Breast Implants Concerns for Tubular Breasts

I am a 20-year-old woman with "tubular" breasts and implants seem to be the only way to correct this deformity. I am comfortable having the surgery, but am concerned about everything I've been reading online about having to have the breast implants removed.

I have read that the saline implants only last up to ten years. Is this accurate? If I have the procedure done now, will I be looking at another surgery around the same cost in the next ten years or less?

Doctor Answers 21

Tuberous Breasts Correction

No, it's not need to be exchanged every 10 years- I tell my patients that “if it ain't broke we don't fix them".

In regards to tuberous ( constricted)  breasts, implants can be very helpful  used appropriately during the surgical procedure. In general, tuberous breasts have a very narrow base, short distance from areola to inframammary fold, tight (constricted) lower pole of the breasts, relatively wide space between the breasts, "puffy" and areola and some degree of ptosis (drooping).  

Generally, the procedure involves breast augmentation with areola reduction / mastopexy procedure. The distance from the inframammary fold is increased (to create a more rounded out appearance). Proper implant positioning improves the distance (cleavage) between the breasts. The areola reduction helps to treat the pointed and "puffy" appearance of the areola.
In the most severe cases of tuberous breast, a more complete breast lift may also be necessary.  In many cases however, a lift is not necessary. The patient should be aware that the final result will take months to see and that they will need to be patient and that revisionary surgery is more likely than in patients who do not present with tuberous (constricted) breasts.
Best wishes.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Soft Tissue Expansion and Breast Implants May Be Best for Tubular Breasts

Thank you for your question. I agree that if there is no problem with Breast Implants at 10 years there is no need to replace them. Today with newer Silicone Gel Implants most patients are choosing Silicone over Saline for a more natural "feel."

In many patients a simple Breast Implant can correct the Tuberous Breast if internal lysis of the constricting bands is performed.

However in some patients a soft tissue expander can be used to stretch the bands that cause the Tubular Breast prior to placement of an Implant and create a very nice result.

Consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon experienced in Breast Surgery

Breast Implants for Tuberous Breast Deformity


Great questions. I actually initially described tubular or tuberous breast deformity. Implants with what we call radial scoring and possibly even a lift may be needed to treat your breasts to get the look you are trying to achieve. Saline implants have rupture rates around 3% but after ten years the rate can be higher. Recent silicone implant data show rupture rates at a similar 3%. I would encourage you to consult with a reputable plastic surgeon in your area to discuss if this is something you wish to pursue. Since implants are a medical device, you may need another operation in your lifetime. Best of luck,

Dr Aston

Sherrell J. Aston, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Saline Implants Can Last Longer Than 10 years

Saline implants do not last up to 10 years. This is a myth. They will last as long as you don't have a problem with them. For some women, this means that they last a lifetime while for others, their implants needed to be replaced after a couple of years. However, please note that they are not considered lifetime devices. Therefore, there is no guarantee that you'll need another surgery performed in the next ten years or less.

Tubular breast deformity can be corrected without the use of implants, however without them you may be left with very small breasts. That is why implants are used to restore a patient's sense of femininity.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Tubular Breasts and Implants

The correction of tubular breasts almost always involve the use of an implant to create volume in the lower pole region. A release or scoring of the inferior breast tissue as well as a periareolar 
mastopexy is required in significant cases. Because you are only twenty saline implants are the only type allowed by the FDA. They unfortunately over time may become palpable in the lower pole region
because there is not a great deal of overlying tissue. That being said you are young and medical devices like implants do not last forever and at some point will need to be replaced. The necessity to do so at ten years is an urban myth and is required only when necessary.  There is an inherent leak rate of about 3 % which increases over time , but  I have seen saline implants that have been in place for 30 years without any problems. The important thing is to be comfortable with your surgeon and his ability to achieve your goals.

William F. DeLuca Jr, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 183 reviews

Tubular breasts, tuberous breasts and implant deflation

If you truly have tubular or tuberous breasts a breast augmentation alone will probably not resolve the problem with the breast shape.  You may also need to consider having a ring of skin removed for around the areola,  as well as having the base of the breast tissue scored or released in a radial fashion to allow the breast to properly drape  over the implant.

There is no 10 year expiration date with breast implants.  However, approximately 3 to 5% of implants will break over leak over a five to ten year period and would then need to be replaced.  Most major implant manufactures now have warrantees which cover implant deflation

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Tubular breasts sometimes require implants and a circumareolar mastopexy

Tubular breasts present a challenge even to very experienced plastic surgeons. There are different degrees of tubular breasts and no two breasts are alike. In our experience, we have done both an implant and a circumareolar mastopexy as many tubular breast patients have a "poochy" areola that gets wider and distends with an implant. The implant helps with the shape and the circumareolar reduction helps flatten the balloon like areola. Make sure you ask to see before and after photos specifically of tuberous breast patients. Best of luck.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Implants require maintenence

I am glad to hear you are becoming more comfortable with your surgical options.  All breast implant surgery comes with maintenece.  What I mean is that over time the devices may fail, gravity and the normal aging process may contribute to the loss of your overall breast aesthetics.  There is no hard set time at which you must revise your breasts, but it is true the more surgical correction of shape or position that is required at your initial surgery will coorelate with how soon you will need revision.  I have seen women present in my office for other reasons and have excellent aesthetics of their breast augmentation performed over two decades ago. Good luck with your surgery.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 201 reviews

"Tubular" Breast Surgery


Breasts present in many forms and shapes. There are even differences between breasts in the same patient. I tell my patients that breasts are "sisters" not "twins". Because of these differences, there are many options for breast surgery to correct many different issues. Breast implants alone may not correct a tubular issue....lifting of the nipple/areolar complex to a more youthful position (ideally centered over an implant) may also be necessary. This is referred to as a Mastopexy. It is performed with a scar either around the Areola or for more severe cases with a scar around the Areola and up and down along the front of the breast (Vertical Mastopexy).

I recommend you sit down with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with significant experience in Breast Surgery and discuss your anatomy and your options!

I hope this helps and Good Luck!

Dr. C

John Philip Connors III, MD, FACS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Tuberous (Snoopy) breast deformity


Although there are varying degrees of tuberous breast deformity, almost all types get the best results with the addtion of an implant along with the breast tissue release at the base of the breast and reduction of the areola. It is true that breast implants have a life expectancy of, on average, 10-15 years, so it is likely that you will need an additional procedure at sometime in your future. Even if your implants last 25 or 30 years you will still be young enough. The replacement of implants is a relatively minor procedure, so requiring future surgery is not always so ominous. Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD, FACS
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 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.