Many patients that are interested in getting breast implants often wonder if, and when, they will need to be replaced. There is a common belief that breast implants, that provide breast augmentation, have a lifespan of around ten years. However, this is not always the case which means the public is not always aware of the correct information about the longevity of saline or silicone implants. Keep reading below to learn more about breast implants and to get a better idea of how long they last after being placed in the body.
There seems to be an idea that breast implants have a strict expiration date where they need to be removed and exchanged for a new set of saline breast implants or silicone breast implants. This is not true even when the current breast implants reach the ten year mark of being in the body. In general, breast implants last anywhere from 10-20 years in the body but the length of time they last varies from person to person.
While breast implants are long-lasting, they are not designed to be a permanent breast augmentation solution. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has made a number of recommendations about breast implants including how to watch for signs of any gel leaking outside of the shell or breast implant rupture. For example, the FDA has suggested that patients can benefit from having either a high-definition ultrasound or an MRI somewhere in the five to six year time period after the implants are placed in the body. Once that time period has passed, patients should have the MRI or high-definition ultrasound procedure every two or three years to monitor the condition of the implants.
After a patient detects any signs of an implant rupture after undergoing an imaging procedure, it is time to contact a plastic surgeon about any next steps including exchanging the breast implants for a new set.
A possible rupture of the breast implants is not the only reason for patients to consider getting a new set of breast implants placed in the body. There are some people who desire a different size or look to their breasts because they are not happy anymore with the current size of their breast augmentation results. They might want bigger or smaller breast implants but they should consult with their doctor to make sure their implants of choice have a natural look and fit the frame of their body.
There is currently no evidence that shows leaving older breast implants, that do not have any issues like leaking or ruptures, in the body will cause any sort of problems for a person with implants.
Every plastic surgeon will make recommendations or suggestions to patients regarding the best way to practice proper breast implant maintenance. The first thing to remember is choosing the best breast implants for the body size of the patient. The implants should be consistent with the width of the chest in order to avoid any issues or problems that might require the patient to have any type of surgery to address breast implant complications. If the implants are too wide for the body frame of the patient, this could lead to implant stretching or distortion that can result in the implant settling to the side of the chest.
Patients should also take steps to combat the effects of gravity and/or the aging process that can contribute to the distortion or stretching of tissues in the area of the breasts where the implants are located. Patients are often advised to wear an underwire bra while jogging or performing chest exercises to keep the breasts supported at all times while exercising.
As noted above, the lifespan of breast implants varies per person so there is no definitive way to determine whether or not a person will need to have their breast implants replaced at some point in the future. Some patients might need to have them replaced due to issues such as leakage while others might simply want to have them removed to enjoy the natural look of their breasts.
The main thing any patients worried about their breast implants should do is consult with their doctor. The surgeon can examine the current size, shape or condition of the breast implants in order to determine the next step in replacing the implants or simply leaving them as they are in the body. The doctor will discuss the changes desired by the patient and/or address any concerns about the current state of the implants. Once the doctor and the patient are in agreement about the reasons for any desired changes to the breast implants, the surgeon can create a medical plan to address the issues that are concerning the patient.