Do I need to replace my breast implants?

Do I need to replace my breast implants?

by Yenny (SU)

Do My Breast Implants Have a Shelf Life?

If you’re considering breast augmentation, or have already had one, you may be wondering when your breasts will require some “touching up”.  Common hearsay points to 10 years as the magic number for when revision surgery may be required. However, a 2011 study by the FDA reported that only 1 in 5 people will require some type of modification at the 10-year mark – whether it be due to a broken implant, discomfort, malposition, Capsular Contracture, or a patient’s decision to change cup size. Being diligent about breast exams – both self and physician-administered, is one way to prevent the need for revision surgeries.

According to the National Institutes of Health, Capsular Contracture is one of the most commonly cited reasons for reoperation following breast implant surgery. When we cause any trauma to the body – whether naturally occurring or induced through surgery, scarring is its way of signaling the healing process. The body forms scar tissue around foreign objects placed into it as a safety measure; however, an overgrowth of scar tissue around an implant may harden and contract, causing pain and cosmetic issues such as rippling. This condition occurs more frequently when silicone implants are utilized, but it has a 10.6% incidence in all augmentations.

If you’ve ever received a mammogram with implants, you’re aware of the challenges it poses. According to Mayo Clinic, both silicone and saline implants can make it more difficult to detect breast cancer. Some patients who are at risk will opt for subpectoral implants – placed under the chest muscles, which allow your Radiologist full view of breast tissue. 

The older implants are, the more susceptible they are to rupture in the body. When this occurs, the result is different for silicone and saline implants. Should your saline implant burst – you’ll know. Similar to the way a water balloon pops, the saline solution inside of this implant will flood out and be absorbed by the body. While saline is natural and typically harmless to the body, you should still consider the potential for bacterial growth.

A break or hole in silicone implants is often referred to as a “silent rupture” because the silicone gel leaks slowly. If it goes undetected and leaks outside of a scar tissue capsule, it can migrate into other organs causing a variety of health issues. Pay attention to the signs; decreased breast size, tenderness, swelling, tingling, or burning in the breasts are all indicators that something has gone awry. For safety reasons, the FDA recommends removing ruptured implants as soon as possible following this incidence.

When you first opted for augmentation, you may have believed “bigger is better” – or perhaps, you went too small for your current tastes out of caution. Size changes or implant removals account for many reoperations. If you’re concerned the size you’re selecting may not be your lifelong choice, opt for saline breast implants; they can be adjusted after they’re implanted.

While there are no rules for when augmentation is required, stay abreast of the issues and be aware of possible complications. If you take good care of your body, your implants will most likely have a long “shelf life”. For more information about breast augmentation or revision surgeries, contact Atlantic Center of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery. From reoperations and fat grafting, to expanders and implants – their experienced team has done it all. Call 954-983-1899 to schedule a consultation.

3National Institutes of Health (

American Society of Plastic Surgeons