Life Expectancy of Breast Implants

shutterstock_278020784The life expectancy of breast implants is an oft-discussed topic during breast augmentation consultations with Dr. Nirav Savalia. Women that make the time and financial commitment of surgery want to know how long they can reasonably expect to enjoy their results. Dr. Savalia thought this would make an excellent topic for a blog post; he addresses the answer here.

Breast Implants Don’t Expire

Breast implants are not manufactured with an expiration date. There is no time limit when breast implants need to be exchanged, as long as the implant has not ruptured, deflated or “failed” due to another complication. The only reason you would ever need to remove or replace your breast implants is if a complication occurs or you wish to exchange them for a different size or type.

How will you know if your implants develop a complication? You will know almost immediately if your saline implants rupture or leak, because the breasts will flatten. On the other hand, silicone implant ruptures are usually “silent,” meaning they can only be detected through a mammogram, MRI or similar test. If you have silicone implants, you are required to have them checked regularly for any problems.

Although breast implants could theoretically last a lifetime without complication, it is rare for a woman to keep her original implants longer than 10 to 15 years. By this point, most women experience a change in their body or life circumstances and desire a different pair of implants. Some want to upgrade from saline implants to silicone gel. Others want bigger or smaller implants. Many experience changes in natural breast tissue after pregnancy and breastfeeding, and want a breast lift and a new pair of smaller implants.

Breast Implant Revision Surgery

A number of patients have noted that the surgery to replace breast implants — often referred to as “implant revision” — is actually less painful than the original surgery, because the skin and tissue are not stretched to accommodate the implants. As long as the new implants are equivalent in size, the surgery is usually straightforward because the space is already there. Replacing original implants with a bigger pair requires stretching out the pocket that holds the implants, and replacing implants with a smaller pair requires tightening this pocket. Most plastic surgeons no longer use the armpit (axillary) incision, so if the original implants were placed through the armpit, a new incision will likely need to be created on the breast. Working with a board certified plastic surgeon with implant revision experience should result in a successful exchange.

Contact Our Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon

To learn more about breast implants’ life expectancy, or implant revision surgery, please contact Dr. Savalia and request a consultation.