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The Lifespan of Your Breast Implant

Breast augmentation enhances the appearance of breasts with the help of a saline or silicone implant. This procedure can help boost self-confidence by creating more voluptuous proportions and curves. However, breast implants are not designed to last a lifetime. So, how long do they really last?

Dr. Jeannie MacDonald can help answer your questions about your breast implants and help you determine when they need to be removed or replaced to best suit your unique needs.

Average Implant Age

Breast implants don’t have an expiration date; they also aren’t intended to be lifelong devices. Most saline or silicone implants are FDA-approved for up to 10 to 20 years.

While ruptures are uncommon within the first few years of the implant’s life, the risk of a ruptured implant increases by 1% every year. The older the implant, the greater risk of rupture or other implant-related complications.

Typically, how you care for your body and your implants determines how long those devices will last, so the lifespan of each patient’s breast implants will be different.

Reasons to Remove Implants

There are a variety of reasons for a patient to have implants replaced or removed. One common reason is patient dissatisfaction with the implant shape or size over time. Other reasons can include complications with the implants.

Hardening or capsular contracture: Capsular contracture is caused by scar tissue that forms and hardens around one or both implants. This can result in pain, tenderness, tightness, and changes to the breast appearance.

Saline rupture: Saline breast implants can deflate like a balloon if they develop ruptures in the implant’s shell. Saline leaks out and gets resorbed by the body. Deflation can happen quickly or over the course of a few days.

Silicone rupture: Silicone gel implant ruptures often go unnoticed as the gel remains inside the implant or the surrounding scar tissues. It is important to have regular MRIs following your breast augmentation. Symptoms of a ruptured silicone gel implant can include:

  • Decreased breast size
  • Hard knots
  • Uneven appearance
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Burning
  • Changes in sensation

Rippling: Implants can develop wrinkles or ripples that can be felt when touching the breast. Sometimes, the wrinkles can be seen through the skin.

Position change: Gravity, weight fluctuations, and aging can take a toll on implant location. Implant position can cause one breast to hang lower or cause nipples to point in different directions.

Prolonging the Lifespan of Your Breast Implants

You can help improve the longevity of your breast implants. It starts with carefully selecting your board-certified plastic surgeon as your breast augmentation provider. It’s important to follow all pre- and post-procedural instructions, including wearing support garments or surgical bras throughout your recovery as lack of support can lead to increased sagging.

Along with monthly self-monitoring, follow your doctor’s guidelines for annual checkups. The FDA recommends patients who have silicone implants get an MRI to check for silicone ruptures 3 years following your initial surgery, then every 2 years.

Choosing Dr. Jeannie MacDonald as Your Breast Surgery Provider

Dr. Jeannie MacDonald develops individual treatment plans to ensure natural-looking results, making her one of the best breast procedure providers in Vancouver.Contact us today to learn more about partnering with one of Vancouver’s best breast procedure providers!