Explanting After Reconstruction

More and more women are explanting after reconstruction. Women explant their reconstruction after mastectomy due to a number of complications. These complications include pain or discomfort caused by capsular contracture, various infections, discovering symptoms of breast implant illness and the possibility that many symptoms they attributed to their cancer treatment, (i.e. chemotherapy, radiation, preventative hysterectomies causing surgical menopause in premenopausal women, as well as side effects from breast cancer related drugs) could actually be caused by their breast implants instead.  Some of these women have immediate reactions to their implants while others take longer to accumulate symptoms and some are suffering more severely than others.

Regardless, when women discover many of the negative effects of breast implants such as capsules and implants harbouring mold or bacteria that could be making them ill or the silicone implant could be decomposing and leaking or ruptured inside of their chest cavity contaminating them with silicone chemicals and heavy metals they move to explant their reconstruction.

While the possibility of going through yet another surgery or second mastectomy and contemplating the idea of further reconstruction without implants versus going flat, is definitely agonizing, and fear-producing for women who have already been through the trauma of breast cancer treatment and loosing their natural breasts completely, it is a place many come to when discovering and researching breast implant illness and the negative effects of having breast implants inside of their body.

Breast cancer and subsequent breast implant illness survivors repeatedly express they were not informed of the possible negative health affects of either saline or silicone breast implants, the multiple surgeries involved going forward with reconstruction, nor were they provided other essential information to enable proper informed consent before they decided to reconstruct with breast implants. Most express that had they been provided the long list of possible risks and other complications, they would never have chosen reconstruction for themselves. These women commonly feel they were too quickly steered toward breast implants, or another type of flap reconstruction (that also sometimes includes implants), and never provided the option to “go flat.” Many women who had expressed the desire to go flat often say they were dissuaded or discouraged from doing so. Another common theme is the pressure and rapid pace by which these reconstruction decisions are required to be made, in the middle of a life-altering diagnosis, without the time to carefully consider all options.

We realize these women need special resources such as a list of surgeons who are experienced in both explanting reconstruction after mastectomy and also at proper chest wall reconstruction, or aesthetic flat closure, if they choose to go flat.  This list is currently being compiled as more and more women from this population are explanting to FLAT.

Below are some resources we have to support women explanting  their breast implants placed following reconstruction for breast cancer related surgeries.

Facebook support groups for those considering or explanting to FLAT-i.e., no further reconstruction of breast mounds but still able to use breast forms or prosthesis if desired:

Fierce, Flat, Forward

For women considering further surgical reconstruction of breast mounds post-explant:

Breast Reconstruction

DIEP Flap Support Group

Website(s) listing flat friendly surgeons:

Not Putting On a Shirt

Please join our Facebook group of over 150,000 women for support through your healing journey.

We look forward to your comments, feedback and personal stories about your symptoms due to breast implants. Please see the comment form below. Thank you.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Cheryl

    I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction about at 26 and am turning 60 next month . I plan to have them removed but I’m nervous, i look disfigured without them. My breastbone is concave on one side. I would like any advice and experience with have this done and any alternative reconstruction options. I’ve already had doner muscle implanted and fat injections in order to have the saline implants i have now. They’ve been in since 2010 and i just experienced a TIA so explant is a definite

  2. Leisha

    I had a double mastectomy at 44 and now I’m 52 and suffer terribly with certain things … no one has any answers. I have high bp, inflammation, huge amount of weight gain.. I am starting to wander if I need them out. Yet I’m afraid of looking like a freak. 🙁

    1. Becky Richard

      Leisha, I explanted to flat at the end of 2020. I absolutely love being flat. Although it is an adjustment, it’s a beautiful, freeing feeling. For the first time since my diagnosis in 2017, I feel healthy! I am very happy. 🌈❤️

  3. Mandie Sabo

    I was diagnosed in 2014 at 35 years old and had a double mastectomy. I had reconstruction and everything looks really good after everything I’ve been through with chemo and radiation. In the last couple years I’ve developed joint pain and inflammation in my wrists knee joints and have had unnecessary knee procedures when it’s only the inflammatory process that’s happening there’s nothing wrong with my knee. It’s the synovial fluid and I have no idea why I keep developing it in my knees. Sometimes I feel like my elbows are breaking when I just try to work out. I’ve always had migraines ever since I had children with my hormones changed. They are few and far between. I am stuck because I am on tamoxifen for 10 years because my cancer was estrogen driven and the tamoxifen has a lot of similar side effects. I am happy to see your stories because I felt like I got bashed by other people that have no idea what it’s like to have their original breasts completely removed see yourself sunken in and flat and abnormal looking. You just want to feel like a woman again. I don’t want to keep them just for that but I’m scared what my mental state will be. I’m not debilitating in bed like someone say I feel like I can push through it but I recently got put on medication for my rheumatoid arthritis. Now that I’ve been diagnosed with that it makes me want to look into BII more

  4. Sherie Robson

    I’ve been wanting to be Ex implanted for a while now, and after researching more about the implants I’ve made a decision to move forward to doing this. I’ve been dealing with several issues that are a result of my silicone implants and didn’t realize it. I have felt tired even after sleeping at night, hair loss, itching in my chest, sometimes sharp pains in my chest, trouble losing weight, anxiety brain fog, eczema, etc…

  5. Lisa

    I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction about 17 years ago. The more I read the more I am contemplating have them removed. I would like to anyones experience with have this done.

  6. Susan dagleu

    Educational information needed

  7. Donna Guerrero

    Thank you ever so much. I’m 66 years old and I’ve been a widow for over 6 years, the second time I was diagnosed with cancer I was alone and technically I’m still alone.. so this site is a Blessing

  8. Cheryl

    Thank you so 💓 very much. Grateful for a spot to read learn and connect with women who are going through or who have gone through this terrifying situation of yet one more hurdle.

  9. Mary Harvey

    Greatly appreciate this information. WE DEFINITELY GOT THIS and appreciative of any help on this next journey in life.

  10. Nadine D’Ardenne

    Thank you for offering these resources.

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