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How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

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Dr. Smith
October 17, 2022

Last Updated on October 25, 2022 by Dr. Darren Smith

Are you wondering if it’s time for your breast implants to be replaced? There’s a lot of information online about how often breast implants last. The truth is everyone is different. Some women may never have an issue with their breast implants, while others will need to have them replaced.

Breast implants are not guaranteed to last for the rest of your life. If you have breast implants, you may need revision surgery at some point in your life.

Do Breast Implants Need to be Replaced After 10 Years?

There’s a common misconception that you must replace breast implants every 10 years. While 10 years is a good general rule of thumb to set expectations, this is not a hard and fast rule. There is no need to change your breast implants simply because 10 years have passed since you had them placed. 10 years, however, is a reasonable estimate for the time at which many implants will have an issue requiring replacement. 

In many cases, implants are changed for reasons not due to a problem with the implant at all. For example, your desired breast size may change over a period of time. Additionally, you may experience changes in breast shape with age that lead you to seek a breast lift, or “mastopexy”. Implants are often resized for optimal results with this procedure.  

How Do I Know if My Breast Implants Need to be Replaced?

How do you know when it’s time to take your breast implants out? While you may want to replace your implants for any number of reasons, the symptoms below are common reasons people seek a breast augmentation revision or implant exchange.

Hardening

It is normal for the body to form a scar around breast implants. We refer to this scar as the implant “capsule”. In rare cases, this capsule can begin to harden and shrink. This is known as “capsular contracture”. This hard scar tissue, or capsular contracture, can cause cosmetic changes, pain, and tenderness.

Rupture

Both silicone and saline breast implants can rupture. Implant ruptures happen if there is a tear or hole in the breast implant.

The signs of implant rupture are more evident in saline breast implants. The saline in your implant will leak, and your breast (or breasts) will look drastically smaller. Breaks are harder to catch with silicone implants. The gel usually stays inside the implant’s shell, so most silicone ruptures go unnoticed. For this reason, the FDA recommends those with silicone implants have an MRI of their breasts every few years. However, if you have breast discomfort, changes in appearance,, or your breasts look uneven, you should get checked out by a plastic surgeon.

Rippling

Sometimes, implants can develop wrinkles or ripples. If you can feel the ripples when you touch your breasts, we say the ripples are “palpable”. In the most extreme cases, you can visibly see the waves through the skin. In some instances, this can be treated with fat grafting. In other cases, an implant exchange may be warranted.

Position

Breast implants can shift positions and look “saggy” as you age, after becoming pregnant, or undergo weight fluctuations. This isn’t dangerous, but you may not like how your breasts look if they change position.

Size

If you’re unhappy with the size of your breast implants, consider going in for revision surgery. It can be hard deciding what size breast implants to get initially. Also, your size preferences may change as you get older. Dr. Smith offers advanced 3D imaging technology to help you select your optimal breast implant size.

Breast Implant Illness (BII)

Although uncommon, and not yet completely understood, BII may also be a reason to remove your breast implants. Some patients report symptoms that can include fatigue, joint pain, brain fog, dry eyes, respiratory difficulties, depression, and many other health concerns. While there is no standard diagnostic test for breast implant illness, doctors usually rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.

Do I Need a Breast Implant Replacement?

Implant replacement surgery means your doctor will switch your existing implants for new ones. Depending on your preferences, the doctor can do the following during your breast implant replacement surgery.

  • Change the size (CCs), shape, or style of your implant
  • Do a breast lift
  • Remove hardened or lumpy tissue

Keep in mind breast implant replacement surgery is different from breast implant removal. Permanent breast implant removal can lead to cosmetic abnormalities like deflation, sagging, or asymmetry in your natural breast tissue, and many patients may opt for a mastopexy, or breast lift , to ensure an optimal cosmetic outcome when having their breast implants removed.

How to Care for Your Breast Implants

Whether your size preference has changed or you need to change your breast implants for medical reasons, it’s important to take care of your breast implants. We recommend our patients use the tips below to enjoy their  breast augmentation for years to come.

For the best outcomes:

  • Choose a skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced plastic surgeon
  • Follow all postoperative instructions.
  • Get routine MRIs to check for silicone ruptures.
  • Use 3D imaging and other techniques to carefully select your implant size.
  • If you have any concerns about your breast implants, visit your doctor immediately.

Breast Revision Surgery 

Not sure if it’s time to have your breast implants replaced? We can help give you the answers you’re looking for. Book a breast revision consultation at our NYC office today to learn more.

What Causes Large Breasts?

Dr. Darren SmithDr. Darren Smith / November 9, 2022

What Causes Large Breasts? Breast size can heavily influence a person's physical and emotional well-being. For example, excessively large breasts…

View More

How Long Does Botox Last?

Dr. Darren SmithDr. Darren Smith / November 8, 2022

How Long Does Botox Last? Botox is an FDA-approved, effective treatment to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Botox injections…

View More

How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

Dr. SmithDr. Smith / October 17, 2022

Are you wondering if it's time for your breast implants to be replaced? There's a lot of information online about…

View More

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  • Darren M. Smith MD
  • Darren M. Smith MD
  • Darren M. Smith MD

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