I had implants put in 12 years ago after having 3 children. How long can they stay?

Is there a time frame to implants? I would never consider being without them. However if I need to replace can they be corrected. They have been lopsided since day one, and seem to far under my arms. Bathing suits are impossible I fall out on the sides. How much would something like this cost?

Doctor Answers 11

Implant revision

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Thank you for your question and photos.  It might be time for you to consider a breast lift to correct for the asymmetry and sagging that has occurred with time.  Please be seen in person by a board certified plastic surgeon to determine what the cost of your specific procedure will be.

All the best,

Dr. Results
Miami, FL

Implant revision

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There is no specific time limit for implants to be removed.  If you are having issues like lateral displacement and possibly needing a lift, then a revision is reasonable.  Best of luck.  

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

Breast lift with breast implants

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Thanks for posting your question. I am happy to try and help you. It is important to remember that a board certified plastic surgeon will be your best resource when it comes to an accurate assessment of your situation, and concerns.

Having said that, if your breast implant has not deflated you have nothing to worry about. You will know when it fails. Then you will have to have a breast implant exchange. You are a candidate for a breast lift if you like.

Best wishes,

Dr. Michael J. Brown
Northern Virginia Plastic Surgeon

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There is no set time interval for implant replacement

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Despite rumors on the internet about having to replace implants at time intervals (10 years is often mentioned), there is no need or reason to replace implants at all unless they fail, or you wish to revise shape or size, or sag, etc.  It is easy to tell when saline fails. and the manufacturers will provide a new implant (Mentor will provide both---not sure about Natrelle) upon a failure for the rest of your life, with monetary reimbursement during the first 10 years, as well.  For silicone the warranties are different, and diagnosing implant failure is more difficult as MRI is needed, and has about a 15% rate of false positive finding due to technical limitations.  You fall into the category where you may wish to electively replace implants at the time of a revision to correct a symmetry issue, but that is up to you, and not the age of the implants.  Lateral stretch of the pockets can be corrected, but requires an experienced plastic surgeon, as the repair is technically demanding. I hope that this helps. Information concerning revision for lateral implant displacement is found at the link that follows:

Thomas M. DeWire Sr., MD (retired)
Richmond Plastic Surgeon

Implant exchange

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Hi, klisa723.  Thanks for your question and photo.  Implants can stay as long as you do not have "problems (rupture or bad capsule)" with implants.  If you want to have better shape or go larger or smaller, you can definitely get implant exchange. Depending on your goal, you may need implant exchange with lift.  The cost of surgery differs by surgeons' expertise, location, and duration of surgery.  Please consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to learn about your options and pricing.  Best wishes.

How long can implants stay?

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While there is no definite lifespan for implants, the longer they are in, the more likely they are to change.  Especially after 12 years and 3 children, your breasts enlarge and shrink back with pregnancy hormones, weight changes and time.  Moving toward the armpit area is fairly common.  Saline implants don't last as long as gels- At some point after 10 years, it is very common to have them upgraded.

An exam and consultation with a plastic surgeon would be necessary as it appears you will need internal work to move the implants back toward the center, new implants (gels would be recommended), picking the best size/style, and possibly a lift for more evenness.  After in depth discussion of your options (to determine if anything further is recommended) and resulting surgical plan, a proper estimate could be provided.

Breast Implants

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Thank you for your question about breast implants.

Yes, breast implants can be changed when needed.  There is not set time limit on how long they might last.  Yes, modifications can be made at the time of breast implant exchange.

To be sure, see two or more experienced, board-certified Plastic Surgeons in your area for a complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have breast implant surgery.

I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

When To Change Implants

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The most common reasons to change implants is size, capular contracture, deflation or positioning.  We have a lot of patients having saline implants changed out for the new cohesive gels for a more natural feel.  Based on the photo you shared, you could benefit from a breast lift to reshape the breast for a pleasing cosmetic result.  Best wishes!

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Time limit for breast implants

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Thanks for your question. There is a common misperception out there that breast implants need to be replaced every ten years. There is a warranty period that lasts ten years but no expiration date for the life of the implant. As long as your are happy with the size and the position of the breast on the chest wall, nothing needs to be done. Common reasons to re-operate that many years later are for change in size or the addition of a lift as the breasts have settled after childbirth. You are describing a common late change in augmented breasts where the skin has stretched from the implant weight and changing size of the breasts from childbirth. With 12 year old implants, I would recommend changing them to new ones if any fix is contemplated. Procedures such as capsulorraphy where the capsule is sutured tighter are sometimes effective in holding the implant towards the middle of your chest. A breast lift would also help. Some would argue that a more definitive treatment for the migration issue is to place a piece of strattice in the side of the pocket. While that makes the surgery cost more, in my hands, the correction is more reliable. Costs are variable depending on talent, experience and location of the surgeon. Good luck

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Implant Shelf Life

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Implants have no set shelf life, and if you are happy with the way they look and feel there is no medical or safety benefit to surgery, in fact surgery has costs and risks! If you chose to have another surgery, a lift and pocket revision would be the best way to move your entire breast higher and more medial on your chest. Seek multiple consults from board certified plastic surgeons specializing in breast enhancement. Best of luck.

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.