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Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas has had her breast implants removed, a representative has confirmed.

Ballas, who has spoken openly about her family’s history with breast cancer, had surgery on Tuesday.

She made the decision in order to reduce her own risk of developing the disease, as implants can block the early signs of it being detected.

The BBC confirmed she is expected to appear on this Saturday’s show.

Speaking before the operation, and after her appearance at the Pride of Britain Awards on Monday night, the 59-year-old thanked her Instagram followers for all their “positive” and “beautiful” messages.

Last month, Ballas told The Sunday Times she suffered a cancer scare and learned there was a history of the disease in her family while shooting her episode of Who Do You Think You Are? in 2018.

“I’ve had a breast augmentation,” she said at the time. “It makes me step back and think when you go for these mammograms – ‘Can you see at the back? Is it clear what you can see?’

“It’s making me sit back and think – ‘shall I remove them? Would it be a good safety precaution for me?'”

She later told The Sun that she’d seen a new doctor and was scheduled to have for the operation this week.

“My doctor says I have recuperation of a week, but I want to do Strictly on the Saturday night,” she said.

“It’s not like I have to dance and do the cha cha cha or the samba. I spoke to the BBC and they have been very, very supportive. They said you have to do what you feel most comfortable for your health.”

‘Strictly won’t be a problem’

Caroline Parkinson, BBC health editor

Having implants removed is a relatively straightforward operation which is usually done as a day case, a leading surgeon said. The first issue is recovering from the general anaesthetic – which tends to take around 48 hours.

Michael Tyler, a consultant plastic surgeon at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, said there were two issues that could make the operation a little more complex. One is removing the “capsule” – a layer of scar tissue that forms around the implant.

Mr Tyler, who is also a spokesman for the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) added: “Usually that’s a fine layer, but if the capsule gets thick that can be 3-4mm. If you’re also having that removed, it makes it a bit more complex and needs a bit more time for recovery. I would be saying to patients ‘you need to live a more sedentary, quiet life for a couple of weeks”. There are also small risks of a build-up of blood or fluid around the surgery site.

The other factor that can make the procedure more complex is if surgeons have to cut through the pectoral muscle to get to the implants, which can lead to more discomfort for “at least a couple of weeks”.

Mr Tyler said it would probably be “inadvisable” for Ms Ballas to do any dancing so soon after her surgery, “but sitting down in a chair, making judgements and holding up the numbers wouldn’t be a problem. She’ll be able to do it.”

He estimated that 10 out of 100 would have their implants exchanged for new ones or removed over a decade. One reason women may choose to have implants taken out is to make mammograms to check for breast cancer easier: “You can get shadows, it can make it a bit more difficult.”

Ballas previously revealed she had a cancer scare following a routine check-up and urged other women, particularly those over the age for 50, to get themselves checked.

She replaced Len Goodman as head judge on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017.

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