I've heard that after my initial breast augmentation surgery, I have to come back a certain amount of years after (6-7 yrs) to the operating room to get my implants refreshed (take the old ones out and put new ones in). Is this true?
How Often Do You Have to Get Your Breasts "Refreshed"?
Doctor Answers (17)
Breast augmentation -getting it right the first time
No that is not true. All breast augmentation will have to undergo more surgery at some point but that is no predictable. It could be 2, 10 or 20 years or some other number of years. In the absence of deflation or capsular contracture there is no need to go in and replace breast implants no matter how long they have been there. You want to choose your initial surgeon and the specific type of augmentation that will maximize the number of years between breast operations.
No it is not true that your implants "need refreshed" at 6-7 years
whether or not you will need more surgery after breast implants is a controversial question, with answers all over the board. The information you received has no factual basis
Breast Implant Exchange
Breast Implants typically last much longer than 6-7 years. Unlike a car tire, implants do not have to be periodically exchanged, just evaluated by a board certified plastic surgeon. This evaluation will assess for rupture, capsular contracture, or assymetry. Unless indicated by your plastic surgeon, I would not recommend periodic exchange.
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When do breast implants need replacing?
There are several opinions on this question. It is a matter of personal preference.
Breast implants, like everything else, wear out. It is easy to detect a saline implant failure, as you get a "flat tire" effect within days to a few weeks. Silicone implant failures are termed "silent" because they usually must be detected via MRI, sometimes Ultrasound.
Some Plastic Surgeons advocate replacing implants before their average lifespan passes (average lifespan of a breast implant is around 10 years).
Other plastic surgeons recommend waiting until a saline implant failure occurs, or with silicone, a rupture is detected with regular MRI screening.
Talk it over with your Plastic Surgeon as to which makes more sense for you and for them.
Redo breast augmentation
There is no set time to consider redoing your breast augmentation unless there is a problem with the ones you have already.
Replacing breast implants
There is no finite period of time for the implants to be replaced. Just keep in mind that despite having implants, all breasts will normally sag with time, thus requiring corrective surgery.
Implants do NOT need changing or refreshing every 10 years
There is no reason to "refresh" or change your breast implants unless there is a problem with them such as capsular contraction, infection or leak / deflation. I tell all my augmentation patients that implants are man made devices and as such they may not last their lifetimes. The present day implants have rates of deflation of 6 - 10% at 10 years and as the implants age the rate does increase slowly. You will know if your saline implants are leaking as the volume will gradually get smaller as the fluid is absorbed. An MRI is needed to check for leaks in silicone implants. That said, many patients have their implants for many years without any problems.
Breast implant typically last 10 or 15 years
Typically, I tell my patients that they will have another breast operation in 10 or 15 years. The reasons for re-operation are typically implant rupture, capsular contracture, or that the breasts have fallen. Implants can last longer than 10 or 15 years. In fact, in the past few months we have worked with several patients that had their original silicone breast augmentation procedure done in Michigan in the 1980's. Realistically, plan on another operation in 10 or 15 years. The reason for that procedure could be one of many not just breast implant rupture.
Removing breast implants routinely at 10 years
There are lots of rumors and repeated statements about replacing implants every 10 years but this had been promulgated with relatively little true scientific data. Reported saline/silicone rupture rates at 10 years varies from 6-10%. This means that if surgeons were to replace implants routinely at 10 years, anywhere from 90-94% of implants would still be intact. In the case of saline implants the consequences of delayed treatment are relatively few. In the case of silicone implants, it is preferred to remove these when the rupture is detected and using MRI maybe a less invasive option.
The MYTH of every 10 year Breast Implant "Refreshment", "Change" or "Tune Up"
Regarding: "How Often Do You Have to Get Your Breasts "Refreshed"?
I've heard that after my initial breast augmentation surgery, I have to come back a certain amount of years after (6-7 yrs) to the operating room to get my implants refreshed (take the old ones out and put new ones in). Is this true?"
Periodic Breast Implant exchange is an urban myth.
Like human beings and all man-made devices, breast implants do not last indefinitely. Their shells eventually break down, leak and the implants need to be replaced. While some breasts implants last a few years, others last well over 20 years and more.
Both large American breast Implant companies (MENTOR and NATRELLE (Allergan, Inamed, McGhan)) offer a lifetime supply of new implants for implants which failed by wear and tear. They will not replace implants involved in capsular contracture, self-puncture, wanting to "go bigger" etc.
There is NO REASON why intact breast implants would need to be exchanged regardless of the period of time from the date of surgery. If there are no implant related complications, the overwhelming majority of Plastic surgeons would recommend leaving them alone.
Dr. Peter Aldea
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.