Boobie-Trapped (Part 2)

Amy Havens shares her experience with Breast Implants and Breast Implant Illness.

This is the second part of a two-part blog by Amy Havens on breast implants, Breast Implant Illness, explant surgery, advocacy for women's health, and Pilates and Yoga for Recovery. (Click HERE for Part 1).

Making the decision to remove breast implants is just one part of the equation when discussing healing from Breast Implant Illness (BII). Once removed, a person will have a detoxification process to go through as well as physical therapy and/or similar to regain strength, mobility, and function in their upper bodies post-surgery.

Having breast implants, for some people, has taken quite a toll on them, and removing them can feel like they’re getting a new lease on life. Healing takes time, patience, and grace. Not everyone heals at the same rate so it’s important to honor each day and each process as it’s truly unique for every individual. Having the support of family, friends, and your medical team is essential too. Emotionally, removing the breast implants can be quite intense.


Explant surgery, the removal of the device and the capsule around the implant is a critical decision for recovery and elimination of Breast Implant Illness. Choosing the best surgeon to perform your breast implant removal is non-negotiable. Not all plastic surgeons believe in BII, nor do all of them understand the delicacy of the illness. If you want to explant, make sure to look for a board-certified surgeon who understands how to remove the entire capsule, not just the implant itself. It takes a very skilled surgeon.

This process is called En Bloc or Total Capsulectomy. This means the surgeon leaves the capsule intact on the breast implant and dissects around the intact capsule and implant without cutting into or disrupting the capsule so as to prevent contamination to the patient of silicone and the contents inside the capsule. It’s not uncommon for the the pectoral muscles to have atrophied while a person had implants so surgery can be complicated.

Here is a link to a very in-depth write-up about treatment using Total Capsulectomy: Breast Implant Illness: Treatment Using Total Capsulectomy and Implant Removal

Make sure to have in writing and on your contract with your surgeon, the exact procedure of En Bloc and/or Total Capsulectomy. Here is a link to a complete list of surgeons who perform this procedure globally: Global List of Surgeons doing Explant Surgery

Pre-Surgery Preparation

It goes without saying that it’s wise to be prepared for any surgery, if possible. You can prepareyour body by nourishing yourself as well as you can, fueling with high-quality vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You’ll need to be hydrated so getting some extra hydration and electrolytes is highly recommended. Your surgeon may request that all supplements and vitamins that you currently take be stopped at least two weeks prior, but that will be discussed with them. Get good sleep, exercise, and stay strong knowing you will have downtime and a pause in your regular activity. Meditate and mentally prepare for this, journal, take warm baths to calm your nervous system. Do restorative Yoga or mindful movement to supplement your breath and calm. Visualize the healthier you that’s just on the other side of this procedure and beyond. Talk positively to yourself at all times.

For me, I did all of the above and tried my best to keep up with my Pilates practice. I had been experiencing so much discomfort in my body for years with the inflammation and with the capsular contracture, I really didn’t feel good working out. That said, I forged ahead, kept my regular teaching schedule, and filmed for Pilates Anytime just a few weeks before surgery - even though my body didn’t really feel good. Acceptance and strength is what I was channeling the entire way, knowing that soon I’d be on the road to a healthier me, the me I knew before getting implants.

For my exercise, I did a lot of sit-to-stand movements, lots of leg strengthening, balance work, abdominal work, and as much upper body loading as I could knowing I was not going to be able to move and work with my upper body for awhile. Being able to get in and out of seats, the bed, etc., without using my arms was going to be a very real thing, soon, so I worked out with this in mind.

Emotional Rollercoaster

When a person is choosing to remove their implants, they are often faced with many emotions around what they will look like once they no longer have the volume and shape. For small breasted women, having implants may have given them a boost of confidence that they hadn’t had before, so letting of the aesthetic may bring up a flurry of emotions. Many go through deep sadness as if a part of their identity is going away. This is another part of the boobie trap.

Facing surgery means big changes, discomfort, time for healing and acceptance of the new, saying goodbye to BII illness and working towards recovery which can take years. Not all people want to explant and enjoy the look of their breasts with implants, but choose to explant to rid themselves of the illness, toxicity and/or painful capsular contracture. It’s a very personal choice for everyone.

