My doctor is recommending implants on my right breast after my mastectomy. I asked him if in 10-12 yrs (i would be 70-72) I would need another surgery?
Will I Need a Breast Augmentation Again 10 Years Later?
Doctor Answers (12)
Maybe, maybe not
There is no absolute "expiration date" for breast implants, whether they are placed for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons. The reasons that you would need a replacement procedure in the future include rupture of the implant or capsular contracture (implant feels hard, hurts, or looks smaller), as well as cosmetic dissatisfaction. While many women need to have a replacement procedure in the future, many do not.
The key is to have careful monitoring of the implant on a regular basis, including imaging studies as recommended by your surgeon, and if you need or want it replaced, it can be done as a simple outpatient procedure.
Hope that helps!
Breast Implants are medical devices and won't last forever!
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Removing and replacing breast implants every 10 years
The recommendation of removing and replacing breast implants every 10 years is essentially a rumor that is not based in science. Due to implant warranty coverages of 10 years and slightly higher rates of rupture this advice has been perpetuated
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Breast reconstruction cases can be complicated
Reconstruction after mastectomy is more complicted than the usual cosmetic breast implant case. Although individual cases vary, breast reconstruction patients tend to have more surgery than cosmetic patients. If you have had radiation therapy or a history of cigarette smoking, it is possible that you might need additional surgery over a 10-12 year period. The cases do vary however.
Possible to need breast augmentation after 10 years, but not likely
Thank you for your question.
As long as you have no symptoms such as hardening related to capsular contracture or deflation related to a leak, it is unlikely that you will need another surgery in 10 years. However, implants don't come with an expiration date, so it is still possible and likely that you will need another procedure at some point in the future.
Some women have their implants without the need for a replacement way beyond the 10 year mark. The only other reason you may consider another surgery in the future would be for cosmetic purposes, lifting, correction of asymmetry etc. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your implants down the road, maybe as you age more, replacement could be an option, but not necessary.
Thanks for your question. Have a great day!
Implants do not come with expiration dates, like a carton of milk! They do fail in time averegaing less than 1% each year. In the years there is slightly less than 10% chance, 25 years, 25% etc. That is how you can figure out the probability of implant failure.
As long as your implant is intact and you have no other symptoms such as hardening or capsular contracture, there is no need to have another surgery to exchange your implant. You likely have a silicone gel implant and the FDA recommends checking your implant with an MRI starting year three after your surgery and then every other year. If the MRI shows that your implant is ruptured or broken, then the recommendation is to exchange the implant. The exchange surgery is fairly simple and an outpatient procedure. The average life of the implant may be about 10-12yrs and that is likely why your surgeon may have discussed the possible surgery with you. Remeber if the implant is not broken and you have no symptoms, then you don't have to exchange the implant. Just keep your follow-ups with your surgeon and get your MRI's. Of course make sure you discuss any treatment plan with your doctor first.
An exchange of implant is recommended
We have gone through a lot of learning and tribulations with breast implants over the last twenty years. Current FDA recommendations are to exchange silicone gel implants in 12 to 15 years. I assume your reconstruction is a gel implant. You can get an MRI in 10 to 12 years and , ultimately, it will be your choice as to whether to exchange them or not. Exchange is typically a relatively simple procedure. All the best.
Reconstruction implant longevity
You didn't mention what your plastic surgeon answered to your question, but I will tell what I may have said: Implant reconstruction is one option for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Implants are high-tech plastic bags that are soft enough to move with your body movements every day of your life. With constant motion comes constant wear, and you should expect implants to wear out over time. 10-12 years is probably less than average, but not too far off. Replacement of a deflated saline implant is quite simple. Replacement of leaking silicon gel is potentially more involved.
Hopefully you will have many years of pleasure from whatever method of reconstruction you choose.
Implants need to replaced only if they are having problems or are not functioning the way they were intended. Saline implants only need replacement when they leak. Silicone implants are a bit more complex. Studies have shown that the risk and incidence of leakage increases with implant age, specifically beyond 10-15 years. Thus there is a perception that they should be changed before the risk becomes significant. The real dilemma is trying to judge the danger of a leaking silicone implant that stays within the capsule surrounding the implant. Obviously if this causes a distortion, hardening, or pain, it should be replaced. But many of these leaks are so-called "silent ruptures" because they do not cause any clinical signs or symptoms and the free silicone gel have been shown to not cause systemic illness or disease. The breasts and implants feel normal and patients don't even know they are leaking unless they do sensitive tests such as MRI's. While the implants are obvious not functioning the way they were intended to function (i.e. containing the gel filler) they are also not causing any disease. While you can perhaps say a single implant should be replaced if the integrity of the bag is broken, if you take into consideration the many women who have silent ruptures, this also means that large numbers of women would undergo expensive operations without any tangible benefit healthwise because they are not sick. The best advice is to have close follow-up with your plastic surgeon yearly after your surgery.
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.