many women going through the same experience I was feeling.
There's still a lot that is unknown about BII, but women are experiencing these sicknesses and doctors could not find answers to their problems until they explanted and found the sicknesses went away. As I researched for several weeks and started scheduling consultations with explant surgeons, I learned about the capsule (scar tissue) and they discussed how to minimize the risk of further complications with the health problems I was experiencing. They recommended how to remove implants safely which is through an en bloc procedure to remove the entire capsule. I was ready to get my breast implants removed and begin the healing process.
The capsule (scar tissue) and what really happens when you remove breast implants
Your body naturally makes scar tissue around your implants to protect your body from foreign material that is contained in the implants. There are toxic chemicals and metals in implants. If you have ruptured implants, those chemicals pour into your body. If you have your implants replaced with new implants and the capsule is left in your body, all of the poison, toxins, and metals from the implant leak into your body known as a gel bleed.
Plastic surgeons cut open the capsule when replacing and removing implants
When you get them replaced, most plastic surgeons cut the capsule open to remove the old implant and insert the new implant leaving the old capsule in your body. Those toxins and chemicals from the capsule that was left behind, pour into your body leaving you very sick. For some women, it affects them over a course of several years whereas for others it affects them right away. I was in the latter.
In order for women to heal from breast implant illness, a board-certified plastic surgeon will need to safely remove the breast implants, through an en bloc procedure.
What is breast implant removal surgery and the en bloc procedure?
A normal breast implant removal surgery is when the plastic surgeon cuts the capsule open and just removes the breast implant with the capsule/ scar tissue left in your body.
An En bloc means that the surgeon removes the breast implant and capsule tissue in one piece. This is important because it helps to prevent contamination of the body by the saline or silicone material or other toxins as the implant removal does not happen until the capsule with the implant inside is safely out of your body.
I learned this is the safest breast implant removal procedure to remove the implant from the breast capsule as it will ensure all of the toxins are not exposed outside of the capsule and pour into your body. This is extremely important if your implant breaks or ruptures.
Since an en bloc capsulectomy is delicate and difficult, its operation requires specialized plastic surgery expertise.
My breast implant removal surgery and my breast tissue
I chose to have my breast implant removal surgery with Dr. Shaher Khan in Novi, MI. He had performed many breast explant surgeries and what attracted me to him was that he believed in BII and only did breast implant removal. He didn't do a breast lift and didn't use drains which I preferred. I didn't have breast reconstruction, with a breast lift or fat transfer. I just wanted my implants removed so I could heal in the safest and easiest way possible as I had come to terms that the natural breast tissue I had left would be enough for me. I had pictures of my breasts prior to my original plastic surgery and couldn't figure out why I had them done in the first place but I was so happy with my breast tissue and breast implant removal results.
Breast removal surgery is a major surgery and my procedure took close to three hours. The cost for breast implant removal by Dr. Khan was $10,400. I put it on my credit card as I was desperate to get my breast implants removed and I'm currently trying to get my insurance to cover it which has not yet been successful as it is considered a cosmetic procedure unfortunately even though breast implants have been linked to breast cancer diagnosis.
Image 1: With Dr. Khan Image 2: My capsule after my breast implant removal surgery
Recovery from my breast implant removal procedure
My recovery period for my breast implant removal surgery was about six weeks and wasn't bad at all. It was an outpatient procedure with twilight anesthesia versus general anesthesia. One of my surgeon's instructions was to only use T-rex arms with my elbows by my side and only use my forearm to lift light objects.
The night after my surgery I went to reach for my prescription bottle and I could read it without blurry vision. I literally couldn't believe my eyes. My migraines - I had one from the prescription medications two days after the explant but none since then. As far as having pain from working out, I had to wait at least six weeks to begin exercising. I just started but so far so good. I have more energy and don't feel lethargic as I had before and I still feel like I am healing from my removal surgery. The pain that I was feeling in my chest had gone away and was nothing like it was from the large existing implants I had in my body. I still feel more comfortable wearing my post surgery sports bra.
My toxic bags weighed almost two pounds so I didn't experience significant weight loss as other women in the Facebook groups did. I, unfortunately, gained eight pounds because I craved sugar really badly after explant surgery and I couldn't work out except for minimal walking. However, people thought I had actually lost weight because the implants must have made my body look bigger.
Healthcare professionals will say BII is extremely rare and doesn't exist. I beg to differ. For me, I would have saved a lot of money and avoided health problems if someone had warned me what was about to happen when I got my implants replaced.
According to the FDA, your breast implants are safer in your body because of the capsule than having the capsule cut open to replace them. Having mine removed was an easy decision because I wanted to heal from the pain and not deal with the pain. I feel so good about my body and my decision to explant.
If you are considering breast augmentation or scheduling a breast implant removal or replacement, do your research and do what you feel is best for your body.
Before and After Breast Implant Removal Surgery
Articles & Websites
Facebook groups to learn more about breast implant illness
Items to help with recovery with breast implant removal
Appropriate compression garments for implant removal
Follow-up care that helped me with my breast implant removal recovery
Medically Related Products for Implant Removal
Asea Renu 28 for breast implant removal scars
Affiliate Disclosure: I'm trying to help pay off my breast implant removal surgery so I joined the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This service does not cost you anything.