Do implants need to be replaced after a few years?

Doctor Answers 9

Implants may not last you a lifetime.

Thank you for your question! Implants are not lifetime devices, and there is no way to predict until when a particular implant will last. But, it is a misconception and not based on any evidence that implants will only last 10-15 years or that they need to be replaced after that period of time. They do not have an expiry date and they do not need to be replaced if there is nothing wrong with them. However, it is true that many women require a revision/replacement surgery on an average of 10-15 years which could be due to a ruptured/deflated implant, a desire to go “bigger,” a Grade ¾ capsular contracture, bottoming out, etc. You should also realize that 10-15 years is a number associated with the older generation of implants which were less resistant to rupture than those currently on the market. In fact, breast implant manufacturers such as Allergan and Mentor offer lifetime warranties with their implants. That being said, multiple studies have shown that saline and silicone gel implants have individual rates of failure that averages around 1%/year. This means that in 14 years, the likelihood of implant failure will be 14%.  For saline implants, it is easier to know if they have deflated as the breast will spontaneously get smaller than the opposite breast. The saline solution or “salt-water” will be harmless as it is absorbed by your body.  In the case of a silicone implant, it is difficult to detect the rupture just by looking at or palpating the breast, and will require a radiologic study like an MRI for positive diagnosis. This is why, patients with silicone implants are asked to visit their surgeon regularly to make sure the implants are in good condition and to have MRI scan at 2-3 year intervals as per FDA recommendations. Hope this helps.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 469 reviews

Implant replacment

Patients will have it in their heads that they need to have their implants changed after a certain number of years. There are some that last a lifetime and others that have had many operations to correct their issues. I always tell patients that the literature suggests that most patients will ultimately have more than one operation in their lifetime. But  if "they ain't broke, they don't need to be fixed.'

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Do Implants Need to be Replaced After a few Years?

Hopefully when you first got your breast implants your surgeon informed you of the likelihood that at some point you may need to have breast revision surgery and for many women that is around the ten year mark. However, if you are not having any issues you do not need to have your implants replaced. I do recommend that you have a check up with your surgeon before your ten year anniversary. See my blog on this at the link below. Good luck.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Do implants need to be replaced after a few years?

nno. As long as you do not have complications and are happy with your breast implants that remain soft there is no reason to change them.  There is confusion about FDA guidelines which suggest that implants are not permanent devices and some data is  suggesting that implants may need to be replaced at 10 years.  There is no scientific evidence to document that this is necessary.  In my practice of the implants are soft movable and you are happy with the implants I do not replace them.

Change of implants

In generel the implants will not change.

Mostly implants will be replaced to change from a smaller size to a bigger one or in some health cases.

Ozge Ergun, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Do implants need to be replaced after a few years?

There is no time limit as to when or if you need to exchange your breast implants. I have heard from patients that they have heard that breast implants need to be changed every 10 years. The only reason you need to exchange your breast implants is if you are having a problem with them or if you would like to change the size.
Some of the potential complications that may arise would be deflation, leakage, capsular contracture, displacement problems, or just size change. If you are happy with the size of your breast implants and are having no problems, you don't need to do anything.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Do Implants Need to be Replaced After a Few Years?

The answer is no.  The most common reason implants are replaced is to change size.  Implants are very strong, and there is less chance of rupture with the new cohesive gel implants.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

When Do Breast Implants Need to be Replaced

The job of a breast implant is to enhance the appearance of the breast.  If the breast implant is intact and doing that job, then it doesn't need to be changed.  If a saline implant fails it goes flat.  If a silicone implant she'll fails it's really hard to tell.  The most common means of detecting silicone rupture is a mammogram but that's not all too accurate.  An MRI is the best method but it's not usually covered by insurance.  

In in the end, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Samuel Beran, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Breast implants do not need to be replaced after a few years

It's a good question; in fact, t's one of the biggest myths about breast implants. Breast implants only need to be replaced if they deflate (saline) or rupture (silicone), and they’re not fragile. Through the years, manufacturers have increased the strength of the implant shell; in my experience, only about 3 percent or less of implants break. I recently removed saline implants from a woman who wanted to go bigger after 19 years, and her implants looked the same as the day I put them in. For more information on this and similar topics, I recommend a plastic surgery Q&A book like "The Scoop On Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths."

Ted Eisenberg, DO, FACOS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 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.