Shelf Life on Breast Implants

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Perhaps you are catching up with your girlfriend and you casually mention that you’ve had your breast implants in for a little over 10 years now. She looks at you like you’re crazy, informs you that they are probably rotting away inside you and asks when the heck you are getting them out. Say what?

There has been a lot of talk recently about when the right time is to switch out implants and how long do they last. We need to separate the two issues.

First of all, let’s talk warranties. Most implant companies have a lifetime product warranty, meaning that these products are designed to last. When you purchase the implants, the warranties clearly state that the company will guarantee their product usually for a lifetime in the event of deflation or rupture due to loss of shell integrity. This means, if you rupture the implant, the cost of the implant will be covered. Additionally, the warranties usually give you a specific dollar amount reimbursement for the cost of having the replacement surgery. You can even purchase a better warranty for a little bit extra in the beginning that will give you more money towards the cost of surgery should you ever need it.

Next, let’s address longevity of implant and your body. There is no long-term effect of having an implant in your body. They do not have to be replaced at 10, 15 or 20 years just because they are that old. That is a common misconception. That being said, the implants can rupture at any time, cause capsular contracture or leak. Contrary to popular belief, a leaking implant will not harm you. Although you probably will not like the way it looks with one side being “deflated,” the implant is not required to come out. If the capsule around the implant becomes hardened, you will feel and see a difference. Capsular contracture can happen at a month out or 20 years out from surgery. This is not a defect in the implant, rather just your body responding to the implant. If this happens, you probably will want to have a breast revision surgery and replace the implants, as this will not feel good or be aesthetically pleasing.

“This topic comes up all the time,” says Dr. Rick. “The bottom line is if you are not having any problems at all with your implants then you need not do anything. Time is irrelevant. Keep in mind implants are man made devices and at some point in life they will fail. Always seek advice from a board certified Plastic Surgeon if you are having problems with your implants and they should be able to guide you through the proper care.”

Know your options. Study your warranty. But, if you are happy with your breast augmentation and everything looks and feels good, keep enjoying the results.
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Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon