Many patients opt for breast augmentation with implants to enhance their self confidence and achieve their desired body shape. However, breast implants are not meant to last forever, and monitoring the condition of the implants is important. In this post, we will discuss the expected lifespan of breast implants, the types of maintenance required for different implants and when revisions may be necessary.
The type of implant impacts the maintenance required. Saline implants are filled with sterile saltwater and require less maintenance. If they rupture, the saline can be harmlessly absorbed into the body. However, deflation of the breast is often noticeable. If you suspect that your saline breast implant has ruptured or notice any significant changes in your breast appearance or feel, schedule an appointment with Dr. Tepper. He will examine the condition of the implant and determine if surgery is necessary to replace the implant.
Silicone gel implants, filled with a gummy-like gel, are more important to monitor. Unlike saline implants, silicone gel implants can be “silent,” meaning the visible changes to the breast after a potential rupture are more subtle. The ruptured silicone cannot be absorbed into your body, and may pose a health risk to the patient if not addressed properly. The FDA recommends that patients with silicone implants undergo an MRI or ultrasound after 5 years and then every 2-3 years after.
Regardless of which implant you choose, it is important to understand that implants are not designed to last forever. There is no hard and fast expiration date for implants and it is easier to replace implants before they rupture, rather than after. If a capsular contracture occurs, the tissue pocket surrounding the implant hardens and shrinks, making it more difficult to replace the implant. Proactive replacement is easier for patients than damage control. Some patients will choose to have implants replaced to reflect their evolving breast goals. For example, some patients choose to decrease the size of their breast implants as they get older while others who started with smaller implants may want to increase breast size or add a breast lift, as the breasts can change with pregnancies or after nursing.
Overall, for the vast majority of women, breast implant maintenance is relatively low and the satisfaction rate is very high. If you are interested in learning more about breast augmentation, set-up a consultation with Dr. Tepper today!