I Have Saline Implants from 12 Yrs Ago. Should I Replace Them Before One Ruptures or Wait?

I have noticed the look has changed a bit. I had a consult and it was suggest I switch to silicone. The Doctor said it is the scar tissue pushing on the implant. Last concern I am very worried about Silicone but I am very thin and can feel the rippling with my saline implants. Are silicone safe? Thank you!

Doctor Answers (8)

Replacing Breast Implants from Saline to Silicone to Prevent Rupture or Hide Rippling

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Thank you for your question. If you're unhappy with features of your saline implants, now may be the time to upgrade to silicone. There are no studies to support a finite time frame for exchanging of breast implants. If you would like to address the change in shape and the rippling, silicone implants are a good option. After years of extensive study, silicone breast implants have been deemed as safe as any other medical device placed in the body. I hope this was helpful. 


Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Saline Implants (12 Yrs Ago). Should I Replace Them Before One Ruptures?

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Implants should be replaced when they deflate or become hard and distorted. If they look good (you are happy with their shape, appearance, and size) and they are  not causing you discomfort symptoms, don't exchange them.

If you have scarring around the implants, pain, or palpable rippling through your skin, discuss your surgical options with your surgeon.

Capsule releases and gel implant replacement could improve both the feel and appearance of your breasts. The new gel implants are quite safe and the risks of these implants should be well discussed prior to revision surgery.

Best Regards

Douglas J. Raskin, MD, DMD
Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

12 year old saline-filled breast implants

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In my opinion there is no validity to the idea that breast implants have to be replaced after 10 years. One of the advantages of saline-filled implants is that they tell you if they need replaced and there is no harm from their failure. One or the other could need to be replaced at any number of years after they were put in. Gel-filled implants currently have no evidence to support the idea that there is harm to you with a simple failure of the implant but even today there is no easy way to know that they need to be replaced, a disadvantage compared to saline-filled implants.

One would expect your look to have changed a bit over 12 years. This is not likely to be because of the implant and generally a failure of a saline-filled implant is rather obvious. Other possibilities are that the implants were not filled correctly at the time they were put in, your tissue coverage over the implants have thinned, or something has stretched or changed in the scar capsule around the implant. 

As in the other responses, you should view it as your choice to change your implants to a different size or a different type within what's available and reasonable for sizing. Silicone gel-filled implants are considered safe but they really have only one advantage and that is that they feel like tissue compared to saline-filled implants. If this is important to you and you're comfortable with the other issues then you might consider changing your implants to gel-filled for cosmetic reasons but not because your old implants are X number of years old. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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Replacing implants

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If your main concern is the rippling of the implants, it,makes sense to switch them for silicone.    silicone implants have been shown to be quite safe and the new implants are much more durable than the ones used many years ago.  Silicone implants have an increased risk of capsular contracture and it is harder to detect a broken silicone implant compared to saline. These are some of the issues you should consider I making your decision.  Good luck!

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
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Replace 12 Year Old Saline Implants

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Although you are getting to the time where we start to see more deflations, that does not mean you need to replace your implants now unless you just want to. It is more convenient to not have to deal with a deflation, but conceivably you might get several more years from your current implants, so it is just an option. However, if you are having trouble with capsular contraction (tight internal scar tissue around the implants) or if you don't like the feel of the saline implants and want the more natural feel that many patients get with silicone implants, then it would probably be worthwhile to make the change now so you can enjoy the benefits. Extensive studies involving thousands of patients and decades of experience point to the safety of the silicone implants.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Silicone Gel Implants offer Beautiful Results

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Saline implants were our only option for many years while silicone gel implants were under evaluation.  Patients have found that gel implants offer a significant upgrade, including a better feel, softness, reduction of implant rippling, and lower leakage rates.  When you decide that you would like an improvement with your breasts, consider an implant exchange.  

Stephen Bresnick, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
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Removing/Replacing Breast Implants Necessary? Is

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Thank you for the question.

You should consider undergoing revision breast surgery  if you are having a specific problem with the current breast implants. Exactly what operation and what type of implant will best meet your goals will depend on your motivation for undergoing the procedure.

For example, if you are considering undergoing revisionary breast surgery to improve the rippling, then you should consider the use of silicone breast implants and/or allograft reconstruction.  You will do well by learning more about the pros/cons of silicone breast implants by reviewing the FDA website.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 719 reviews

I Have Saline Implants from 12 Yrs Ago. Should I Replace Them

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You should replace them if there is something you would like to improve--size change, switch to silicone, and so forth. If you are concerned about rupture and that is the only reason for surgery, my advice is this:  It is not like driving on bald tires. If they rupture, you can replace them then. The rupture itself poses no health risk. 

If you want to change because ripples, that is very reasonable, and a switch to silicone would be the choice. The gel implants were extensively studied before the FDA allowed resumption of sales. 

Thanks for your question, best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

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.