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Breast Implant Replacement

The Cleavage Chronicles:  Will I Need to Replace My Silicone or Saline Implants?

If you are considering undergoing breast augmentation surgery or have had breast augmentation surgery, you may be wondering if you will need to replace your saline or silicone implants in the future.  The short answer:  maybe.

As with most things in life, there are no guarantees.  The same can be said for the longevity and permanence of almost any cosmetic procedure. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends replacing silicone and saline breast implants every 10-20 years.  However, most implants last up to 20 years, on average.  While some women may go their entire lives without ever having to replace their breast implants, others will need to replace their aftermarket set within 7 to 10 years.  It really just depends and there are a few factors to consider, including how well a woman’s body reacts to the implants, wear and tear, following proper post-op procedures, lifestyle habits, getting breast exams, etc.  High-quality, properly placed implants don’t come with an expiration date, but they’re also not guaranteed to last forever.  After all, breast implants are man-made devices and just like parts on a car or in a computer, they may become faulty or damaged and will need to be replaced or removed in due time.

Here are the top tell-tale signs a woman may need to consider a boob job re-boot:

  • Capsular Contracture

Very common amongst athletic, highly active women, this cosmetic complication occurs when scar tissue envelops the implant and hardens, causing discomfort and a tightening sensation.  

  • Rupturing

As mentioned earlier, even the highest of quality implants are not immune to wear and tear, damage, or accidents. Even the slightest hole or tear in the shell of the saline or silicone implant will eventually cause leakage into the rest of the body.  This could lead to numerous health issues and deflated implants.  When saline implants become physically damaged, they leak rather quickly, unlike their silicone counterparts that may take months to become noticeably deflated.  Saline solution has far less viscosity than silicone.  

  • Rippling

When implants become compromised or worn, an unmistakable rippling effect may be seen and felt.  This is indicative that the shell of the implant is beginning to lose resiliency and the contents its once-buoyant bounce.  

  • Shifting

Gravity, the normal aging process, weight fluctuations, breastfeeding, and pregnancy can cause nipple diversion and asymmetry of the breasts, necessitating a surgical pick-me-up for your implants.

How Things Stack Up

The aforementioned are the most common complications that can adversely impact your cleavage’s aesthetic.  Some women may never experience any of these complications, while others may need to replace their implants a few times over the course of their lives.  Although an unprecedented number of breast implant manufacturers now offer lifetime warranties, most women should simply expect their surgically enhanced bustline to have an inevitable shelf life, requiring a revision at some point.  If, on the other hand, they’re holding up and performing well with no signs of complications, health-wise or aesthetically, it’s not recommended to undergo breast implant replacement surgery. 

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Contact our office for more information about how to treat gynecomastia. Dr. Jaime Schwartz, a board-certified plastic surgeon, will talk to you about your needs and help you achieve your aesthetic goals.