Which Breast Implants Are Most Likely to Last a Lifetime?
- Asked by marta in jersey in NJ
- 4 years ago
You're asking the wrong question...
Patients and surgeons spend way too much time focusing on "implant failure" as a leading cause of revision breast surgery, but it is not. In fact, implant breakage is not even among the top 10 reasons that women undergo a second operation.
The most common reasons have to do with drooping, size change, scar tissue, implant malposition, and others.
Those are not avoided with any particular implant, nor are they caused by any specific implant.
They are avoided by good preoperative education, a sound surgical plan, exacting conduct of the surgery, and excellent postoperative care.
As an example, in a study of the new generation of the so-called "gummy bear" implants, the total 3 year reoperation rate for all patients in the study was 13.9%. However, one surgeon in the study, using the same implants, did 50 consecutive cases with 0% reops. Why? It wasn't the implant. It was how he used them.
You need to realize that an implant is not a lifetime device. At the same time, you need to reailze that your expectations and the surgical plan you decide upon has a far greater impact on the likelihood of your needing another operation than the implant itself.
Find a surgeon conversant in the issues that I have brought up here...if your surgeon doesn't understand what that surgeon did in the 50 consecutive with no reops, how will he or she know how to reduce your likelihood of a reop?
Breast implants have a lifespan of their own
There are no implants on the market that I am aware of that last a lifetime. The manufacturers of breast implants have dramatically improved their design over the years. This, along with the government (FDA) scrutiny of these implants (twenty years), offers the physician and the consumer a wider variety of safe, long lasting implants to chose from.
Unfortunately, we still see some implants, whether they be silicone or saline, fail early after surgery. This may occur for a variety of reasons. The manufacturer is, however, very supportive in these situations and several warranty issues are available; humorously, quite similar to those offered for tires in the automotive industry.
Overall, in todays market, you should know that safe, long-lasting, well-designed implants are available for your aesthetic and reconstructive needs.
Unfortunately, no implant lasts a lifetime. But, the implants made today are better than thos made 10-20 years ago. I inform patients that implants are not a lifetime product and that they have to assume somewhere down the road they will need another surgery on their breasts.
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Surgeons and patients share a desire for long-lasting breast implants, but the facts are that they are temporary devices. They move with each movement of your body, and we want them to do that. They undergo pressure, rubbing, etc within your body. This cannot be expected to go on forever without wear and tear on the device.
Implants from Allergan and Mentor, whether filled with saline or silicone gel eventually will need replacement in most women.
Choose your plastic surgeon carefully and discuss your concerns with him or her.
No implant is known to last a lifetime. These are man-made devices, and they do wear out with time. That being said, some patients do have implants that have been in for more than 20 years without issues. However, the risk of rupture increases after 7-8 years. We cannot predict who will have ruptures and who will not. If you do have breast implants placed, you should anticipate that you will need to have them exchanged to new implants in about 10 years. Good luck.
Simple answer is NONE
A breast implant is a man-made device that cannot be guaranteed to last a lifetime. While occasionally they do, this can never be guaranteed. All implants currently FDA approved are probably about the same in their durability.
Unfortunately, all of the implants carry a <1%/year rate of rupture. No one has an answer to the rupture question so it's a toss up as to if yours will rupture or not. Typically women who undergo breast augmentation will need another surgery within there lifetime. This may be to elevate the breasts due to sagging at which time the implants should be changed out.
The benefit of silicone filled implants is that if the implants rupture the silicone will be trapped by the capsule that forms around the implants. The rupture is then usually only detected by mammogram.
Implants do not come with a guarantee
Although current breast implants are more durable than implants from 20+ years ago, they cannot be said to last a lifetime.
Every patient who has breast surgery should be told that it is likely they will have other breast surgery in the future whether it be an implant-related issue or a soft tissue change.
No breast implant will last a lifetime
We don't know precise numbers on breast implant survival. Probably about 90% of saline implants will be intact at 10 years. We have no data on the silicone implants since they have been back on the market for only a short time. It is best to figure that you will have to change your implants some day.
This is hard to say for sure, so I will guess. Based on the fact that silicone implants do not have a valve, my guess would be them. Possibly the gummy bear types. However, any may fail, including early after implantation.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.