Do I Need to Have 10 Year Old Saline Implants Replaced?

It has been 10 years since I had my saline breast implants. I have slight rippling and one is slightly higher than other and they are too far apart. The teardrop was good for me back then, but now I am heavier and believe I should be a bit fuller and higher. I also had some trauma to the breast last week. The implant doesn't seem to be ruptured but I am very sore. Am I in a rush to have them replaced? Do you think I need to see a doctor?

Doctor Answers 6

Replacing Saline Implants

Having to replace implants every 10 years is somewhat a myth. You only need to replace them if you need to, meaning if they deflate. You would know if they are leaking in about a day, as the leaking implant side would go flat. So you should only pursue surgery not because your implants might need to be replaced but because you would like to make more upper pole fullness and have more cleavage and so forth.

Good luck.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Reasons to replace Saline Breast Implants

Dear Twins,

No rush to get them replaced! There is a misconception floating around that implants need to be replaced every 10 years. The best I can think of is that most of the implant warranties expire after 10 years. If your breasts are soft and you are happy with them, there is no reason to consider surgery. In your case, trauma can cause a deflation, but you will definitely know if that occurs. If you are bothered by positioning, ripples, etc, that is a secondary reason to consider revision, and could be discussed with your surgeon.

Do not replace saline breast implants until they go flat!

It is urban legend that saline implants need to be replaced on a periodic basis. Unlike ruptured silicone implants, which are difficult to detect, you will know when your salines deflate. I tell my patients, it is like popping a balloon.

Older salines deflate in a few hours, today's may take a week to go flat. The reason not to routinely change the implants at 10 years is you might remove an implant that was destined to last 20 years and replace it with a new one that could leak in a year or two.

Wrinkles and malposition are an entirely different reason to have revision surgery. If these are the problems that are really bothering you and not the age of the implants, then you should consult with a cosmetic plastic surgeon to explore correction of those issues. Smooth silicone implants tend to have less problem with wrinkles than salines.

Do not undergo surgery to replace perfectly good implants. Good luck

Richard L. Dolsky, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

You don't need to do anything urgently.


Your implants do not need to be replaced for any medical reason. If a saline breast implant is leaking, you will definitely know it, because your breast will get much smaller.

There are several things you don't like about your breasts. And you will almost certainly do better with moderate plus profile or high profile cohesive silicone gel implants. So, when it is convenient for you, you can consider a revision breast augmentation.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

You have time to consider all your options.

I do not believe there is any rush to have them replaced. What you describe are mostly cosmetic concerns that can be addressed whether you have surgery in one year, 5 years or ten years. As long as there is no deflation or significant pain from a capsular contracture, you can wait until the time is right for you. Make sure you are following the recommended guidelines for mammograms and breast self-exam. Best of luck.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Do I Need To Repalce My Saline Implants

It is a common misconception that implants have to be changed about every ten years. This belief is a result of an old study that showed the average lifespan of an implant was about 10-12 years. The new generation of implants are made using a much more technologically advanced manufacturing process and the lifespan of these implants is thought to be significantly longer than the older generation implants. Keep in mind that these are not a lifetime product and at some point it is likely your implants will need to be changed. The when and why is unpredicatable.

The truth is that implants should be changed if there is a problem with the implant itself, you desire a change in implant size or if you are undergoing a revision breast procedure and the implants are 'relatively' old.

The changes that you noted in your breasts can be for a number of reasons including the natural aging process. Implant rippling can become more noticeable as the breast tissue and skin thins out over time. These changes do not mean that you must have your implants exchanged. Some women will choose to adress the rippling of their saline implants by having them replaced with silicone gel implants. This is a totally elective decision.

I hope that this information is helpful. Have a wonderful day

Louis DeLuca, MD
Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 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.