How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

By Cameron Craven, MD, FACS January 7, 2019 No Comments

breast implants life span

It’s commonly referenced that breast implants last approximately 10 years. This metric, while sometimes true, is not entirely correct. The longevity of an implant varies depending on a number of factors.

How Long Do Breast Implants Really Last?

The widely referenced 10-year lifespan of breast implants is derived from standard warranties offered by most major implant manufacturers. Many warranties that cover all or some of the cost of implant replacement surgery are valid 10 years after their surgical placement. Like appliances or cars, however, it’s common for implants to continue to last well beyond this warranty date. In fact, some breast augmentation patients will be able to enjoy their implants for over 20 years without requiring a revision procedure.

The real answer to how long breast implants last is “it depends.” The lifespan of a breast implant is dependent upon a several factors. In general, many plastic surgeons believe that implant removal or revision is unnecessary unless the patient experiences a complication or is no longer satisfied with the look and feel of their breasts.

Reasons that breast implants are removed or replaced

It’s important for a breast augmentation patient to understand why other women choose to change or remove their breast implants. Here are 5 common reasons for implant revision:

Change Breast Size

Some patients simply wish to make another change to the size or appearance of their breasts. They may decide to go with a smaller sized implant after realizing that their original implant is too large and no longer fits with their lifestyle. In other instances, the patient may wish to go larger in order to greater accentuate their chest.

Symmetry Correction

All women experience changes to their body and breasts with natural aging. Past breast augmentation patients are not immune from these changes, which may sometimes cause the breasts to become asymmetric in appearance. Some patients opt to undergo a revision procedure bring the breasts back into a more natural appearing symmetry.

Rupture

One risk of breast augmentation is the possibility of the implant shell weakening and developing a tear or rupture over time. While the chance of rupture is low, any degree of implant rupturing can result in notable changes to breast size, shape, or symmetry. The ruptured implant should be removed and replaced as quickly as possible.

Implant Repositioning

Breast implants can shift or move over time, as thinning of the breast tissue may lead to decreased support for the implant. If the implant becomes mispositioned it can negatively affect the appearance of the breasts.

Implant Rippling

Some patients may begin to notice the development of rippling, where the edges of the breast implant are able to be felt and/or seen. To correct rippling, a breast augmentation revision procedure can be performed to place the implant under the muscle.

Capsular Contracture

Capsular contracture is an uncommon complication of breast augmentation where a hardened capsule around the implant is formed. While the exact cause of capsular contracture is unknown, it is generally thought to be the body’s response to the presence of certain bacteria in the implant pocket. Capsular contracture can result in hardening of the breasts as well as shifting or distortion of the implant.

If you have concerns about breast implants, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your plastic surgeon for assessment.


Cameron Craven, MD, FACS

Cameron Craven MD, FACS is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Craven specializes in the full spectrum of cosmetic surgery including breast augmentation, liposuction and body contouring, facial rejuvenation, laser surgery, eyelid surgery, and rhinoplasty, as well as reconstructive surgery for skin cancers.


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