I have had my silicone implants for 28 years now and they have become hard. Should I replace them and can they be replaced?
Should I Replace my 28-year-old Breast Implants?
Doctor Answers 10
Replace Older Breasts Implants?
Thank you for the question.
Yes, I think you should have your implants removed and you will probably benefit from capsulectomy/capsulotomy as well. There is a good chance that the 28-year-old implants have leaked and that you have significantly thickened implant capsule as well. This will explain the “hardness” of the breasts you are experiencing.
Please make sure you seek consultation with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.
I hope this helps.
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When that old- remove and/or replace silicone
When silicone implants are that old removal with or without replacement is recommended. There must be tissue reaction in there particularly with older generation gels. The reaction (hard capsules) can be removed along with the implant to significantly soften the breasts.
John Di Saia MD
28 year old silicone implants
28 year old silicone implants are likely ruptured. This would likely be shown by MRI. The implants could either be replaced or removed. Hardness of the breasts is due to capular contracture and this can be addressed during the same procedure.
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Until I saw the last few words I would have said "if it ain't broken don't fix'em!" But if they are hard and they bother you, you should probably have them exchanged and a capsulectomy.
Breast Implant Removal
Your implants should be replaced. Since you have hardness of your breasts now, there is a possibility you might have hardness with a replacement—although the degree of hardness is usually impoved by removing some of scar tissue and replacing the implants.
Leave 28 year-old implants alone
Unless you are having a problem, I would not recommend replacing your 28 year-old implants. Surgery has costs and risks that you do not need to undertake unnecessarily. If it's not broken - don't fix it. On the other hand, if you have a ruptured implant, contracture, or are unhappy with the size, you should consider replacing them. An experienced plastic surgeon can give you the best advice after seeing you.
Breast Implant Removal
If you have hard breasts, more than likely you have capsular contracture. With 28 year old implants, I will seriously consider having a capsulectomy (excision of the capsule) and implant exchange.
You should replace implants after 20 to 25 years
Implants should be replaced after 20 years. The reason is that scar tissue around the implants (better known as a capsule) starts to calcify. This can be seen on mammograms. I have never seen it before 22 years. The calcium makes the surrounding tissue firm and hard. Excision is necessary in over 50% of cases the implants are intact.
Hard 28 year old Breast Implants should probably be Replaced
While it is possible that your 28 year old breast implants are still intact, very few breast implants last this long. It sounds as if the implants are surrounded by scar tissue (Capsular Contracture) which is squeezing them and renders them hard.
Your choices are to do nothing, have the breast implants and scar tissue replaced or have the implants removed. Most women with this condition opt to have the implants exchanged. If you want to know if the implants have leaked before having surgery you will need to have an MRI.
Management of old silicone breast implants
At the very least you should have an MRI to evaluate implant integrity or lack of such. To this degree, it would be a reasonable first step. However, in my opinion, if your breasts are hard, you will likely benefit from removal of the tissue surrounding the implant (a capsulectomy) with implant removal (and replacement at your discretion).