Do Risks of Breast Implant Rejection and Infection Increase with Age?

I'm 37 years old. I'm thinking of having a procedure, Breast Implant with Breast Lift. I'm worried if I would get infection or rejection of implant since I'm not young and healthy due to age.

I have my ear cartilage pierced for almost 3 years for now but even now, cartilage earring keeps getting infected so many times.

Can this be a clue to my high chances of complication? This sounds like a stupid question but I'm really curious to know since its big deal for me to get this surgery.

Doctor Answers 18

Age does not increase breast implant risks

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37 is young! You are the prime age to get breast implants and enjoy the results. Women who have had children and watched their breasts shrink and sag are the happiest group of patients who choose breast implants or implants with uplift.

The human body does not reject breast implants. The materials that go into an implant are not recognized as foreign and no rejection process takes place.

Infections around breast implants is a rarity. I have performed thousands of breast implants over a 30 year period and have seen only 2 infections. You should not have any focus of infection in your body at the time of surgery. I would suggest removing the piercing and allowing the infection to clear completely before getting the breast implants.

Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

No increased risk from breast implants for healthy patients

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Someone as young as yourself, who is in good health, is no increased risk for infection from a breast augmentation. 

Risk factors for infection include: diabetes, chronic mastitis (breast infections), and smoking.  If you are in good health, then your age is not a problem.

Robert M. Jensen, MD
Medford Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Breast Implant risks do not increase with age

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37 isn't old, and certainly not a cause for ill health.

The earring should be removed and left out before you lose your ear. My professional opinion is that you should not put a hole in any cartilage.

Breast Implants per se don't get rejected. Infections do occur but if you are in good health, the risk is acceptable.


Breast Implant and Lift in the Elderly

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I would hardly consider 37 old age, unless you have some significant underlying medical conditions that you have not told us about.  Othewise, increasing age does not increase your chance of infection or implant rejection. 

There is really no such thing as implant rejection per se.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Breasts implants and breast lift do great at age 37.

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You don't really think you are old , do you?  In New York City, we do breast lift and breast implants on women in their 60's, and they do great.

By the way, breast implants do not get rejected at any age.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Does age affect the risk of infection with breast implants?

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Hi there-

There is no reason to believe that increased age increases your risk of infection, or any other complication, with breast implants, with or without a breast lift.

As long as you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure, and do not have other problems that DO increase your risk of problems, such as diabetes, a history of smoking, the need for medications that complicate healing, etc, your risk of problems should be low regardless of age.

I would also agree that because you have had recurrent problems in the past, that if you do proceed with breast augmentation you remove the problematic earring, as an infection in another part of your body WILL increase your risk at surgery.

I hope that helps, and that you enjoy your new breasts!

Risks with breast implants and lifts

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If you are otherwise healthy, the risks do not go up with age for breast implants and lifts. The tissues are worse to work with and sometimes the expectations are surprisingly higher than you might expect but the risks are the same.

As has been said any chronic infection in your body will increase your risk of infection of an implant so the ear piercing needs to come out and heal over. It might even need debridement becasue cartilage has such a low blood flow that it often can't clear up an infection without excising the bad part.

Relationship of Breast Implant Complications with Age

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Your risks of problems at 37 years of age should be quite low assuming that you are relatively healthy. You mention that you are not healthy. If this is due to diabetes, smoking, heart disease, etc., then you probably do have increased risks. I do not feel that the problem with your ear piercing has any bearing on this. It is, I agree, most likely due to a metal allergy.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

No such thing as breast implant rejection

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In general, the risk of complications from surgery of any type increase with age, but only because older people are often less healthy. At 37, you are certainly not in that category. The term "rejection" implies some sort of allergic response which isn't the case with medical grade silicone, so I don't see any reason to infer that your problem with metal earrings should affect your decision about implants.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Implant rejection and infection

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The ear problem may be more an indication of an allergic reaction to the metal than a true infection. Infections of the ear cartilage are serious and difficult to treat.

Infections in other parts of the body can increase the possibility of an implant infection so these definitely should be treated prior to placement of an implant.

Your overall physiologic health is more relevant to the healing process than your chronologic age. IF you are in good general health, there should be no increased risk of infection with advancing years.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.