Breast Implant Life Span

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Virginia Breast Implants Life Expectancy

life expectancy of breast implantsWill my breast implants last forever? I heard they need to be replaced every 10 years. Is it safe to leave them in longer than that? What if I have problems? Will my breasts lose shape over time?

Many women considering breast implants are wondering these questions. Especially since the safety of silicone breast implants was questioned in years past. Some people worry that implants have a short life span. They worry that the breast implants will fail and need to be redone often. They worry that the chance of the breast implant breaking increases every year. When you hear someone reference a life span of 10-15 years, they are probably referring to the increased chance of failure. This does not, however, mean that there is cause for concern.

Most people do not need to be worried at all. Today’s breast implants are made with a very sturdy shell. All have a guarantee; if one breaks, the maker will give you a new one for free. While it is true that there is a greater chance of rupture over time, this risk alone does not mean that a breast implant must be replaced. In fact with saline breast implants, unless there are problems, they do not need to be replaced at all. There is no set amount of time after which you must have a breast implant exchange surgery. With silicone gel breast implants, it is best to accept that you will require a second surgery at some point. The current breast implant studies are trying to determine how long it will be before it is recommended to exchange them.

However, there are some exceptions to this:

  • If you had silicone implants inserted in the 80’s or early 90’s, those should be replaced. Don’t worry, they are not a danger to you. At that time, the implant shell that was used was thinner. This means it is more likely to fail and leak over time, so it is best to replace them.
  • If you are having any complications, you should speak with your plastic surgeon. Some complications do require the implants to be taken out.
  • Implant rupture or failure is the main one.
  • In rare cases, infection can mean the implant must be removed.
  • If the implant is leaking, it should be taken out. Saline leaks will be obvious – the implant will flatten. (The saline is harmless and will be absorbed by the body). Leaking silicone gel, unlike saline, can be difficult to detect. The best study is an MRI. If there is a concern, a MRI can be scheduled.

In the absence of these types of problems, some women elect to have a breast implant exchange surgery anyway. This may be because she wants implants of a different size, for example. This is optional, of course.

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