How you would know if you have saline breast implants problems for over 15 years?

I have my saline breast implants since July of 1999. I wanted to know what are the signs or symptoms if my implant need to be remove/replace.

Doctor Answers 7

Implant issues

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There are many things that can require them to be replaced. The two obvious are deflation and capsular contraction( tightness around the implant).  If you are concerned see your surgeon.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Implant revision

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If you have rupture of a saline implant, you may notice your breast appear smaller. Sometimes you can feel the crinkled implant deep to the skin. If you have problems with scarring around the implant, what we call capsular contracture, the implant may feel hard and the breast may look smaller, feel tighter or seem asymmetric compared to the opposite side. These are two long term problems (among others) that can occur with breast implants, and could be corrected with revisional surgery. If you're concerned you could have a problem, see a board certified plastic surgeon for an exam.

Salem Samra, MD
Middletown Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

How you would know if you have saline breast implants problems for over 15 years?

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There is no time frame as to when or if you need to exchange your breast implants. I have heard from patients that they have heard that breast implants need to be changed every 10 years. The only reason you need to exchange your breast implants is if you are having a problem with them or if you would like to change the size.

Some of the potential complications that may arise would be deflation, capsular contracture, bottoming out (or other type of displacement concerns), or just size change.   In other words, if you are happy with the size/shape/positioning of your breast implants and are having no problems, you do not need to do anything.  
Best wishes.

Saline implant problems

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A change in look or feel of the implant may be a reason for an evaluation with a board certified plastic surgeon. The two most common issues related to having implants long term are capsular contracture and rupture. If you have capsular contracture, the breast may feel firm and immobile. If a saline implant ruptures, it's volume will decrease over time. Sometimes this happens quickly, and other times it happens slowly. Additionally, it is always important to continue with routine breast exams with or without mammogram as recommended by your gynecologist.

Neil Fine, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

How would I detect problems with my saline breast implants which were placed over 15 years ago?

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Thank you for your question. With saline implants if you develop any leakage it will become very obvious in a short period of time. In this situation the breast volume will reduce significantly compared to the adjacent intact saline implant. Other things to look for are increasing firmness or malposition of the implants. It is also important to undergo approrpriate breast cancer screening via breast examinations and mammography if you are over 35 to 40 years of age. This is usually managed by your primary care doctor or your gynecologist. In other words these doctors will also be another source detect abnormalities of your breasts or breast implants. 

When to get implants replaced?

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Obviously, if you have a leak, you will need to get your implants replaced. Or if you feel they have shifted to the sides or have hardened over the years, you may opt for replacement. As a general rule, no need to get them replaced unless you are experiencing a problem. Good luck!


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I would suggest meeting with a board certified plastic surgeon and asked to be examined. Many women have enjoyed saline implants for many years with no problems.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 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.