Making the decision to undergo breast augmentation surgery is a big deal. It’s exciting and life-changing but it is also a major procedure, so it’s only natural to want the results to last for as long as possible.
According to manufacturers, breast implants are designed to last for around 10 years and while this is generally a good guideline, there are a few factors that can alter this timeline.
Understanding Breast Implant Longevity
Most online sources will state that breast implants have a 10-year lifespan because that is what the manufacturer’s warranty states. Any breast implant warranty that covers all or some of the costs of replacement surgery is usually valid for 10 years after the primary procedure.
With that being said, most implants last for much longer than that, so it doesn’t mean that you should definitely bargain on replacing or removing your implants after the first decade. In many instances, women only need to consider replacing or removing their implants after two decades.
While there are no guarantees that your implants will last this long, taking the time to find a reputable breast augmentation clinic such as Dr. Anh does make a difference.
In a nutshell, the answer to how long your breast implants will really last is “it depends.”
The majority of surgeons won’t remove or replace a breast implant unless the patient is experiencing complications or no longer wants the implants.
Let’s look at the most common reasons why breast implants are removed or replaced.
Why Breast Implants are Removed or Replaced
Whether you’re considering breast augmentation surgery or have already scheduled your procedure, it does help to know why women choose to have their implants changed or removed. These are the most common reasons for implant revision.
1. A Change in Size
Some patients realize that they wish to change the size or appearance of their breasts after their primary augmentation surgery. There are patients who realize that their original implants are either too big or too small, while others come to find that their chosen size no longer fits in with their lifestyle.
2. Uneven Breasts
It’s not uncommon for the breasts to change with age – it’s a natural part of the ageing process. Unfortunately, breast augmentation patients are not immune to these changes and their breasts can often become asymmetrical over time. Many women choose to undergo revision surgery so that they can achieve a more even appearance again.
3. One of the Implants Has Ruptured
While this isn’t always the case, as an implant ages, there is a higher risk of the implant shell tearing or rupturing as it weakens. Any kind of tear in the implant will affect the size, shape and symmetry of the breasts. A ruptured implant will need to be removed as soon as possible, particularly if it’s silicone. Saline implant ruptures are far more noticeable because the breast shape and size tends to change quite rapidly. Fortunately, the saline isn’t harmful but the implant still needs to be removed.
Gummy implants have become a popular choice because they offer a natural look and feel and the silicone gel will stay in place even if the implant ruptures. It will still need to be removed though because there is still a risk of the silicone entering the bloodstream eventually.
4. An Implant Has Moved
It is possible for one or both of the implants to move over time. This generally happens when the breast tissue becomes thin and can no longer fully support the implant. Naturally, if the implant moves, it will affect the appearance of the breast, which means revision surgery will be necessary.
5. An Implant Has Rippled
Rippling is another complication that can develop over time. Rippling is when the edges of an implant can be seen or felt through the skin. Unfortunately, rippling can only be corrected by placing the implant underneath the chest muscle, so a second procedure will be required.
6. Capsular Contracture
This is another uncommon complication but it is still possible. Capsular contracture refers to an implant that has hardened due to a scar tissue capsule forming around it. It’s still not entirely clear why capsular contracture occurs but some research suggests that it’s due to bacteria that form in the implant pocket. If capsular contracture occurs, the breasts not only become hard but the implant tends to become distorted too. This can be a very painful complication that can only be corrected with revision surgery.
If you are interested in breast augmentation but are concerned about your recovery or the longevity of your results, your best course of action is to schedule an appointment with a qualified surgeon who can answer all of your questions and address your concerns in person.