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A 36-year-old member asked:

how often do replace breast implants?

17 doctor answers38 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bryan McIntosh
Plastic Surgery 19 years experience
As Needed: Breast implant failure is generally the most significant reason for their replacement. Saline implant failure results in a breast with a sudden loss in volume and decrease in size. Silicone gel implant failure may have pain or no symptoms at all, and can be diagnosed with an mri. Otherwise, significant scarring around the implant causing breast deformity may require implant exchange.
Dr. Francisco Agullo
Plastic Surgery 20 years experience
As needed: There is not an specific time frame to replace implants. Reasons to replace would be rupture, leaking, capsular contracture, desire for size change.
Dr. Todd Sisto
Breast Surgery 37 years experience
When the tread : Is less than 1/4 ". Just kidding: they're not tires, but the answer is the same: not till they're worn out. If i'd said "every 5 yrs, " would you comply? 'course not. Having said that, saline implants often fail in about 10 yrs. I've not seen a single silicone device fail since the new tech became available on the study in 2000. All plastic surgeons began general use in 2006 & no bad that ive heard.
Dr. Annette Occhialini
Plastic Surgery 36 years experience
Only if problems: Most implants only require replacement if you are having a problem. This may mean a hardening of the feel of the breast, rupture, displacement. If you have a concern you should consult a plastic surgeon who can examin and guide you.
Dr. Otto Placik
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
When needed: There is a popular internet "belief" that implants should be replaced every 10 years but his has no basis in scientific validity. Saline & silicone implants have varying rupture rates cited from 3- 20% at 10 years. Gernerally my personal advice is to leave saline implants unless there is a reason to remove (rupture, exposure, contracture, size change or malposition). Silicone require MRI to assess.
Dr. Jason Lichten
Plastic Surgery 23 years experience
When needed: People have heard that you need to change the implants every 10 years. In reality, you only need to change the implants if there is a problem. On average, about 1 in 5 women will have a second surgery on their breast implants within 10 years, whether saline or silicone. Silicone do last longer.
Dr. Otto Placik
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
When indicated: Although there are many rumors on the internet to remove or change implants every 10 years, this is essentially a recommendation that is not based on any sound research, saline and silicone implants have different rupture rates. Essentially i advise my patients to remove implants when indicated for: rupture, exposure, deflation, displacement, size change, contracture, pocket change, shape change, .
Dr. Marguerite Barnett
Plastic Surgery 42 years experience
It depends: Implants rupture at different rates and no one has kept registries to follow which are more like to rupture or determine average lifespans. Based on my thirty years' experience, gels rupture faster than salines. Generally by 15-20 years they are really leaky if not ruptured and gel ruptures can cause trouble so if you have gels, replace before then or sooner if you have any troubles.
Dr. Barry Handler
Plastic Surgery 32 years experience
When Needed: Agree with those who say replace implants when needed. This usually means at the time of treatment for capsular contracture if the implants are old, at the time of deflation if the implants are saline or if a rupture is detected if the implants are silicone. Agree very few 20 yr old gel implants have intact shells. The fda official stance is that broken gel implants should be removed or replaced.
Dr. Alex Lechtman
Plastic Surgery 30 years experience
When they break: In general, you replace them when they break. The reps say they last about 13-15 years.
Dr. Otto Placik
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
No routine time: There is no routine recommendation, genrally speaking implants should be removed when indicated for rupture, deflation, leakage, size change, capsular contracture, asymmetry, elective choice, pain, fibrosis, infection, ptosis, malposition, etc, etc, etc.
Dr. Carmen Kavali
Plastic Surgery 25 years experience
No expiration date: Breast implants have an average life span of 12-ish years. But if you are doing fine and having no problems, you may keep yours much longer. There is no set time for implant replacement, just when there is a problem.
Dr. Joseph Mele
Plastic Surgery 32 years experience
When the break: There is no arbitrary date when breast implants need to be changed. The most common reasons for replacement include a desire to change size, leakage or severe capsular contracture. If there are no problems with your breast implants, and you are happy with the results, they do not need to be replaced. In other words: if it's not broken; dont fix it!
Dr. Matthew Goldschmidt
Plastic Surgery 22 years experience
When needed: Most believe that saline implants will last 8-12 years before deflating and needing replacement. However, if you are not having any problems or noticeable changes, replacement may not be necessary. Silicone gel implants may last longer and no long term data is available yet to determine how long they will last. You should always see your surgeon to insure that you receive the best information.
Dr. Jeffrey Roth
Plastic Surgery 41 years experience
Depends: Implants are not forever devices. Having said that, you don't have to take them out at ten years as was once more the norm. This came from the old silicone implants having a leak of 50% at ten years. The current leak rate is about 3 to 5% at ten years, (depending on who you read). Best to see your board certified plastic surgeon if you have any questions about your particular implants.
Dr. Archibald Miller
Plastic Surgery 41 years experience
Implant changes: The saline andgel implants have no specific ages that they rupture. Implants for the most part break at "fold faults".These faults eventually result in a crack that results in leakage. Saline implants completely deflate, and the newest "gummy bear implants" gradually expose the capsular tissues to the very viscous materials inside them.
Dr. Jeremy White
Plastic Surgery 16 years experience
If problems arise: Breast implants don't have a set time at which they must be replaced. Problems can arise at times that require additional surgery, such as for capsular contracture and implant rupture. If there are no problems, the implants do not need to be changed.

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A 29-year-old member asked:

What are the risk in getting breast implants?

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Generally safe: Breast augmentation is generally a safe procedure. Like any other surgery there are risks of complications including bleeding, infection, breast symmetry, capsullar contracture, and implant rupture.
A 36-year-old member asked:

What is something you feel someone should know before getting breast implants?

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Dr. Valentin Drezaliu
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Needs massage: It is very serious. After implants are placed massaging them every day is a way of preventing scar tissue formation, there is a special technique for massage that your plastic surgeon will explain to you.
A 32-year-old member asked:

Is it true that breast implants feel like rocks after 30 years?

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Dr. Robert Alexander
Plastic Surgery 27 years experience
No: The cause of implants becoming very firm has to do with tightening of the capsule that forms around them. This contracture can be painful, and cause very hard, painful, & unnatural breasts. Not all patients have this happen, and some have it early after implant placement. It is common to replace the implants every 7-10 years due to implant failures.
A 33-year-old member asked:

Should my friend be concerned about skydiving with breast implants?

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Dr. Otto Placik
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
Go for it: If proper techniques and equipment are used, this shoud not be a problem.
A 46-year-old member asked:

Why wasn't I told in my 30s the hassle of having breast implants later in life?

7 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 52 years experience
Many reasons: There is strong motivation to get breast implants and many patients dont want to hear the negatives. There is a good monetary pay out to the surgeon, who might slant the conversation in favor of surgery. If you are having hassles with the implants after a number of years, you should see a breast surgeon as the implants can rupture, encapsulate and get hard, migrate or become unshapely.

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Last updated May 9, 2018

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