What Happens to Implants when You Die?

Do they decompose? Or does your body decompose and the implants are just...there?

It is different for saline vs. silicone implants even though they are both in a silicone pouch?

Doctor Answers 7

Implants after death?

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Can you imagine  your little skeleton will have its implants sitting there for eternity, how about hernia meshes, artificial joints?, penile implants? Lens implants for eyes?, vascular grafts for bypassed vessels? we could have a guess the old dead bodies diseases class by looking at what didnt decompose! Thanks for lightening up the topic, Kind of fitting for the Halloween season.  Boo-tiful!

Reno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

What Happens to Implants when You Die?

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Although solid silicone polymer and silicone gel polymer are non-biodegradable while sterile in your body, the polydimethylsiloxane is subject to degradation in nature, by bacteria and by sunlight.  Products of their dissolution are carbon dioxide and silicates, natural components of soil.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

An afterlife for breast implants?

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The silicone in the implants will outlast any carbon based life form (that would be you) unless you go for the cremation option.   

The breast case (pun intended) scenario is for your implants to leak or rupture at your funeral. 

I have removed implants in quite a few older ladies, not because they have problems with the "what happens when I die?" issue but rather that they feel a little weird being a great grandmother with implants.  In most cases, I remove the implants and then do a breast lift.  Satisfaction in this group is quite high.

Do breast implants go to heaven?  We'll have to wait for the Rapture to find out. 

Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D. 

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

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What Happens to Implants when You Die? Answer:

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It’s a funny concept but I have thought the same thing! As much as I believe in cosmetic breast surgery and enthusiastically perform it, I always envision anthropologists (or aliens) digging women up in 2000 years, seeing these bags, and later telling a class full of students “and others used to put rings around their necks and plates in their lips”..and I’ll be called a “witch doctor”!!! I’m afraid they will be there long after we are gone!

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

The implants are therenforever.

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The implants will be there for the aliens to find. Silicone never goes away. The saline in those implants will dry up and they will be flat silicone baggies.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

What happens to implants when you die?

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As below:  If you are buried, the implants will last probably for hundreds of years. If cremated, they'll be basically vaporised.

Funny (well not so funny) story:  In Australia many years ago (pre DNA testing) a body was discovered down a disused mineshaft a long time after death, and was identified as a missing murder victim because the remains included breast implants which were able to be traced.  The remains consisted pretty much of a skeleton and breast implants. Completely true.

Good luck.

Silicone and saline implants do not decompose after you die.

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Silicone is one of the most inert substances that science has created, and although silicone polymers can degrade over time, we're talking many more years than a human lifetime. That's why silicone is used in so many medical products, from finger joints, wrist bone replacements, chemotherapy catheters, pacemaker wire insulation, to breast, facial, or testicular implants, as well as bathtub and window caulk and sealants--they DON'T break down like so many other things.

So after you die, your implants will last much longer than your remains will.

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 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.