Last week Chrissy Teigen took to Instagram to reveal that she was to undergo surgery to have her breast implants removed. The 34-year-old model previously revealed she had implants put in at the age of 20, but that she had wanted them removed for ages. Her reason? “They’ve been great to me for many years but I’m just over it. I’d like to be able to zip a dress in my size, lay on my belly with pure comfort! No biggie!”
Chrissy is known for her (sometimes hilarious) honesty and is no stranger to getting candid about her body. Having battled with self-esteem issues, she’s become a body-positivity role model thanks to her Instagram posts showcasing unedited pictures of her stretch marks and post-baby body.
In a world of make-believe, Chrissy is refreshingly real. She previously told American broadcast and TV journalist, Meredith Vieira, “I have those apps, the Facetune and Photoshopping ones, and I just didn’t feel like doing it anymore—and I’m never doing it again, because I think we forgot what normal people look like now.” Read more about it here.
It comes as no surprise that fans have shown Chrissy major support following her announcement. After all, everyone should be comfortable in their body.
We couldn’t help being a little bit curious about the procedure, so we asked Dr Azzaam Najjaar, a plastic surgeon based in Cape Town, some questions.
Is the removal of breast implants a common procedure amongst women?
According to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there is a definite increase in the removal of breast implants, with a 6% rise in the number of removal procedures performed between 2017 and 2018. However, when these numbers are compared to the number of procedures performed in the year 2000, then there is a massive drop of 28%.
What are some of the reasons why a woman would want to have her implants removed?
The three main reasons for a request to have implants removed are either due to aesthetic discontent, functional difficulty (as in Chrissy’s case) or pathological concerns. Women opt to have their implants removed because of complications (seen mainly with the older generation implants), disappointment with how they have come to look or feel after some time, or a concern about the long-term health risks.
A request for removal is seen mainly in women that have undergone augmentations with the older generation implants that were used between the 1960s and 1980s. With these particular implants, complications such as implant rupture and hardening around the implants (capsular contracture) could occur.
Do breast implants need to be replaced from time to time, or can you keep them in forever?
The current generation of breast implants do not routinely need to be replaced. Replacement would only be considered where medically indicated, or upon a patient’s request for a different size.
The trend these days is for the requested replacement implant size to be of a smaller volume. This is mirrored by the general trend in breast augmentations over the past few years. There has been a move away from the very round, very prominent augment, toward an augment that is more in keeping with a natural shape which is more proportional and complimentary to a woman’s overall physique.
Are there any health risks associated with having implants removed?
The surgical routine would be the same as it was for the placement of implants. Breast implant removal surgery comes with risks that are associated with any type of invasive surgery. This includes bleeding (haematoma), fluid build-up (seroma), infection, wound healing issues, scarring and numbness. These will be managed by your surgeon in the exceptional event that they may arise.
Depending on where the implant had been placed (under the breast tissue or under the muscle), a particular technique will be employed by your surgeon to mitigate the potential of adverse effects. If removed, without replacement, the expected result of a deflated breast will be evident.
Chrissy mentioned she’d like to lie on her stomach with comfort. Are modern-day implants “comfortable”? There is a perception that implants make the breasts hard and do not feel natural.
Breast implant technology has been fiercely developed since its original debut by Cronin and Gerow in the 1960s. The gel of the current implant generation, closely resembles the consistency of breast tissue on touch. It goes without saying, however, that if the volume placed is awe-inspiring, this may impose an effect due to its colossal nature.
What advice would you give a woman who is considering getting breast implants for the first time?
Breast augmentation is a great way to enhance breast shape and volume. After undergoing a breast augmentation, many patients report a massive improvement in body image.
Your preference with regard to implant shape and size should be discussed with your surgeon. After a comprehensive evaluation, your surgeon will be able to assess if your request can be satisfied, and will advise you accordingly.
An estimated guide is that for every 125-150mls increase in volume (provided by the implant), the cup size goes up by one. For example, to go from cup size A to cup size B, you would choose a 125-150ml implant.
Dr Azzaam Najjaar
MBChB(UCT) FC Plast Surg(SA)
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Tokai, Cape Town