Do breast implants need to be replaced?

If you’re thinking about breast augmentation or reconstruction, you should think about how long a breast implant will last. If you’re wondering how long breast implants last, you’re not alone. How often should they be replaced? Is it true that breast implants in Tacoma WA sag or ripple over time? Many women have the misconception that breast implants must be updated every ten years. Although breast implants have an average lifespan of 10-15 years, they only need to be replaced if there is an issue with them, such as implant rupture or capsular contracture. In the next blog post, I’ll discuss how to spot an implant rupture or capsular contracture, as well as how common they are. I’ll discuss treatment choices and how your breast implants can evolve over time.

Do you have to have your breast implants replaced every ten years?

One of the first topics we discuss when I see a patient for breast augmentation or repair is the lifespan of a breast implant. Breast implants are not designed to last a lifetime. Unless you have a very limited life expectancy, your breast implants will need to be removed or replaced at some point throughout your life. The magical number of ten years is often used to describe the lifespan of a breast implant. The 10-year mark, on the other hand, isn’t really significant. Breast implants aren’t like an oil filter that needs to be replaced every 15,000 miles like a car’s oil filter. There’s no reason to replace your breast implants unless you’re having problems with them! I assure my patients that their implants will last about 10-15 years on average.

The rupture of a breast implant

You might be curious as to why a breast implant ruptures. Although mammography and chest trauma have been cited, time is the most likely cause of breast implant rupture. Breast implants deteriorate with time, and the shell finally cracks, resulting in a rupture. After ten years, the rupture rate begins to rise, which is where that statistic originates from. When a breast implant ruptures, what happens depends on the type of implant.

A strong silicone outer shell is found on both silicone and saline breast implants. The shell of a saline implant is filled with a saltwater solution (saline). If the implant ruptures, the saline will be absorbed by your body over time. Cohesive gel, a thick silicone gel, is used to fill the shell of silicone implants. The gel in newer gummy bear implants is thick enough to stay inside the implant even if the shell fractures. (Want to see a real-life implant rupture? Visit my YouTube channel to see how I ruptured a silicone and a saline breast implant to demonstrate what happens.) The silicone gel filler in prior generation silicone implants was significantly thinner—about the viscosity of honey. If you’ve ever heard of silicone getting into your lymph nodes, it’s most likely because of these older implants.

What proportion of breast implants fail?

The likelihood of a breast implant rupturing varies depending on the brand and whether the implant is placed above or below the muscle. Over time, the rate of rupture also increases. According to a preliminary estimate, 1 percent of women will experience a rupture each year that their breast implant is in place. After ten years, one out of every ten women will have a burst implant.

When a breast implant ruptures, how do you know?

When a saline breast implant ruptures, you’ll notice that your breast gradually shrinks as the saline is absorbed by your body. Silicone gel implants are a little more difficult to work with. Because the silicone gel is so thick, it may be able to stay inside the breast capsule (called an intracapsular rupture). You may not realize the implant has ruptured if this happens.

Contracture of the capsule

Another reason a breast implant could need to be replaced is capsular contracture. Because breast implants are a foreign body, your body will naturally create scar tissue around them. Capsular contracture occurs when scar tissue grows too thick, causing the implant to become hard and possibly uncomfortable.

Capsular contracture is difficult to quantify because it varies depending on implant type, whether the implant is above or below the muscle, and whether the implant was placed for cosmetic or reconstructive purposes. Furthermore, capsular contracture is not an all-or-nothing situation. It’s possible for an implant to be slightly firm yet still look fantastic, or it might be rock hard, deformed, and uncomfortable. The overall prevalence is roughly 10%, and it is more common in women who have had breast reconstruction or have had a previous history of capsular contracture.

Bayview Plastic Surgery
4700 Point Fosdick Dr NW #208,
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
(253) 313-0443

    Schedule Your Consultation Today

    Photo Gallery Specials

      Schedule a One on One Consultation with Dr. Cohen

      Bayview Plastic Surgery
      Michael Cohen, M.D.

      4700 Point Fosdick Dr. NW
      Gig Harbor, WA 98335

      (253) 313-0443 (253) 313-0443

      Office Hours

      Monday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm
      Saturday by appointment only

      Connect with Dr. Cohen

      Schedule an Appointment

      Tacoma Liposuction
      Tacoma Brazilian Butt Lift

      If you are a visitor with a disability, please contact us if you need assistance.
      © 2023 Bayview Plastic Surgery, PLLC. All Rights Reserved. Serving Tacoma, Federal Way, Puget Sound, Bainbridge Island, Olympic Peninsula, Pierce County and surrounding areas | Across The Web | Breast Enlargement