-by Lauren Andreacchi, Patient Consultant for Dr. William J. Koenig, double board-certified plastic surgeon
One of the most common misconceptions that I hear from patients about breast implants is that they need to be replaced every 10 years. However, there are no studies that indicate implants have a shelf-life and “expire” after a set period of time. While breast implants should never be considered lifetime devices, they can provide a beautiful result for many years.
Why Do Breast Implants Need to be Replaced?
There are some instances when implants need to be replaced. These include when:
- there is an issue such as rupture or capsular contracture
- you are unhappy with the appearance of your breasts and feel they are too small, too large or sagging
- you want them removed. Just as it is your choice to have implants placed, it is also your choice to have them removed.
Ruptures and Capsular Contracture
Ruptures are rare, but it can happen over time. With saline implants, the saline will gradually be absorbed by your body, where the silicone in silicone implants usually stays within the implant shell. The implants may change in appearance or the way they feel if a rupture occurs.
Capsular contracture is hardened scar tissue around the implant(s). The body’s natural response to the implants being placed is to form scar tissue around them. If it becomes too thick, it will make the implant(s) firm. Capsular contracture varies depending on the type of implant and where it was placed.
If you feel your implant has ruptured or that you are experiencing capsular contracture, you should consult with one of our body plastic surgeons, Dr. Koenig or Dr. Amalfi, about your options for removal and/or replacement.
What Happens to Breast Implants Over Time?
It’s important to note that these reasons for replacement can occur before you’ve had your implants for 10 years or well after 10 years. Over time, your implants may shift from various body changes such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight gain or loss, and general aging. These changes can cause the skin to stretch and sag, and this may warrant a replacement. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when you have implants placed is to plan on at least one additional surgery in the future, but with proper monitoring by yourself and your physician, there is no reason you can’t enjoy your implants for many years to come!