How long do breast implants last?


A very common question asked when it comes to breast implants, is ‘How long will they last’

This can be a difficult question to answer as there is no exact ‘shelf life’ or expiry date when it comes to breast implants. There seems to be a lot of reports that they only last approximately 10 years but in reality there are many patients whose implants have lasted 20+ years trouble-free, and others  who have needed them replaced only after a few years.

Most reputable manufacturers suggest that ten years should be the time until you have your implants reassessed, and sometimes replaced. This is based on the CORE studies that report an incidence of up to 20% of any problem with an implant in the first 10 years. Some implants may only last a few years, and occasionally implants can indeed last a lifetime. There is a wide spectrum of length of life of any breast implant.

There are other things that come in to factor for getting your implant redone such as weight gain, pregnancy, breast feeding and aging. These things can cause breast to change in shape and size and revision surgery may be needed to lift them back up and give them a more youthful appearance.

If you are not having any problems with your implants and are happy with their appearance, there is no need to replace them just because a set time period has passed. If you have had them in for 10 years and aren’t having any problems, it’s still a good idea to get a MRI just to check and make sure there are no issues.

Reasons to consider revision breast implant surgery:

Deflation of a saline implant
Rupture of a silicone gel implant
Capsular Contracture or hardening
Asymmetry/ Breast Deformity
Ptosis or breast sagging
Desire to change implant size
No longer want Implants

How will I know if my implant has ruptured?

With saline implants, a leak is easily identified, because patients will notice the breast deflating and becoming smaller in size. It is not painful or harmful as the saline (or salt water) is just absorbed by the body. Although not critical to your health, replacement is recommended as soon as possible.

A rupture or leak is a harder to tell with silicone implants. The silicone gel tends to stay in the area of leakage and the volume or size of the implant is maintained. The newer generation of implants do have lower rupture rate than older implants, but detection is still difficult.

The first way to evaluate the silicone breast implant is with a physical examination by your plastic surgeon. Very often the first sign of a leak or rupture is thickening or hardening in the tissues surrounding the implant. Confirming a leak can best be done with an MRI of the breast. With silicone breast implant leakage or rupture, it is recommended that the implant be replaced or removed as soon as possible.

Considering upsizing, downsizing, Breast Reconstruction or removing your implants all together?

Contact us today for a Free Surgical Assessment from our Plastic Surgeons