Breast implant surgery can be done for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons, and many women look forward to the chance to redefine their body proportions. That being said, it’s important to note that breast implants do not last forever. In this post, we are going to answer the question ‘how long does breast implants last’ and what kind of lifespan you can expect from your breast augmentation.
How Long Does Breast Implants Last?
Breast implants are considered to be safe and last for a long time. Although breast implants do not have an expiry date, most women remove or replace their implants within a 10 to 20-year time period. The chance of a breast implant rupturing increases by 1% every year after your procedure. The longer you have your implants, the greater your chance of a rupture or complication.
There are two types of breast implants: saline and silicone. Both implant types have the same expected lifespan. It is advisable to ask your cosmetic surgeon about the expected lifespan of your implants before you go forward with breast implant surgery.
Approximately 20% of women have their breast implants removed within eight to 10 years after having them placed. So how do you know when it’s time to have yours replaced?
Signs That Your Breast Implants Should Be Removed Or Replaced?
Sometimes changes in the shape, position or size of the implant warrant having them removed or replaced. At other times, complications may present. If you notice any of these complications, be sure to discuss them with your cosmetic surgeon.
Rupture and deflation of saline implants
In the event that a saline implant ruptures or breaks, the saline contents will leak out of the silicone envelope that was inserted during breast implant surgery. When you have a saline implant, the saline solution will leak out of the implant and be absorbed by your body. This can happen gradually or all at once.
You may not be aware of the rupture until all of the solution has leaked out. By this point, the breast implant will deflate and lose its shape. Ruptures are uncommon during the first few years, but your chances of this happening increase slightly the longer you have had them. If you become aware of a rupture, you should contact your cosmetic surgeon immediately.
Rupture of silicone implants
When silicone implants rupture, it is referred to as a silent leak. Because silicone is thicker than water, when a rupture takes place, you may not be aware of it. The silicone will leak out of the silicone envelope and stay inside the implant or in the scar tissue around it.
If you do experience symptoms of a silicone rupture, you might notice
- A smaller cup size
- Hard knots forming
- Asymmetrical or uneven appearance of your breasts
- Tenderness, pain or a tingling sensation
It is estimated that silicone ruptures occur in 2 to 12% of women who have silicone implants.
Breast implant hardening
Some women may experience the hardening of their implants, which may impact their appearance. It is also possible to experience tenderness, tightness, or pain around the affected breast.
Changes in the position of the implant
It is normal for the skin to sag as you get older, even if you have breast implants. As your skin sags, the position of your implants may change. Speak to your cosmetic surgeon about replacing your implants or having a breast lift to improve this.
Sometimes a breast implant can develop wrinkles or ripples in its structure. You might be able to feel the ripples when you touch your breast or see them. Rippling is a sign that your implants need to be replaced or removed.
What Happens During A Breast Implant Removal Procedure?
Any qualified, experienced cosmetic surgeon can remove breast implants. You have a few surgical options available to you:
- Just removing the implants
- Removing the implants and having a breast lift
- Removing hardened scar tissue
- Replacing your implants with or without a breast lift.
How Long Does Breast Implants Last: Increasing Implant Lifespan
Implants are often replaced because women are no longer satisfied with their size or shape. What you liked ten or 20 years ago may no longer suit your preferences today. Chat to your surgeon about choosing a size and shape that you could be content with for the next decade or two. If sagging skin is a concern, you may want to consider a smaller implant than you had in your first breast implant surgery.
Both silicone and saline implants have a limited lifespan of 10 to 20 years. Make sure you choose a reputable surgeon who has a lot of experience in the field and discuss the different size and shape options from a long-term point of view. If you decide to go with silicone implants, which many women do, consider getting regular MRIs to check for implant ruptures.
For a more in-depth conversation about how long does breast implants last, or to find out what size and shape of implant would best suit your body type, please contact us for a confidential appointment: (02) 8599 7161.
Will your breast implants last a lifetime?
How Long Do Breast Implants Last?