Do Silicone Breast Implants Have a Certain Life at Which Time They Should Be Changed out for New Ones?

I have had mine in for 25 years and am not experiencing any problems. Are new silicone implants better? Do they get old and need periodic replacing? I would rather avoid any unnecessary sugery.

Doctor Answers 7

Likely ruptured

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25 yo implants are likely ruptured, but contained in capsule.The capsules can get tight and cause pain, but if patients are without symptoms,they can be followed. Mammograms can show some changes around the capsule and an MRI can be used to detect rupture.

Dayton Plastic Surgeon

Silicone Implant Longevity

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You can keep your silicone implants for as long as they don't cause any problems. While the risk of rupture increases the longer you have them, you don't need to have them replaced if it's not necessary. Just make sure to have your breasts regularly checked out to detect any possible ruptures.

No need to exchange your implants

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You do NOT need to exchange your implants if you are not having any problems with them and they are not leaking.  In my opinion, removing intact implants that are not causing any problems is unnecessary surgery.

You should get mammograms as recommended by your physician, and if you ever have any questions about your implants, you should be seen by a board certified plastic surgeon.

But your implants do not have an expiration date so there's no reason to exchange them, unless they're leaking or causing a problem.

Older silicone implants

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Implants do not have a specific “expiration date”, and at some point they will need to be replaced.  The current FDA approved silicone implants are made with a newer sophisticated cohesive gel.  You may want visit with a plastic surgeon to review your options and to determine if you would benefit from an additional surgery.


Breast Implant time spand...

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Silicone implants are becoming more and more common because of their natural feel and durability.  The answer to your question may depend on who you ask, but I don't feel that implants that are functioning well with no complications need to be removed just because they are old.  The body grows a tough connective tissue capsule around the implant and as long as the capsule is soft, it can last forever.  With certain types of trauma, the newer implants have a lower chance of rupturing so some people change them out to avoid that problem, or to change the size of the implants, or lift the breasts some.  If you`re not experiencing any issues with the implant then it is perfectly safe to let them be for now.  If you have any concerns be sure to see a board certified plastic surgeon.

Silicone Implant LIfespan

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My main goal is to avoid any unnecessary surgery for my patients too! Todays cohesive gel implants have a longer lifespan than saline implants, and the risk of rupture at ten years is about half that of saline implants. We are awaiting more long term data to compare to saline, but suspect that there performance edge remains even at greater time intervals of 15 or 20 years. Therefore, silicone gel is the more durable implant in addition to being softer and smoother feeling.

Because ruptured silicone gel implants do not deflate, it cannot be detected by the patient or her doctor on physical exam, and would require either an MRI or ultrasound to make the diagnosis.  The FDA's newest recommendation is to discuss with your doctor about when you should evaluate your implants after surgery, and what interval after that to re-evalutate. Suspected implant rupture based on results from MRI or ultrasound should prompt consideration of replacing them for new implants. This is a complex subject and should be discussed with your doctor. What is important to know is that a ruptured silicone gel implant is not a health hazard!

Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Shelf life of silicone breast implants

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This is a difficult question to answer and I am sure you will get lots of opinions. I do think that the silicone gel implants being used today are better than the ones that were being used 25 years ago. That being said, I am of the persuasion that if it isn't broke, don't fix it. I do not think that there is a definite shelf life or expiration date for breast implants and yet they are not intended to be lifetime devices either. I advise my patients to replace the implants if they are having problems, need a breast lift, have a capsular contracture, or simply want to change the type of implants that they currently have. If there are no problems, I do not think that it unsafe to keep what you already own. I have completed cadaver dissections during my graduate school, medical school, and residency on 85-90 year old women who had breast implants still in perfect condition. I doubt that they had the implants placed during their 70's, so it is completely reasonable to assume that an implant can last up to 50-60 years without causing problems. 

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 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.