If you're happy with your recent breast implants, you may assume that's the end of the story. But even the best-quality saline and silicone implants don't last forever, and the younger you are when you first get breast implants, the more likely you are to require replacement somewhere down the line. But just how often should your breast implants be replaced? Learn more about some of the individual factors that go into this decision.
Do Breast Implants "Expire"?
Contrary to popular belief, breast implants don't have an expiration date and don't "go bad" after a certain amount of time in the body. However, both saline and silicone implants have some potential complications that can necessitate replacement. For example, in silicone implants, if the implant "shell" is ruptured, silicone may spill out into the surrounding tissue. In an attempt to contain this spill, the body will form scar tissue around the leaking silicone in a process known as encapsulation. Left unattended, encapsulation can cause painful lumps that may affect your breast's appearance or even impact the ability to have your implants replaced with new ones.
Saline implants don't carry the same risk of encapsulation as silicone implants, but the harmless saline inside these implants may slowly leak out over time, eventually giving the implants a deflated look.
How Often Should Your Implants Be Replaced?
Many use the decade mark as a rule of thumb, arguing that breast implants should be replaced at least once every 10 years. But for those who get breast implants at age 20 and live to age 80, this can mean six or more surgeries. And as medical technology continues to advance, the likelihood of longer-lasting future breast implants increases.
With that in mind, the replacement timeline becomes a much more individual decision. In some cases, breast implants can last, without problems, for 20 to 30 years or more. In other situations, especially those involving patients with autoimmune disorders or other conditions that can lead to the body's attempt to reject the implants, implants may need to be replaced even more frequently than once every 10 years.
The decision of when (or if) to replace your implants will therefore largely depend on your overall health, whether you're having any complications with your implants, your satisfaction with the way your implants look and feel, and your budget. If there's no pressing need to replace your implants, it can often be worthwhile to wait a few years so that technology can continue to advance and the implants you eventually receive are as up-to-date and medically sophisticated as possible. For more information about breast augmentation, contact a cosmetic surgeon today.