Could Silicone Breast Implants Have Moved After 36 Years?

I feel large lumps on the side of my breast and I am wondering if my implant moved. I had a mammogram 2 weeks ago. Could that have done it?

Doctor Answers 14

Old silicone gel implants

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You have driven 100,000 miles on 30,000 mile tires.  It is high time to see a plastic surgeon to evaluate your implants.  Failing to do so could cause you great health risks.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Could Silicone Breast Implants Have Moved After 36 Years?

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This sounds suspicious for implant rupture with possible extracapsular spread. I would review the mammogram resutls and meet with a plastic surgeon.

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

Silicone implants

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Silicone or saline implants can move and like one of the other doctors said you may have a leak.  But I would get the lumps evaluated.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

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Movement of 36 year old silicone implants

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Yes, they could have moved.  Moreover, if they have been in that long, they have most likely sustained a leak.  I would go to a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and be evaluated.  At this point they most likely  should be removed and replaced.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

After 36 years gel implant replacement is in order

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It is very unlikely that a silicone gel breast implant will withstand 36 years of daily wear. The implant material can often move as the implant ruptures with the development of smaller silicone cysts which are called granulomas. These late changes of implant rupture may be evident on your recent mammogram. With an implant this old, and the change in shape and lumps you describe, it is not worth further investigation with an MRI study. The time has come for an implant replacement.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Older silicone implants may need replacement

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The older style liquid silicone filled implants were designed with thin shells- and do have a tendency to fragment and leak over time. Every surgeon has removed them. The newest generation of cohesive silicone gel implants are far superior, and should perform much more reliably. It appears that your problems started after the mammogram- it possible that the mammogram itself accelerated the demise of your implants (by squeezing them...). Seek out a board certified plastic surgeon- get an MRI, or ultrasound, and thnk about have your lumpy implants removed and replaced.

It is likely that 36 year old silicone implants are no longer intact

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After 12-15+ years, there is a higher chance that silicone gel implants will "fail".  The lumps that you are feeling may well represent scar tissue surrounding the implants that is a normal reaction to the foreign material of the implant, and possibly a reaction to silicone gel that has leaked out of the implants, quite possible after 36 years.

It can occasionally occur that the trauma associated with  a mammogram can contribute to rupture of an older implant that is already vulnerable.  More often however, the implant has already failed and the mammogram merely demonstrates that further.

David J. Levens, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Thirty year old silicone gel implants with lumps are presumed broken with silicone granulomas

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Silicone gel implants that are thirty years old were very thin walled liquid gel implants and almost all of them have leaked or broken with subsequent capsular contraction making them hard and probably displace from their original position. I agree that a work up is important including an MRI. Unless there is evidence of a separate mass with calcification suggesting a cancer, I would not have a biopsy.

I would recommend that you have a plastic surgeon with experience with this kind of problem remove the capsule, silicone granulomas and the broken or leaking implants. If every thing seems to be consistent with what I described then you could have new implants placed, a breast lift or a implant and lift at the same time. Unless you are fed up with breast implants or you have gotten bigger in your breast, you probably will not be happy unless you replace them. Also a lift would most probably be helpful after thirty years and may be some kids. 

Carl W. "Rick" Lentz III, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

36 year old implants should probably be replaced

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It is possible that the mammogram made a tear in the scar capsule around the implant, which could cause the lumps to appear. In all likelihood, implants from that vintage are not intact especially given your description and would need to be replaced. Implants today are made very differently.

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

Broken implants

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Sounds like the implants are broken and you feel lumps of silicone. You need to make sure it is nothing else and seek care from a plastic surgeon.

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

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