How long do people keep breast implants for?

I am in my mid 30's and scheduled for a lift + augmentation on June 22nd. I know implants don't last forever so I'll need to replace them in my mid 40's I suppose. But when I'm a 70 year old grandmother I can't imagine wanting to keep up with getting a new set every decade. Is explanation common? When is it normally done? And how will I look after? Just thinking ahead!! Far ahead, I know!

Doctor Answers 13

How long do people keep breast implants for?

The breasts may lose their elasticity and firmness which can be caused by different factors such as pregnancy, massive weight loss, lactation and aging. To reaffirm the breasts and restore the natural look your surgeon can perform a mastopexy or breast lift. A breast lift restores a firmer, perkier, and more aesthetically pleasing shape to sagging breasts. This not only can improve a patient’s appearance by restoring her youthful, feminine proportions, but also help bras and swimsuits fit more comfortably and attractively. By removing excess, stretched out skin, reshaping the breast tissue, and raising the nipple & areola into a more forward position, a cosmetic surgeon can create a more youthful breast contour. Stretched, large areolae can also be reduced during breast lift surgery, creating an overall better proportioned, natural looking breast, Actually the perkiness on a person or another, depends on patients skin and breast tissue for the first 3 to 4 months! 


Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 358 reviews

How Long Do Women Keep Breast Implants?

Breast implants are not considered lifetime devices and one should expect that at some point they will leak and need to be replaced. The good news is that most implants today come with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer. That means should the implant ever leak, the manufacturer will provide a new one at no charge.

In my experience it is rare that women choose at some point not to replace a leaking implant and simply have it removed or (even if there is nothing wrong with the implant) for them to simply ask to have them removed. Although I have seen it a very few times, it is not common. Most women, even older women, prefer to maintian their figure with the implants.

Alexander G. Nein, MD, MS, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

How long do people keep breast implants for?

I have patients who had a breast augmentation 40 years ago that are having no problems with their implants. And the implants are much better and hardier today than they were back then. You can never promise no problems because everyone is different, but if the implants are giving you no problems and you still like the size, they do not need to be replaced.

You breasts may sag with time, however, and this may need to be addressed, and the implants can be evaluated by a plastic surgeon at this time.

Thank you for your question.


What is the longevity of breast implants?

Thank you for your question!

You are correct in saying that Implants are not lifetime devices, but there is no way to predict until when a particular implant will last. The concept that they last 10-15 years or that they need to be replaced after that period of time is based on an old study of an older generation of breast implants, which no longer applies to the current breast implants. They do not have an expiry date and they do not need to be replaced if there is nothing wrong with them.
However, it is true that many women require a revision/replacement surgery on an average of 10-15 years which could be due to a ruptured/deflated implant, a desire to go “bigger,” a Grade ¾ capsular contracture, bottoming out, etc. You should also realize that 10-15 years is a number associated with the older generation of implants which were less resistant to rupture than those currently on the market.
That being said, multiple studies have shown that saline and silicone gel implants have individual rates of failure that averages around 1%/year. This means that in 14 years, the likelihood of implant failure will be 14%.
Although explantation is rare, most patients who opt for explantation have a problem with them – whether physically or mentally. For example, patients who decide to have their breast implants removed do so because they are having back problems or have decided that they do not want implants to be part of them anymore, and want to remain natural. With some education about the possible results we find that patients are happy with the implants out and the breast appearance.
With implant placement your natural tissue thins and the skin stretches. So normally after explantation of the implant, there will be sagging and your breast will most likely look deflated. The original look cannot be retained especially after the years of aging. Sagging will depend on the size of the implants relative to your normal breast size (i.e., larger the implant, greater the sagging after explantation), aging since surgery, loss in skin elasticity, if you gained or lost weight, if you had children, etc. Your breasts will naturally settle down due to gravity requiring a breast lift to counteract the explantation, especially 10-15 years later.
Hope this helps. 

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 425 reviews

How long do people keep breast implants for?

Thank you for your question.  If there's nothing wrong with your implants, you do not have to exchange them.  They don't have to be switched out like tires.  This is a common misconception.  Good luck!

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Breast implants only need to be replaced if they break or rupture

Your breast implants don’t have an expiration date; it's a myth that they do. There is no maintenance required. Implants need to be replaced only if they break or rupture, and they are not that fragile. Through the years, manufacturers have increased the strength of the implant shell; in my experience, only about 3 percent of implants break. I had a patient who wanted to go bigger after 19 years. When I removed her implants, they looked exactly as they did the day I put them in. For more information on this and similar topics, I recommend a plastic surgery Q&A book like "The Scoop On Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths."


Ted Eisenberg, DO, FACOS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Implant

Some people never have their implants removed. It is a personal choice that only the patient can decide for themself.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Lifespan of breast implants

This is a common question and an even more common misconception!  I am really not sure where this very common notion that breast implants need to be replaced every 10 years came from. My recommendation to my breast implant patients is this...if they don't bother you, don't bother them!  I recommend caring for your augmented breasts as follows:

1. Do monthly self breast exams
2. Get yearly mammograms if you are older than 40
3. If anything about your breasts change and you are unsure what is going on ask your doctor.

Most well trained board certified plastic surgeons are happy to see their breast implant patients if they have questions or concerns about their implants. 

Mary Gingrass, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Breast Implant Life

People seem to get hung up on that 10 year number when it comes to thinking about replacing implants. There is no reason to exchange implants unless there is some underlying problem with them. People have implants for 20+ years with no issues.

Lawrence Bundrick, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Life of a breast implant

Thank you for this wonderful question! This is a topic I always make a special point to discuss with my patients prior to surgery. Breast Implants are one of the most heavily researched medical devices to date. Through the ongoing and extensive research on both Silicone and Saline implants most Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, myself included, will agree that if there is no issue with your breast implant there is no need for replacement. Yes, this is a man-made device which has the potential to fail. With this being said the failure rate of breast implants is extremely low. Breast implants are designed to last as long as you do. A more common list of breast implant replacement causes center around the desire to change size, the aesthetic need for a breast lift following weight and/or glandular changes, as well as wishing to switch from saline to silicone. I encourage each patient to maintain good breast health with yearly mammograms starting at age 40 as well as monthly self breast exams. If there is every a question or concern I encourage a follow up with their Board Certified Plastic Surgeon regardless of the time that has past from the original breast augmentation. A soft, intact breast implant poses no increased health risk after 10 years with no need for replacement.
I do hope you have found this information helpful and I wish you luck! 

Ronald Downs, MD, FACS
South Bend Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 8 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.