While breast augmentation continues to be a very popular procedure in Canada, with over 20,000 patients opting to increase their breast size with implants, more women are also opting to have their implants removed.
Dr. Frank performs breast implant removal surgery at his Calgary practice.
Concern about lymphoma
When Health Canada announced a ban on a certain type of textured implant manufactured by Allergan, the Biocell implant, that’s when many women started to consider having their implants removed. This wasn’t necessarily only women who had these Biocell implants.
These Biocell textured implants have been linked to a very rare form of cancer: anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. In the announcement, Health Canada called the cancer “breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma” (BIA-ALCL).
The occurrences of this lymphoma are exceedingly low — of the 40 million women who have had implants only between 300 to 500 have been diagnosed with genuine cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma — but the news has brought implant removal to the forefront of the public consciousness.
It’s hard to get precise numbers from Canada, but we can use the United States as an example of this trend toward removing implants. In the U.S., 313,735 women had breast augmentation in 2018.
In contrast, in 2008, the ASPS reported that 20,967 women had their breast implants removed. A decade later, that number had risen to over 29,000. That is still a small number versus having implants placed, but it is growing.
In 2019, ASPS reported the number of removal procedures was now at 33,764. That was still dwarfed by the 299,715 U.S. women opting for augmentation, but it has now crossed the line of being over 10 percent.
What will my breasts look like after I remove my breast implants?
After implants are removed, your breasts will not look the same as before you had implants placed. The weight and size of the implants stretches the tissue and causes changes in the rib area.
The appearance of your breasts will depend to a large degree if you’ve had a breast lift when your implants are removed. A breast lift has the goal of returning the breasts to a higher position on the chest. It removes excess sagging skin and repositions tissue as needed. The nipple/areola complex is usually moved to a higher position, as well.
With a breast lift, your breasts will be smaller, but they will not be sagging and overly flattened. That can be the result if the implants are removed without a breast lift.