Breast implants are highly durable and can withstand any activity your lifestyle presents. However, just like any other artificial device, breast implants will undergo normal wear and tear as the years pass. Breast implants do not last forever, and they will eventually need to be replaced. While most breast implant companies recommend replacing implants approximately every 10 years, 80 percent of patients continue to go well beyond the 10-year mark. While the average lifespan of breast implants is 10 to 20 years, some will last a lifetime. The other 20 percent of women will need to have a repair or replacement within 10 years of the original surgery for a variety of reasons. Most women will return for follow-up surgeries at least once in their lifetime.
Reasons for Replacement
Implant Rupture or Deflation
While there is a common misconception that breast implants leak or rupture often, it is possible for this to happen after 10 or more years of normal wear. It is easier to notice when saline breast implants leak because the breasts start to deflate, almost like a balloon. Saline is salt water, so typically when this type of breast implant leaks, it is harmless to the patient. Silicone gel breast implants are more difficult to recognize when a rupture occurs. These implants tend to leak more slowly. Surgeons usually recommend an MRI scan every two to three years to check for signs of rupture. Most implants are covered under a lifetime warranty, so in the event of a rupture, the manufacturer will replace the implant at no charge.
This is the most common complication from a breast implant procedure. Capsular contracture is caused by scar tissue that forms around the implant and makes the breasts look and feel hard. No one really knows why this occurs, but some physicians speculate that it is the body’s natural protection from a foreign object. Other physicians think it might be from bacteria that is present on the implant itself when placed inside the body, which causes inflammation that spurs capsular contracture. To correct or fix capsular contracture, Dr. Pollack may remove the old implant and the hardened scar tissue and replace it with a new implant.
Change in Size, Shape, or Implant Fill
Some women decide they want a change: maybe the breast implants they chose are too big or small, or perhaps the implant has settled and some sagging has changed the original shape and the breasts have become asymmetrical. There are many options when changing implants, so a personalized consultation and evaluation are necessary to decide the best treatment plan.
If you are experiencing any complications associated with your breast implants, a breast implant replacement procedure may be right for you. Contact the office of Dr. Larry Pollack at Del Mar Plastic Surgery by calling 858-215-6143.