Should Breast implants be replaced every 10 years? If not, how often? Is this covered by insurance?
Replace Breast Implants Every 10 Years?
Doctor Answers (18)
No Need to Replace Breast Implants at 10 Years if There is No Problem
Thank you for your question. There is a lot of confusion on this topic.
If you are happy with your Breast Implants at 10 years and there are no problems with them, most Plastic Surgeons would not recommend removal.
Problems which can occur and may require removal include:
- Rupture of Breast Implant
- Capsular Contracture or hardening
- Ptosis or sag
- No longer want Implants
Be sure to follow up with your surgeon. Generally Medical Insurance does not cover cosmetic replacement of Breast Implants. Most Implant manufacturers however have a warranty program for their implants.
Breast Implants: Do They Have an Expiration Date?
Many patients are confused as there is lots of misleading information out there...
The truth is, there is no exact "shelf life" or expiration date when it comes to breast implants. It is a common misconception that implants need to be replaced every ten years. I've seen patients whose implants have lasted 20+ years trouble-free, but have also seen patients who have experienced implant leakage after only a few years. If you are not having any problems with your implants, there is no need to replace them no matter how much time has past.
With saline implants, a leak is easily identified, because patients will notice the breast deflating and becoming smaller in size. It is not painful or harmful as the saline (or salt water) is just absorbed by the body. Although not critical to your health, replacement is recommended as soon as possible. Saline implants do not require any special monitoring.
A rupture or leak is a harder to tell with silicone implants. The silicone gel tends to stay in the area of leakage and the volume or size of the implant is maintained. The newer generation of implants do have lower rupture rate than older implants, but detection is still difficult.
The first way to evaluate the silicone breast implant is with a physical examination by your plastic surgeon. Very often the first sign of a leak or rupture is thickening or hardening in the tissues surrounding the implant. Confirming a leak can best be done with an MRI of the breast, as a mammogram is not very good at detecting leakages. With silicone breast implant leakage or rupture, it is recommended that the implant be replaced or removed as soon as possible.
My recommendations for monitoring silicone implants are a yearly physical examination by a plastic surgeon and an MRI every other year.
No need to replace implants every ten years.
Implants are not permanent devices. Most things that we place in the body at some point need to be replaced. Having said that, there is not an automatic trigger. If the breasts are soft and in good shape, and the implants are intact, most would leave them alone. Silicone leaks are hard to appreciante clinically, and so an MRI is used for detection.
Web reference: http://www.jjrothmd.com
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Breast Implant Life Expectancy
This is a commonly asked question and frequent source of confusion amongst patients. There is a general misconception that breast implants should be replaced every ten years. The origen of this belief is unclear, but is probably secondary to misinterpretation of implant warranty terminology.
The manufacturers of breast implants clearly state that these devices are not intended to last a lifetime, despite this, many patients can expect to have implants last their entire lifetime. Current studies suggest that implants deflate at a rate of one percent at one year and three percent at three years. Overtime, this number can be expected to grow.
Implants may deflate with no apparent cause or may deflate secondary to some type of trauma. Under these circumstances, the decision to replace implants is easy. If a patient is doing well and not having problems with breast implants, we see no reason to routinely replace implants just because a set time period has passed.
Although, insurance doesn’t generally cover the cost of implant replacement, these devices do come with a warranty. In some cases, extended warranties can be purchased as well. When implants deflate, the warranty usually covers the cost of replacement.
Breast implant replacement
Keep in mind that breast implants are not intended to last a lifetime, therefore plan to have them replaced at some point in your lifetime.
Most insurance companies will consider the breast augmentation a cosmetic procedure and will not cover a replacement. Most of the implant manufacturers offer an implant warranty program - if an implant rupture occurs before 10 years, they will assist with costs associated with your surgery.
Thank you for your inquiry! Follow up with your Plastic Surgeon if you have any questions or concerns.
No expiration date on breast implants
Thank you for your question!
There is no expiration date on implants so it is hard to say when or if they will ever need to be replaced. As long as you have no signs of deflation, capsular contracture, or any other problematic issues with your breasts, they may never need to be replaced. It is important, especially if you have silicone implants, to get a regular mammogram or MRI to make sure everything is ok. Other than that, if you are not experiencing any problems with the implant, and they still look good to you as time passes by, then there is no need to replace them.
Insurance will usually not cover the implant replacement procedure as it is usually determined to be cosmetic. However, most implants come with a warranty, so the cost of the implant might be covered if the implant is leaking.
Implants do not have to be replaced every ten years.
The good news is - implants do not have to be replaced every ten years. We expect implants to last longer than that although of course the exact life of each set of implants cannot be guaranteed. however the implant companies believe so strongly in their products that if the implants do break the companies will replace the implants.
Depending on the company and the type of warranty that might have been purchased at the time of the original surgery there may also be some compensation for the Operating room costs as well. That said - how do you know if there is a problem with your implants? Some women experience a change in size or feel of the breast.
However the best way to examine the implants is by MRI - currently the FDA has recommended a MRI every three years for a women with silicone implants .
Replace breast implants when they break
Most saline and probably also silicone implants will last 10 to 20 years. l see no point in replacing them unless they're broken. You'll know when they break, and go to your doctor then. If only one breaks at 10 to 20 years, it may be best to replace both.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
I don't know where this rumor got started but many paitents iqnuire about this.
My general feeling is the old saying: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!".
The question is: how do you know if it's broke?
That is a more difficult quesiton to answer. Salines usually deflate and anyone can make the diagnosis. Current silicone implants tend to maintain their volume and shape making it extremely difficult to detect. This has prompted the FDA to make the 3 year and 2 year thereafter MRI recommendation
Replace only if necessary
Breast implants - saline or silicone - do NOT need replacement every ten years. The shells of either do break and they are not lifetime devices. Therefore, at some point, you should expect to have to replace leaking implants. The ten year timeline comes up because that is about the average lifespan for a typical implant. However, that is not to say some don't last significantly longer - I have seen saline last up to 26yrs and silicone about 30yrs. I have also seen much less time than 10yrs also. Average numbers do not mean anything about your specific implant. Also, since leakage of either saline or silicone is not harmful, there is no need to replace implants unless there is proven breakage of the shell. With saline it is easy. The implant will simply deflate and become smaller than the opposite side. With silicone there will be no change in size and you may not have any symptoms at all and you need an MRI to detect any leakage or break in the shell of the implant. Basic rule is to maintain a relationship with your surgeon for the long term and follow-up as you have questions or concerns.
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.
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