Breast implants are not lifetime devices and complications are common. Based on studies conducted by implant companies, the FDA concluded that as many as 20% of augmentation patients will have to have their implants removed within 8-10 years.1 Since many women dropped out of the original safety and efficacy studies (read more here), the proportion of women needing additional surgery is likely much higher. Revision or removal surgeries often cost as much as the initial surgery, if not more. Revision surgeries might involve replacing implants or correcting the visual appearance of breast implants. If problems with your breast implants are bad enough or can’t be fixed, it may be necessary to permanently remove the implants.
In 2017, the average surgeon’s fee for removal of breast implants was $2,357, but that does not include the additional costs of surgery such as anesthesia.2 Our review of various plastic surgery websites revealed that the total average cost for breast implant removal is between $5,000-$8,000. The cost of removal varies by surgeon, geographic region, and the complexity of the procedure. If you choose to replace your implants, you can expect to pay an additional $2,500-$3,500.
Some women choose to instead have a breast lift, either following a permanent removal of implants or in addition to replacement implants. A breast lift typically costs another $5,000. A breast lift without replacement implants is a good option for women who want to avoid future surgeries or complications from implants. A breast lift is a one-time expense, but the replacement implants are likely to need to be replaced in later years.
There are many reasons women will need to have additional surgery to remove or revise their breast implants. Implant companies admit that breast implants will not last a lifetime, even if your surgeon told you that they would. Rupture, capsular contracture, and cosmetic corrections are some of the most common reasons women need to have additional surgeries. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, the costs of removing your breast implants may be much higher. Removal of breast implants can be very expensive, especially if they are leaking silicone gel.
If you are looking to have your breast implants removed, it is recommended that you look for a surgeon who is experienced in en bloc removal, especially if you have leaking silicone gel filled breast implants. An en bloc removal is when the surgeon removes the scar tissue (or capsule) and implant at the same time, with the implant still inside the intact scar tissue capsule. En bloc removal prevents silicone, other chemicals, and bacteria from leaking into the woman’s body during surgery. En bloc removal prices vary by surgeon, geographic region, and the complexity of the procedure, but average around $8,000. If you decide you want to have your implants removed, you can learn more about finding a plastic surgeon here.
Some insurance companies do not cover the costs of removal if your implants were placed for cosmetic reasons. Insurance plans that do cover removal require that patients prove that explant surgery is “medically necessary.” Symptoms that are considered medically necessary reasons for breast implant removal vary by plan but typically include rupture, capsular contracture (Baker level III or IV), infection, and chronic pain. You will also need a doctor to advocate for you and communicate to your insurance company that removal is medically necessary. You can read more about trying to get insurance coverage for your breast implant removal here or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All articles are reviewed and approved by Diana Zuckerman, PhD, and other senior staff.
- Food and Drug Administration. (2018). Risks of Breast Implants. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/implantsandprosthetics/breastimplants/ucm064106.htm. ▲
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (2017). Breast Augmentation Cost. Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/breast-augmentation/cost. ▲