How Long do Breast Implants Last?

Breast implants can drastically improve and transform the size, shape and symmetry of your breasts. If you have decided to undergo a breast augmentation and get implants, congratulations! While this is undoubtedly an exciting time in your life, you may be left with a variety of questions as your surgery date draws nearer.

One common question many breast augmentation patients ask is how long their breast implants will last. The short answer: it depends! Some implants will last a lifetime, whereas others need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years (or sooner) due to complications. Below we’ll go over a number of factors that will help determine how long your breast implants will last.

Is there any Visible Rippling?
Oftentimes, due to hormonal changes and overall wear and tear, breast implants show visible rippling, or bumpiness through the skin. For aesthetic reasons, you may choose to replace these, although they do not pose any health risk. If your implants are below the muscle, this may be more difficult to spot, increasing the life of your implants. Additionally, rippling occurs more often with saline implants than with silicone implants.

Are the Implants Leaking?
Saline implants pose almost no safety risk in the event of a leak or breakage, as the saltwater will be simply absorbed by your body. A leak can be quickly noticed since the breast will deflate, but no pain will be present. A silicone implant leak could cause short-term pain to the breast area. Silicone will also be absorbed by your body. The silicone gel tends to leak at a slower rate than saline, so a leak could take days or months to even notice. Like saline implants, they will need to be replaced.

Are you Experiencing Any Pain?
If you are not experiencing any pain or discomfort, there is likely no need to replace them at all. On the contrary, pain could be the sign of a leaking implant or an excess of scar tissue. In these cases, your implant will need to be replaced.

In conclusion, while breast implants can last much longer than their expected shelf life, implants aren’t guaranteed to last a lifetime. You may need to have them removed or replaced for a variety of reasons. The best way to ensure their longevity is to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon like those at Mia Aesthetics, and to follow all postoperative instructions.