Do I have to change breast implants every ten years, or can I go on with them for as long as I can until something happens to them? Is it preferable to change them every ten years?
Replacing Breast Implants Every 10 Years?
Doctor Answers (4)
If implants are not causing problems (such as hardening) and normal on mammogram and MRI (for silicone implants), we believe they can remain indefinitely and do not need to be changed every 10 years.
Statistically, every 10-15 years women often have their implants changed for a myriad of reasons (hardening, droop, rupture, leakage change in breast appearance, shifting of implants, etc), but they do not need to be changed unless there is a compelling reason.
If patients are having surgery anyway (for example to correct drooping from pregnancies), it is often wise to switch to new implants during surgery.
Replacing breast implants every 10 years is debatable
Although breast implants have no defined term for replacement, I am much more comfortable following patients with saline implants over the long term than those with silicone implants. The reasons is that silicone implants are more commonly associated with thick calcified capsules and can leak without obvious signs. Sometimes breasts will harden with this but this is not always felt by women with larger breasts and more tissue. This is one of the reasons the current FDA recommendations specify that patients with silicone gel implants have MRI studies of their breasts every few years.
I routinely follow my saline-filled implant patients until they rupture (If they wish and have no other problems) as the effects of a saline leak are less problematic than those of a silicone gel leak.
Replacing breast implants
Breast implants can last a lifetime. Unlike tires, they don't need to be rotated or changed on a schedule. However, like tires, if they fail they need to be replaced. They also can be replaced for capsular contracture, pain, and other reasons. But if you're okay, they're okay.
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If it's not broke, don't fix it
Although no implant is guaranteed to last your lifetime, there is no compelling reason to change them for change's sake every 10 years. You may opt to have a revision surgery if you have a need or desire to though such as an implant deflation, a desire to change size, or to correct something with your breast tissue itself such as sagginess or laxity.