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Implants Do Not Last Forever

You’re ecstatic – you’ve decided to have a breast augmentation! You’ve researched the procedure and talk to your friends who’ve had it done. Now, the only thing you’re unclear about is how long the implants will last. At first, you didn’t realize they’d need to eventually be redone, so now you’re wondering if you should be concerned.

Know that breast augmentation is one of the safest aesthetic procedures and it has one of the highest satisfaction rates among women. We must not forget that no surgery is without risk. But as long as you inform your surgeon of your medical history and all medications that you are on, and you follow their pre-and post-operative instructions, you should be highly satisfied with your results.

Implants Do Not Last Forever

It’s important to understand that implants do not last forever and as of this writing, there is NO implant that delivers permanent results. The failure rates for silicone implants range between 10 and 13%, and between 5 and 10% for saline implants at the ten-year mark. The bottom line is that if you get implants, you will have to replace them eventually.

Not all implants fail. But the ones that do, rupture or leak because of a hole or tear. This can happen because you’ve experienced some type of force, trauma or injury to the chest. For example, you’ve been in a car accident and the air bag struck your chest. Aside from trauma, the shell can get worn out over time.

  • With saline, a hole or tear will cause the implant to deflate and it will lose volume. Depending on the size of the leak, it could take weeks, but eventually your breast will lose volume and it will be noticeable.
  • With silicone implants, it’s harder to tell if there’s a leak. If the silicone gel is captured in the capsule, it could stay inside the shell. Usually a ruptured silicone implant gets firmer and changes shape. It’s not an emergency; however, if the silicone gel migrates beyond the capsule, it needs to be removed as well as any tissue that the gel has attached to or scarred.

“What if my implant isn’t leaking or doesn’t have a hole? Should I still get it replaced?” Women usually have their implants redone. It’s very common for women to decide to downsize to smaller implants, especially as they get older. Like naturally large breasts, large implants can cause neck and shoulder pain and women can feel like they’re too heavy.

Some women get saline implants but later on, they decide that they don’t like the wrinkling and want to switch to silicone. Some women simply want to update their intact silicone implants with a new pair, before they rupture. In this case, it’s a simple operation where the old implant is replaced with a new one.

If you wish to have breast augmentation, consider the fact that it will need to be replaced at some point in time in the future. You may prefer saline because you’ll be able to tell when it’s deflated. Or, you may opt for silicone, but you’ll set a date with your surgeon to replace it instead of waiting for it to have issues. But before you make a decision, discuss your options with our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Yuly Gorodisky.

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