How Often Do You Have to Replace Breast Implants?

woman in a striped bikiniThere is a common misconception among women considering breast augmentation that breast implants must be replaced every 10 years, like clockwork. The truth is that breast implants do not come with an expiration date, and there is no definitive “shelf life” for them. Although breast implants are long lasting, they should not be considered to last a “lifetime” As with any man-made medical device, like joint replacements and pacemakers, eventually the breast implant will wear out and fail. This can be referred to as rupture, leaking, deflation, breaking, and simply worn out.

There are three main concerns about the failure of breast implants. First, how long they last; second, when they do wear out, can they cause you to become ill. Third, how will you know, or how can you find out if your implants are broken?

Information that we get from the breast implant companies tell us that after 10 years only about 25% of implants are worn out. I tell my patients that we should expect to see half of the implants to be broken by 20-30 years after placement. That being said half are doing fine. So, it is an urban myth that you need to replace them every ten years.

How will you know? It is different depending on whether you have saline or silicone gel implants. Saline implants deflate at the earliest time and it becomes noticeable within a week as the breast will get obviously smaller. So simply by a physical examination your surgeon should be able to tell you whether your implants are okay. Deflation of saline implants does not cause any illness but you will not like the way your breast looks and will most likely want it replaced promptly. Silicone gel implants do not deflate and the gel does not dissolve. Silicone gel implants made over the last 10-20 years are cohesive, meaning that the gel does not “ooze” through the tissues like they did in earlier generations of implants. Usually there is not any noticeable change in the breast so most women do not “know” that their gel implants have broken. We call this a silent rupture. MRI tests are the best to detect whether gel implants are broken. Fortunately, the mere presence of having a broken implant does not cause any illness. Whether or not there are any physical changes that occur upon rupture of gel implants, I generally recommend that broken gel implants are replaced or remove since they are no longer working the way they were intended.

In conclusion, if your breast implants are functioning properly, and you are happy with their look and feel, there is no reason to replace them as a matter of course, simply because a certain period of time has passed. If you have concerns you should see your Plastic Surgeon for the best advice but you do no need to be frightened

With any implant, there are a number of considerations to discuss with your surgeon. During your initial breast augmentation consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ronald Schuster, he will discuss and explain a variety of issues regarding breast implants, including:

  • Breast implant type, such as saline, silicone, or “gummy” bear”
  • Breast implant sizes
  • Breast Implant shapes
  • Breast implant textures
  • Breast implant projection
  • Breast implant scars
  • How breast implants are made
  • How breast implant may affect your body
  • How long breast implants will last

During your one-hour initial consultation with Dr. Schuster, he will discuss your specific goals and explain all of your treatment options. He will assess the condition of your breasts, review your medical history, and evaluate your candidacy for surgery.

If Dr. Schuster determines that you are a good breast augmentation candidate, he will help you select the type, size, and shape of breast implants that are best suited to create your desired results, as well as the appropriate incisions and breast implant placement method to achieve your goals.

In some cases, Dr. Schuster may recommend combining breast augmentation with a breast lift to optimize your results.

Contact Our Baltimore Plastic Surgeon Today

If you would like to learn more about breast augmentation, or other surgical breast procedures, contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ronald Schuster today online or at 410-902-9800 to schedule a consultation. We serve patients in Baltimore and the surrounding areas of Maryland. Virtual consultations are available for our out-of-town patients.



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Location Map: 10807 Falls Rd #101 Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093
10807 Falls Rd #101
Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093

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