I cried daily for weeks before my surgery. My anxiety was elevated and I was having difficulty sleeping, was very restless. I had done my research, but still the uncertainty about what was on the other side was so unknown. I put trust in myself and others and I knew I was doing the right thing for myself. But it was still extremely emotionally challenging.

For those that explant, many do experience relief of symptoms as quickly as the same day and certainly in the months and years ahead. Not everyone experiences relief immediately. There is a significant detoxification process needed once the implants are out to rid the body of the toxicity and start rebuilding the immune system. This can take years, but it’s possible with the help of a knowledgeable functional medicine doctor. Be patient, diligent and kind to yourself if this is the direction you’re headed. That’s my biggest advice.


Rather than go into full details of what goes into true detoxification processes, which are lengthy and very individual, I will reserve that conversation for another time and for you to have with your medical advisor. I do know, however, that detoxifying the body from silicone or saline implants is a very important step in healing and recovery. It will take time, diligence, lifestyle changes, food and diet shifts (most likely to heal gut issues), hormone balancing, and getting proper minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Much goes into supporting our damaged endocrine and immune systems. Getting enough daily sunlight, exercise, quality sleep, laughter, and restoration is the magic for anyone, for anything and time. Grace and support from those around you is critical too.


The initial ten days to two weeks will be the most difficult due to the discomfort, pain, lack of good sleep, possible reactions to anesthesia, and general malaise that surgery produces. Showering is usually not possible for the first 3-5 days so plan on getting help with many activities of daily living. Hydrate, drink bone broth, and other nourishing soups. Many people don’t have an appetite, but it is still extremely important to get nourishment. Once cleared to take your supplements again, get back on track as quickly as you can so your body can begin rebuilding and finding balance.

Depending on the type of surgery you had (just explant, or additional procedures that I have not even begun to discuss), you will most likely be tightly wrapped in gauze while the tissue is adjusting and adhering to itself now that the implant is out and off of your chest wall. The space needs to close up. You may have surgical drains to contend with. Take gentle walks to keep your lymph and blood flow healthy and circulation pumping. You’ll most likely be restless. Breathe, meditate, get help from family and friends. Be patient and remember that this too will pass. Follow the suggestions from your surgeon, but also lean into your own intuition, always and with anything. Ask questions if you have them. Don’t do too much on your own.

Listen to your own intuition, always and with anything.

Post-Surgery Movement and Exercise

I was advised no lifting anything heavier than 1-2 lbs for several weeks and no pushing or pulling for 4-6 weeks or weight bearing for at least that amount of time too;. Tell that to any movement lover/teacher/enthusiast and you’re going to see someone get a little antsy!!! But I did my best to follow protocol. I didn’t want to injure myself or do anything that would negatively impact the surgery sites or my fully healthy recovery. Living alone, the tasks were intricately and cautiously performed. I took 3 1/2 weeks off teaching. I practiced very slowly getting to the floor and up without using my arms - things I’d practiced and prepared for for many months. I also relied heavily on my Yoga bolster and blankets for restorative poses to help me breathe better and support my posture out of gravity and help me loosen fascial restrictions with breath. Legs up the wall felt amazing to help lymph and fluid movement. My restorative Yoga practice allowed me to unwind, visualize, and accompany my healing in the most gentle of ways all while preparing me for when I could resume my Pilates practice. Patience was my daily mantra.

Go Easy With Yourself

While sitting on the sofa, I made sure to have small balls near me so I could keep my feet tended to. I would stand at the kitchen counter and do gentle ‘barre’ like moves, lots of sit-to-stand reps, gentle walks, and of course, lots of diaphragmatic breathing.

This is what felt the best!! When ready, very simple range of motion arm arc’s, reaches to the side and above my head. Movement patterns felt welcome and safe. What a relief!

Because of the capsular contracture that I endured, my right arm/shoulder/neck/pec had gotten pretty out of balance. With the scar tissue capsule and implant gone, I could finally move with freedom. It’s hard to explain the feeling, but until the implant was out, I had no idea how limited my movement had become on that side (left also though) and how shallow my breathing was most of the time. The first thing I did while coming out of anesthesia was I paused and made myself take a deep, deep breath! It was unlike anything I could imagine — free, full, and lengthy! The inner constriction that the implant and scar capsule created was so invasive. With it gone, I was excited to get back to my Pilates practice - in due time. My entire body felt released from being trapped.

