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Virginia Plastic Surgeon Urges Women Considering Breast Implant Removal to Learn About Complete Capsulectomy & Prioritize Surgeon Experience

FAIRFAX, Va., May 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- While breast augmentation is still generally considered to be a safe procedure, certain health concerns are causing many women to wonder if they should have their breast implants removed.

Dr. Christopher Hess, a board certified plastic surgeon who has performed numerous breast implant removal procedures, supports women who want their implants removed but has noted a worrying trend that may negatively impact some patients. A growing number of patients are being told that en bloc capsulectomy—a procedure wherein the entire capsule of scar tissue encasing the breast implant is removed as one, intact piece with the implant sealed inside—is the only breast implant removal, or explantation, option they should consider.

"Implant removal requests are increasing as the FDA continues to explore the causes and prevalence of breast implant associated ALCL (BIA-ALCL), while other women are sharing their stories of breast implant illness," states Dr. Hess. "Many turn to social media and the internet to learn about their options. While some online information is helpful, it concerns me how many women are hearing that en bloc capsulectomy is necessary to remove all breast implant matter and relieve symptoms when, in many cases, a complete capsulectomy would meet their goals with less risk."

Dr. Hess says that while en bloc capsulectomy is appropriate in select cases, such as when a woman has a ruptured implant, the procedure is not a necessary or even practical option for most women who want to have their breast implants removed. He notes a number of potential drawbacks to en bloc capsulectomy, including the possibility that en bloc implant removal may not be possible if the capsule tissue is too thin or adheres too closely to the rib cage. Additionally, en bloc capsulectomy requires a relatively long incision and resulting scar.

Complete capsulectomy is a more appropriate breast implant removal option for most women, says Dr. Hess.  

En bloc capsulectomy is not the only breast implant removal procedure that completely removes the breast implant and surrounding capsule, according to Dr. Hess. He often recommends another technique, called complete capsulectomy, which does so in a less invasive procedure with a much shorter incision.

With a complete capsulectomy, the capsule is partially released from the surrounding breast tissue and then carefully opened to extract the implant. Once the implant is removed, the capsule is re-closed, the remainder is released from the breast tissue, and the capsule is removed from the body.

Dr. Hess stresses that complete capsulectomy is a safe and appropriate alternative for many women who are concerned about breast implant illness.

Choosing a plastic surgeon who is highly experienced in all explantation techniques is essential.

"While many surgeons who offer en bloc capsulectomy are well-qualified, choosing a plastic surgeon based solely on whether or not they perform a particular technique is unwise," states Dr. Hess. Instead, he urges patients thinking about having any plastic surgery procedure to properly vet any surgeons they are considering by confirming their plastic surgery board certification, reading real patient reviews, browsing their before and after gallery, and scheduling a consultation to ask further questions about experience with their desired procedure.

You can read Dr. Hess's full article online to learn more about en bloc capsulectomy and the pros and cons of this surgical technique.

About Dr. Christopher L. Hess: Based in Fairfax, Virginia, Dr. Hess is a board certified plastic surgeon, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of both the Medical Society of Virginia and Virginia Society of Plastic Surgeons. Known for his experience, patient-first care philosophy, and commitment to providing natural results safely, Dr. Hess helps patients from all over the country through expertly performed cosmetic procedures. Hess Plastic Surgery is located at 3930 Pender Drive, Suite 120, Fairfax, Virginia 22030; (703) 752-6608. For more information, visit

Media Contact:  Katie Shipp, Hess Plastic Surgery, (703) 752-6608.

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SOURCE Dr. Christopher Hess