Do breast implants need to be replaced every 10 years?
That’s one question Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Paul Wigoda frequently hears from his breast augmentation patients.
“That’s a common myth about breast implants that I hear all the time from patients, but it’s not true,” said Dr. Wigoda in one of his plastic surgery Facebook Live Q&A sessions. “Breast implants do not have to be changed every 10 years.”
Dr. Wigoda goes on to say that he has had patients who had waited for a very long time to get implants, because they don’t want to replace them just a few years down the road and don’t want to undergo surgery regularly. Other patients come back after 10 years because they think they need to get them replaced. In actuality, this is just one of the many myths about breast implants.
So, do breast implants ever need to be replaced?
Yes. There are times when breast implants need to be replaced, just not on a regular basis.
Implants don’t need to be changed or removed unless there is a problem or the patient wants to make a change with elective surgery such as wanting to go bigger (or less commonly, smaller), or wanting a lift and deciding to change them even though they are intact.
“If implants rupture or deflate you would replace them. As long as they’re not ruptured, hard, or have capsular contracture and you don’t want a breast lift, they don’t need to be replaced,” said Dr. Wigoda. “Even if they’ve been in for 10 to 15 years you do not have to change them. Implants may not need to be changed for 20, 30, or even 40 years.”
Breast augmentation procedures are much different than they were 20 years ago. The shells are much stronger and it’s very likely silicone implants will last 20 to 30 years. Only one out 20 women will have a ruptured implant after 10 years and we have yet to receive data for ruptured rates at longer time periods.
How do I know when my breast implants need to be changed?
With saline breast implants, you will know one ruptured because it deflates pretty quickly. It may take a week or two but you will definitely know because of the physical difference. The saline solution can be absorbed by your body without posing any health risks, but you will want to either remove both shells or replace the damaged one to get back to a symmetrical appearance.
Silicone breast implant ruptures may not be noticeable. In fact, you may not know about it all but it’s not dangerous and the silicone typically remains trapped within the implant shell. If it does escape, the silicone does not spread to your breast tissue or body and you will not get sick. If you are in an accident, your plastic surgeon may suggest you get an MRI, just so you know what you’re dealing with.
So don’t hesitate if you really want breast implants because you think you will need plastic surgery every 10 years. While ruptured breast implants may impact how long your implants last, they are
not highly likely and shouldn’t keep you from a plastic surgery procedure that can increase your confidence and self-esteem.