A common misconception is that breast implants need to be replaced every 10 years. This tends to deter some women from getting a Breast Augmentation because the concern regarding future surgeries and the additional costs associated. The manufacturer of silicone gel implants recommends that you have an MRI every 2 years, and it is a good idea to have an annual checkup with your surgeon.
Breast implants come with a free lifetime product replacement policy. There are no guarantees when it comes to the average lifespan of implants. Some will last a lifetime, while others will have complications within a 7 year timeframe. The majority of implants last 10-20 years without complications on average. Some of the confusion may come from the fact that implant manufacturers offer a 10 year warranty to defray some costs of implant replacement surgery. Recent FDA reports indicate that about 20% of women will have their breast implants repaired or replaced within 10 years of the original surgery.
Most plastic surgeons will not be eager to change them out unless you are experiencing a complication. Here are some examples:
- Deflation of a saline implant: If you have a saline implant, any leak, will result in a gradual deflation. You will then notice a marked difference in the size of your breasts.
- Rupture of a silicone gel implant: This is a bit harder to diagnose. Because the silicone is not absorbed by our bodies, the breast will most likely look at feel the same even though the device is compromised. Thus the need to get a breast MRI’s at every 2 after surgery.
- Capsule contracture: This is caused by scar tissue that forms around the implant thickens and contracts, causing the implant to feel firmer. Your breast will feel hard and may even be uncomfortable. This involves removing the scar tissue causing the problem and replacing with a fresh implant of the same type and size.
- Asymmetry: If there is a shape problem that concerns you, which can include issues relating to the first implant surgery such as incorrect pocket creation, unsuitable implant selection, issues due to weight loss or pregnancy, malposition or displacement of the implant, rippling/wrinkling or visibility of the implant, and drooping of the breast.
- Desire to change implant size: If you do not have the proper size implants for your breasts, then changing to a different size may be suggested. Your surgeon is best qualified to make that determination. When considering getting larger implants, you run the risk overstretching your breasts and creating a whole new set of problems, including the development of uncorrectable deformities.
If you are happy with the way your breasts look and feel, and are having any of the issues mentioned above, then there is no reason to re-operate on them. Please feel free to contact Dr. Hricko to discuss any additional questions or concerns you may have regarding replacement of your breast implants.