My First Post-Surgery Apparatus Choices

I have a teachers class on Zoom, Tuesdays at 8 am PDT. They are such a fabulous group of women, who all knew what I was going through and we were so patient during this time. When it was time for me to try moving again, I let them know our class was going to start back up and that we’d be working with our Spine Correctors and have a strap as our prop. This was the only apparatus I felt safe using in my initial phase of movement recovery. My spine had gotten even stiffer during all those weeks of no movement and the barrel just spoke to me. I knew it would be the best partner.

Arms over head with a strap felt exactly like what I needed to move the upper body tissue gently, with clear intentional breath and easy movements. By using the Spine Corrector, it reconnected me to my center muscles and mechanics which translated into safe daily function. Going over the arc allowed my chest to open, softly and with ease. I was feeling strong again and excited. I could also tell if I was overusing my pectoral area pretty easily when I could have been resourcing my lats. What a great teaching tool! I couldn’t wait to get on the Reformer, which happened around week 5 and I did my first front support on the floor and Long Stretch at week 6. It’s going to be a while to get all my strength back, but I’m ready to return to life, as Joe would say.

To any movement teacher who has clients that are considering explant or have had the surgery, keep encouraging them to move gently and regularly. For all the practitioners reading who are resonating with this, please research BII. If you feel unwell, it could be coming from silicone toxicity from implants and the interruption to your immune and endocrine system. It’s a real illness. I’m happy to help answer questions if you have any. I’ve learned a lot in the past few years about this and want to help.

To any movement teacher considering breast implant removal to eliminate Breast Implant Illness or capsular contracture, I encourage you too. It’s not worth it to stay sick or trapped inside and having your body fight itself. The aesthetic is just that - an aesthetic. We’re more that the size of our breasts. Our bodies are our temples and vessels of divine wisdom. They deserve to express themselves in our lifetimes with as much ease and light as possible. BII tried to dampen my light, and it certainly paused certain aspects of my movement practice, but now that I no longer have silicone breast implants and their toxicity running through my body, I can only imagine where my movement practice is going to take me, one breath at a time. Remember what Joe said: "Rome wasn’t built in a day."

Amy Havens
About the Author

Amy Havens

Amy Havens is a nationally and internationally known teacher and presenter who has been inspiring others in their Pilates practice for over twenty-five years. A compassionate, creative teacher and mentor, her dedication to knowledge, science, and intuition informs a teaching style that emphasizes functional anatomy and science and incorporates cutting-edge research into traditional movement protocols.


2 people like this.
Thank you, Amy, for sharing your story and journey!  Wishing you continued blessings and strength as you continue to heal. 
Lynzi D
Thank you for using your platform to bring awareness to BII. Having lived with it for 2 1/2 years, I can relate to your story on so many levels. Through my small pilates practice, I have shared my story with many women living with BII. Your decision to share your story here will help someone find their freedom too. 
Thank you Amy! I hope you are healing well. Blessings to you, 
Thank you Amy! I just had explant surgery on March 4th! How ironic to see this! 
Ingrid H
1 person likes this.
Thank you for sharing your story and all the information about Breast Implant Illness. I am glad you are on your way to recovery. 
I'm so glad to hear that you are recovering well from this surgery. Hugs and kisses from Denver.
Oh DEAR Amy, I am so proud of you!  Here’s to complete healing and full return of all your beautiful energy and glorious movement.  Sending much love from Santa Fe!  Annie Campbell
Dear Amy, I so admire not only your courage for sharing your journey, but also the depth and breadth of the coverage you gave it. Your blog was very timely for me personally. I read your blog last weekend, and immediately sent it to my sister, who has breast cancer and needed to decide this week what kind of reconstruction surgery (if any) she wanted to have. Every woman thinking of getting breast implants should read your story.  Kudos to you!!
Tara S
thank you for sharing your journey.  I had no idea about any of this.  I do have some clients with implants and this will add to my knowledge about potentialities.  AND wish you the fullest an bestest healing - blessings be
Dear Amy,  thank you for sharing all you’ve been through.  My heart goes out to you for opening up and giving us a window in to your personal experience .  I also had no idea this was a problem.  Thank you for such a thorough explanation.  Sending hugs and healing energy.
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