The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a surprising trend in demand for cosmetic surgery. Possibly tied to a cultural shift, plastic surgeons have witnessed a change in women’s perceptions and requests surrounding breast implants. The reasons behind this trend vary, but it’s clear that the pandemic has given people the opportunity and time to make decisions and undergo surgery.
More disposable income and greater motivation for self-improvement could be some of the primary factors. With a “more is less” mentality, women opt to remove their breast implants or replace them with smaller ones in an “explant” procedure. This is a new trend that plastic surgeons across the country have observed as cultural preferences shift toward natural appearances and comfortability.
Popularity of Explants
Breast explanations are routine for plastic surgeons but are requested now more than ever. According to the FDA’s recommendations, this procedure should occur every 10-15 years to replace the implants. Now, however, most women choose to downsize or simply remove implants altogether when they opt for explant surgery.
This phenomenon has increased in popularity over the past few years, and the demand for plastic surgery, including breast implant and explant procedures, spiked during the pandemic. Surgeons have found that it is an optimal time for elective surgery as social activities and work-life demands have decreased.
For many women, the pain or safety concerns surrounding the implants influenced their decision. Back pain, implant recalls, and preference changes are a few reasons cited for explant surgery. Everyone responds differently to the procedure but some have faced unexpected side effects.
Others view it more as a mental health procedure. Whether the motivation was internal or external, the pressure of breast size expectations has lowered significantly in recent years. Confidence and self-improvement are now a big reason for removing implants.
Most significantly, women who chose to have implants at a younger age experience a reevaluation of their breast augmentation. Many wish to remove or change their implants to better suit their age and appearance goals, especially after marriage or childbirth.
With plenty of time to recover and isolate, the pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity for patients to undergo surgery. It has also given people plenty of time to reflect on self-care and improvement. Time allotted from the pandemic restrictions and work-from-home trends give patients plenty of freedom to undergo and recover from the surgery if they choose to have one.
As far as safety risks, this procedure is routine for surgeons and presents only a limited risk for COVID-19. With safety precautions, the surgery takes place in a controlled, sanitary environment and prioritizes the patient’s safety.
Breast explant procedures are elective, and the goal is for the patient to have a positive experience regardless of whether the implants are being added, changed, or removed.
Professionals like Dr. Jeremy White emphasize the need for those interested in implant or explant surgery to “take this time to consider all options and outcomes.”
Some may experience a bit of post-surgical pain or unwanted attention, while others may be immediately delighted with their choice. Explants allow women to revisit their decisions and make the choice that is right for them.
While most people have spent the past year at home, this plastic surgery trend is likely to continue as more women gain confidence and their desire to have large implants decreases.