Should Saline Implants Be Replaced over Time-its Been 9 Years?

Breast cancer 2001 in left breast; implants placed in both breasts during reconstruction; some rippling and deformity in the right breast over the mastectory. Approximate cost?PDX area

Doctor Answers 11

If implants are otherwise doing well leave them alone for now

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If your breast implants are otherwise doing well leave them alone for now and consider replacing when necessary.

Replacing implants

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There is no specific date for you to have to change implants. In fact, some patients have them for 20 or 30 years.  If they are causing a problem then change them, otherwise I would leave them alone.

Replacing saline implants

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I agree with the previous answers. Modern saline implants have a lifetime warranty, they do not need to be replaced at any time, and if they need replacement because of failure, it should be obvious that they have failed and need replacement. Knowing whether silicone gel-filled implants need to be replaced is much more problematic. 

It's a bit more complex in breast reconstruction for cancer because of the need for cancer surveillance and insurance coverage for surgery, but it general, you should view it as your choice to revise or replace your existing implants because you want a different size, type, or position of the implant and not because they are a certain age. You can look at the cost/risk/benefit and decide for yourself whether this is worth doing when it doesn't have to be done, particularly if you are choosing it and bearing the cost directly. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon

Not unless there is a problem!

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Although the shelf-life for saline implants is reported as 10 years, unless there is a problem with your implants there is no need to replace them.

Marisa Lawrence, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Saline implant longevity

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There is some confusion in the public perception about the longevity of saline implants.  The good news is that saline implants can be left in indefinitely, as long as the appearance of the breast i satisfactory.  If the saline implant deflates there is no harm whatsoever, other than obvious decrease in breast size. Only then should replacement surgery be contemplated.

It is not necessary to replace breast implants for age, only if they are causing problems.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It appears to be a common misconception that breast implants have a "change by" date. While it is true that the FDA has recommendations for surveilance of silicone gel implants with MRI starting at 3 years, there is no such suggestion for monitoring saline implants. In general if a saline implant is comfortable, soft and still giving you the look that you want, there is no need to mess with it simply because of the age of the implant

Saline Breast Implants do NOT have Expiration dates and do NOT need to be routinely Replaced

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Breast implants do NOT have expiration numbers and do not need to be replaced unless there is a problem with them. Implant exchange is less involved than the original operation but is a real operation with real risks. If you implant is not deflated or bothering I would suggest you do nothing. If you are bothered by the rippling you may wish to consider changing them for silicone implants now or later when one or both implants leak. Dr. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Implant Replacement after Breast Reconstruction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I agree that just being in place for 9 years is not an indication for implant replacement.  However, if the rippling is bothersome, you might consider changing to silicone implants which are less likely to ripple.  This may be a covered procedure since it is related to your breast cancer reconstruction.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

No reason to replace saline implants unless there is a specific problem

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Although the FDA has required that patients be warned about the need to replace implants on a regular basis, in my experience of 20 years most of them will last quite a lot longer than 10 years. There is no reason to arbitrarily replace them like worn tires after a certain period of time, which is why they come with a lifetime replacement policy. On the other hand, if you are bothered by rippling or other issues, a revision with the possible option of silicone gel implants might be worth considering. There are other options for reconstruction revision such as Alloderm that can also be very helpful depending upon the issue.

Replacement of saline implants

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The good thing about saline implants is that you only have to replacement if you are unhappy with them and can get improvement or they leak and go flat. if you are happy with them, you do not need to replace them.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

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.