Dr Gavin Sandercoe

Breast Implant Removal - Explant in Sydney

Breast Implant Removal (Explant) in Sydney


Whilst the spotlight in plastic surgery is firmly on inserting breast implants, there are an increasing number of women that are requesting their implants to be removed by Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Gavin Sandercoe


Neck and shoulder pain, headaches and pain radiating down arms are all common physical symptoms that are reasons that women request their implants to be removed. These symptoms are common in women that have chosen implants that are too heavy for their bodies. Like all things in medicine, variations in our genetics determine what the maximum load that a woman can take on her neck, back & shoulders.

For some women like this, downsizing and tightening the skin (breast lift) can be an appropriate choice. Others wish for their implants to be removed, and assess what their breasts look like before committing to additional reshaping surgery. For the right patient, fat transfer to the breast can be an appropriate option for helping to reshape & volumise the breast.

There is also a group of women that have systemic disease that they believe is either due to, or compounded by, their breast implants. There are multiple websites on the Internet that encourage these women to consider removal of their implants (with the capsules) in the hope that their symptoms will improve. At the time of writing this page (April 2017), there is no medical evidence that breast implants are linked with any systemic disease. In fact, there have been several large studies that prove that silicone breast implants are not linked to systemic diseases.

Dr Gavin Sandercoe recognises that experienced explant surgeons are difficult to find, and is happy to provide an Sydney based international explant service performed by a Specialist Plastic Surgeon. but the operation is performed on the basis that all patients understand that there is no guarantee that their symptoms will be alleviated.

An elective breast implant removal (explant) is similar to the procedure that Specialist Plastic Surgeons in Sydney perform for breast implants with capsular contracture. Dr Gavin Sandercoe uses an inframammary fold incision to access the breast implant and capsule for the explantation procedure in Sydney. If you have had your breast implants inserted using this incision, the old incision can be re-used, but will likely need to be extended.


A plane is developed around the breast capsule, separating the breast implant and capsule from the surrounding tissues – breast gland, pectoralis muscles, ribs, subcutaneous fat. Experienced explant surgeons, like Dr Gavin Sandercoe from Sydney Australia, will be able to safely remove as much of the capsule as possible. If the implant capsule is stuck to the skin or firmly adherent to the muscle or ribs, there may be parts of the capsule that need to be left behind to ensure the safety of the tissues that we wish to remain.


Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon, Dr Gavin Sandercoe performs dozens of explant procedures each year, and has performed re-do explant surgery (where the original surgeon did not remove the breast implant capsule). A clinically normal (Baker Grade 1) breast implant capsule is resorbed by the body within a few months, and is almost never visible at the time of secondary explant surgery. Clinically abnormal capsules (Baker Grade 3 and 4) take a very long time to be resorbed, and may not be resorbed completely.


If your breast implants were placed underneath the muscle, Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Gavin Sandercoe will repair your pectoralis major muscle. This requires re-attaching the lower edge of the pectoralis muscle back to the 6th rib or lower edge of your breast base. This helps you re-gain your lost chest/pectoral strength, but the muscle is rarely as strong as it would be if not lifted in your original breast implant surgery. As far as Dr Gavin Sandercoe knows, he is one of the few surgeons in Australia that routinely repair the pectoralis major muscle as part of his explant surgery procedure in Sydney.


Breast explant surgery in Sydney requires a large area of dissection to completely remove the breast implant and capsule. This  requires the use of surgical drains to remove any fluid that would otherwise accumulate in that space. Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Gavin Sandercoe requires that drains reach less than 20ml/day for 2 consecutive days prior to removal – this gives patients the least chance of having seromas form. Most patients are able to have their drains removed within a few days, but they can stay for a week or so for patients that are unlucky.


At the end of your procedure, your operative sites are soaked in local anaesthetic to minimise the post operative discomfort, and you are provided with post operative pain relief prior to discharge from hospital.

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