How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

Breast implant manufacturers do not consider breast implants to be lifetime devices. In fact, many manufacturers only guarantee their breast implants for 10 years.

However, individual patients may find that their breast implants have long-outlasted the manufacturer’s warranty period. In these cases, most plastic surgeons agree that patients do not need to replace breast implants as long as they are happy with them.

The long and the short of the matter is that the lifespan of breast implants is unpredictable. Some breast implants rupture after several weeks while others rupture after several years. Still, other breast implants may last a lifetime, but patients should not expect them to.

Several factors or outside influences may contribute to a patient’s need to replace her breast implants. Let’s go over some of them.

Factors That May Cause a Patient to Replace her Breast Implants

Implant rupture. All breast implants, including saline- and silicone-filled implants, have an outer shell that can rupture at some point. A breast implant “rupture” refers to anything from a small leak to complete deflation, and may be caused by outside trauma such as a car accident or bad fall.

It is easier for New York plastic surgery provider Dr. Joshua Greenwald to detect when a saline implant (as opposed to a silicone implant) has ruptured. This is because the body can naturally absorb and pass saline solution. The breast with the ruptured implant will often look “deflated.“

On the other hand, silicone implants are made of a cohesive gel that keeps its form if the implant ruptures. A patient who has a ruptured silicone gel implant may not know that the rupture has taken place. Because of this, breast augmentation New York provider Dr. Greenwald advises that patients with silicone breast implants get MRIs at regular intervals to monitor the integrity of their breast implants.

A rupture always requires replacement, regardless of whether the patient has saline or silicone breast implants.

Capsular contracture. Capsular contracture occurs when the tissue lining of the internal breast implant pocket tightens around the implant, causing symptoms ranging from breast hardness to implant rupture. Severe capsular contracture causing unrelenting discomfort or implant rupture may cause a patient to replace her breast implants.

Change of heart. A minority of breast augmentation patients decide that they do not like the size of their breast implants, and many therefore opt to replace their implants. In addition, some patients decide to replace their implants after experiencing life-changing events, such as pregnancy, that alter the appearance of their breast implants. Lastly, some patients ultimately decide to remove their breast implants all together.

To discuss your breast augmentation options, please contact Dr. Greenwald at (914) 421-0113 or (212) 518-1642.
In addition to breast augmentation, Dr. Greenwald also offers breast lift, breast reconstruction and breast reduction in New York.