Getting breast implants changes your appearance and your life. Your new and improved physique alters how you look and how you feel. You may wish to choose a new wardrobe to accentuate your assets and you will likely notice a strong boost of confidence in many aspects of life.
The Average Lifetime of a Breast Augmentation
Once your surgery and recovery period have concluded, the average lifetime of a breast augmentation may be the last thing on your mind. Breast implants may be considered, for all intents and purposes, a permanent solution to being unsatisfied with the size or shape of your breasts, and sometimes they are, yet it is important to really consider that word “permanent.” A certain degree of maintenance may be required to maintain the health and longevity of breast implants, such as checkups with your doctor or periodic scans to detect rupture. Deflation may occur over time, preferences may change, and for one reason or another, some patients may not have the same set of implants for an entire lifetime.
So, how long do breast implants last and what is the average lifetime of a breast augmentation? The short answer is, it depends. Different lifestyle factors may cause a rupture that requires surgery to correct the problem. In a perfect scenario, breast implants can last a lifetime. In an everyday, realistic scenario, some (but not all) implants may need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years to help prevent problems associated with scar tissue, wrinkling, hardening, or capsular contracture, where the shape and slope of the breast change due to an implant rupture.
How Long Do Saline Breast Implants Last?
In general, 10 to 15 years is a good guideline for how long most saline breast implants will last, though some last considerably longer. Studies have recently shown that some saline implants may begin to deflate in very minute amounts over a period of years, with possibly 1 in 10 patients noticing a deflation within 10 years of having implants. This deflation does not happen to all patients, and for some, it may be at such a low rate that it isn’t even noticeable.
If you still like the look and feel of your breasts at this point, and don’t detect any issues with your breasts, replacement of the implants may not be necessary. An ultrasound or mammogram is a prudent move for checking on the condition and integrity of your implants. If a saline breast implant ruptures, you will know right away as the volume of your breast immediately decreases once the body absorbs the saline. In the event of a rupture, the saline solution is safe for the body and you will simply need to have the saline implants removed and replaced, either with saline implants again or with silicone gel implants. Speak with an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Newman to go over any questions you may have regarding saline breast implants or the differences between the two options.
How Long Do Silicone Breast Implants Last?
Like saline implants, silicone breast implants may also last a minimum of 10 to 15 years, but can also last much longer. As you may know, silicone breast implants require periodic MRI scans to ensure the implants have not ruptured. Rupture of silicone gel breast implants is not immediately obvious visually or to the touch, which is why it’s commonly called a “silent rupture.” Mammograms may also pick up on ruptured silicone implants, calling for removal and replacement of the breast implants.
As long as you are keeping up with regular MRI scans to detect any ruptures or issues with your implants, you shouldn’t have to replace them until you have a real reason to do so. There’s not necessarily an expiration date on either type of implant – it all depends on the rate of deflation or incidence of rupture. How long breast implants last really depends on the individual, and we don’t have an exact science to predict when one person’s implants will fail or need to be replaced versus another person’s.
Replacing Breast Implants Proactively
The average lifetime of a breast augmentation definitely varies from one person to the next. Even if no issues become evident, some patients may wish to replace their breast implants after 10 to 15 years to preserve the shape of the breast by preventing capsular contracture, or simply to change something about their breasts. Replacing implants gives you the opportunity to decide whether you are 100% happy with the current size of your breasts or if you’d like to go up a bit. It also allows you to switch to saline implants or silicone implants, or to change the profile of your implants, if you so desire. Another option for women undergoing breast implant revision or replacement surgery is the possibility of also doing a breast lift to further enhance their appearance.
Breast implant replacement surgery tends to cause less discomfort than the initial surgery. A skilled plastic surgeon handling your breast implant replacement procedure may even be able to make use of the existing scar from the initial placement of your implants, minimizing any other visual side effects.
Life after breast implants, for many women, turns out to be even more amazing than they ever dreamed. Confidence soars, new opportunities and adventures await, and women no longer feel inadequate or wistful in wanting what they weren’t blessed with at birth. If you are considering breast augmentation surgery or replacement of your existing breast implants, get in touch with Dr. Newman’s office for a consultation to review your options and answer any questions you may have.