Do Mentor Memory Gel Implants Need to Be Replaced Every 10 Years?

I called the Mentor company yesterday because I had some questions about their warranties. The person I spoke to, who didn't appear to be very knowledgeable about the warranty or product, told me that implants are not a lifetime device and needed to be changed every 10 years. I was under the impression that implants only needed to be removed if there is a rupture or if you have another medial condition but if they are still in tact there is no need to take them out even after 10+ years.

Doctor Answers 17

Do Mentor Memory Gel Implants Need to Be Replaced Every 10 Years?

Dear Carbs, thank you for your question.  No, in general, we do not take out intact implants that are not having any problems.  Implants do not have a definitive lifespan.  The warranty for most implants is 10 years, but that does not mean the implant needs to be taken out.  The most common reason to take an implant out, nationally speaking, is to change size, usually bigger.  About 2% of women per year have capsular contraction, which may necessitate another operation to open or remove the capsule, and the implant is replaced if ruptured, but if not, the same implant is often left in place.  If the implant is ruptured, then it should be replaced, but as long as an implant is not ruptured and not causing problems, there is no indication to remove or replace it.  I have personally seen saline and silicone implants in place not causing problems for 20-30 years.  However, to tell a patient that she may need a surgery down the road certainly isn't bad, so that it isn't surprising if that need does indeed develop.  Best Wishes, Pablo Prichard, MD

Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Do Mentor Memory Gel Implants Need to Be Replaced Every 10 Years?

There is no time limit 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'd like to change the size.
Some of the potential complications that may arise would be deflation, capsular contracture, bottoming out, or just size change. If you are happy with the size of your breast implants and are having no problems, you don't need to do anything.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,504 reviews

When to Replace Breast Implants

Silicone gel implants (from any manufacturer) only need to be replaced if a problem arises.  Assuming the devices remain intact and you're not noticing any issues, there's no reason to undergo another surgery!

As you might remember, implants filled with silicone were off the market for several years.  When they were re-approved in 2006, the FDA issued the approval cautiously.  They advised women to be aware that the devices can't be expected to last a lifetime and they recommended MRI tests every 10 years.  If you notice a change of any kind in your breasts, see your doctor.  You and he/she can determine whether an MRI would be a good idea to check the integrity of one or both implants.

Eliott Jacobs, M.D.

New York Plastic Surgeon

Elliot W. Jacobs, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Do Mentor Memory Gel Implants Need to Be Replaced Every 10 Years?

   If you are getting regular MRIs to detect silent rupture, then silicone implants do not have to replaced until clinically indicated.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Silicone gel implants do not need to be replaced every 10 years.

Silicone gel implants by any manufacturer do not need to be replaced every 10 years. They should be replaced only if there is a clinical indication to do so.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Breast Implant Lifespan

Dear Carbs,

It is interesting that an employee of Mentor is not extremely versed in their own product.  I always inform my patients that breast implants have an average lifespan of 10 years.  Being an average, there are those that will last more than 10 years and those that will last less than 10 years.  If there is no problem with the implants, they can be left in for many more years than 10.  Good luck!

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

Mentor Implants

We do not replace implants just because they reach the 10 year mark.  Implants are only replaced if a problem occurs, such as a rupture or capsular contracture.  This is a tightening of the capsule (scar tissue) around the implant.

Mark Deutsch, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Replacement of Gel Implants

You are right in that you only need to exchange the implants if there a failure of the device.  However, if you wait until there is a diagnosed rupture you are at increased risk for capsular contracture.  Surgical correction of capsular contracture is a big deal.  So waiting until a rupture has occurred is putting your body at risk.  The analogy i give my patients is you don't wait until a tire blows out to replace your tires.  You realize there is tread wear and replace them easily and conveniently.  Same with your breast implants.  Exchange them around 10 years in a simple, quick operation. 

Brian K. Reedy, MD
Reading Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Change in warranty for Mentor Memory Gel Implants

I am not aware of any change in the Mentor replacement policy but Mentor is now owned by Johnson and Johnson so it is possible that with the corporate take over policies have changes. Ask to speak to a customer service representative prior to considering using Mentor implants. I know that there has been no such change or problem with Allergan implants.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Do implants have to be changed every ten years

Implants need to be changed if and when there is a problem.  For a small percentage of patients, this may be within 10 years and, if so, the warranty would be applicable; the manufacturer would supply a new implant and you would be responsible for the surgical and facility fees.  Some patients have had implants for over 25 years without the need for replacement.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 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.