How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

Smiling woman in tank top that emphasizes her breasts

Women considering breast augmentation at our plastic surgery practice in The Woodlands, TX, have likely read or heard about a “rule of thumb” that implants need to be replaced after 10 years. To put it simply, that is a myth. Some women choose to replace their implants after 10 or so years, but many implants last much longer than 10 years. The truth is there’s no need to change implants at all if you don’t notice any concerns.

There are, however, a number of reasons women might replace their implants besides the length of time they’ve had them. I’ll discuss those reasons in this blog post, and I’ll also address what makes implant replacement surgery—usually called breast augmentation revision—different from primary breast augmentation procedures.

Why Replace Implants?

Even though we’ve seen some implants last longer than 30 years without any issues, this isn’t always the case. The reasons for needing breast augmentation revision surgery vary, but it’s important to choose a plastic surgeon who regularly performs these procedures and understands the unique techniques needed for revision surgery.

Some of the most common reasons women come to our practice for revision surgery include:

Complications: Even though most patients don’t experience problems after getting implants, some complications can occur that require revision surgery. The most common complication is called capsular contracture, a condition that involves the tightening of the scar tissue that encapsulates an implant. In moderate to severe cases, this can cause the breast to feel hard and appear distorted.

Implant rupture: Women who have saline implants immediately notice if an implant ruptures because the fluid drains and the breast appears deflated. Cracks or ruptures in silicone implants may go unnoticed until detected during a mammogram. This is sometimes called a “silent rupture.”

Pregnancy: Having children results in changes to the breasts for virtually all women, including those with implants. Those changes may influence a woman’s decision to have revision surgery. Other weight fluctuations can create similar changes to the breasts’ appearance.

Implant position: Some implants shift position over time, causing the breasts to look asymmetrical, too far apart, or too close together.

Elective implant exchange: Women sometimes decide they want to increase or decrease the size of their implants or change the type of implants they have. For example, a woman with saline implants may want to have a newer generation of cohesive silicone gel implants instead. In some cases, patients choose to remove implants without replacing them, which is called explant surgery.

Enjoying Your Results

I use specific techniques and schedule multiple follow-up appointments to help maximize the duration of your breast implants. I emphasize to patients that they can minimize the risk of complications by taking enough time to heal after their surgeries. It’s tempting to return to your normal daily life as soon as possible, but taking a few extra days is definitely worth it in the long run. You can browse our gallery of before-and-after photos showing my actual breast augmentation revision patients to see the types of results I produce.

If you’re considering revision breast augmentation or thinking about getting breast implants for the first time in the Houston area, you can contact us to schedule a consultation using the online form or call us at (281)-595-8529 to schedule an appointment.

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* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.

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