Do I Need To Get My Breast Implants Replaced?

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Baltimore, Columbia, Owings Mills, Towson, Nearby Maryland & Lower Pennsylvania

Posted: January 9, 2017
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Women considering breast augmentation often ask, "do breast implants need to be replaced?" Another frequent question is, "how do I know when my breast implants need replacing?" There's no simple way to reply to these questions, since the answers depend on several factors. Read on to learn more about when to replace breast implants.

Table of Contents

Do All Breast Implants Have to Be Replaced at Some Point?

Eventually, all saline and silicone implants need to be replaced. There's a common misconception that you have to replace breast implants after 10 years, but that's not always the case. Still, while breast implants are long-lasting, they aren't meant to last a lifetime. At some point, most women who undergo breast augmentation will need a replacement. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports around 36,000 breast implants are removed annually.

How Long Do Silicone Breast Implants Last?

Most silicone options last 10 to 15 years before you need to replace breast implants.

How Long Do Saline Breast Implants Last?

The answer is the same as silicone implants, about 10 to 15 years. But there's no set schedule to receive replacement breast implants. Most plastic surgeons recommend waiting to replace implants until an issue arises.

Signs You May Need to Replace Your Implants

There are several ways to tell if you need to replace implants. The most common are:

  • A change in the size of one or both breasts
  • The development of capsular contracture
  • Pain that lasts beyond the typical recovery time

If you experience these symptoms, contact a reputable plastic surgeon about your next steps.

Common Reasons for Having to Replace Breast Implants

Women consider replacement breast implants for any number of reasons. Some are aesthetic, while others are directly related to the implants' performance.

Rupture or Tear

A tear or rupture is an immediate reason to replace breast implants. It's easy to tell if saline implants have ruptured because the saline will leak, changing the shape of the breasts. With silicone implants, it's more challenging to detect a rupture because the silicone often remains in place. This is why the federal Food and Drug Administration recommends an MRI on the third anniversary of the replacement surgery and every two years after that to monitor the performance of silicone implants.

Capsular Contracture

Some scar tissue naturally forms around breast implants, but capsular contracture occurs when the scar tissue tightens and hardens, causing pain and possible changes in the shape or feel of the breast. Often in these cases, a decision is made to replace the breast implants.

Change in Appearance

Women frequently choose to replace breast implants because of a change in the appearance of their breasts. Changes can be due to:

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Rupture or tear
  • Capsular contracture

Also, as women age, differences of appearance can occur when the muscle and breast tissue around the implant sags or changes.

Change of Mind

Over time, some women decide they prefer breasts of a different size, shape or firmness. In these cases, the implants are removed and new ones put in their place. Replacement breast implants can accommodate virtually any change that's desired.

What Happens if You Don't Replace Breast Implants?

The consequences of not replacing breast implants vary depending on the situation. If you're happy with the appearance of your breasts and your implants remain intact, there are no adverse side effects if you don't replace your breast implants.

The FDA has not reported any negative consequences of not replacing implants that break or rupture. Still, most plastic surgeons recommend replacing ruptured implants out of an abundance of caution and to improve the appearance of the breasts.

Trust Dr. Adam Basner to Replace Your Breast Implants

Now that you know the answers to questions like "do breast implants need to be replaced" and "how do I know when my breast implants need replacing," you can see that the decision to replace breast implants can be complicated. Dr. Basner has years of experience helping women decide on the best path for their breast surgeries. Contact him today for a consultation on your replacement breast implants.

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Dr. Adam Basner