Breast Augmentation

Make a Long-Range Plan for Your Breast Augmentation

woman in white shirt

Breast implants are not considered lifetime medical devices, and their longevity can vary from person to person. On average, a woman can expect her breast implants to last approximately 10 to 20 years, but there are several factors that can influence how long they remain in good condition.

When having breast augmentation, it is important to think about what you might want to do with your implants down the road. For a variety of reasons, you may want to remove or replace them at some point in the future. According to the FDA, between 20 to 40 percent of breast augmentation patients will have revision, replacement or removal surgery within the first 8 to 10 years after they received their implants.

Here are some of the key factors that affect the lifespan of breast implants:

Implant Characteristics

The type of breast implant you choose can impact its durability. There are two main types: saline and silicone gel implants. Silicone gel implants tend to have a longer lifespan and a more natural feel compared to saline implants, but some women feel more comfortable with an implant containing sterile salt water instead of silicone.

The quality and construction of breast implants is heavily regulated since they are medical devices that need to be cleared by the FDA. For this reason, there is not considerable variation in implant quality or longevity among the main brands available in the United States. However, if you have breast augmentation outside of the U.S., you will want to pay particular attention to the brand and model of implant the surgeon is recommending.

Implant size can also play a role. Larger and heavier implants may experience more stress on the surrounding tissues and may have a higher risk of complications over time. The implant’s shape and how it interacts with your body’s tissues also can play a role.

Surgical Factors

The skill and experience of the surgeon performing your breast augmentation surgery can influence the risk of complications and the lifespan of the implants. In addition, the placement of the implants can affect your risk of capsular contracture or other complications. Submuscular (under the chest muscle) placement may provide better long-term support and reduce the risk of complications compared to subglandular (over the muscle) placement.

Post-Surgical Considerations

One of the main reasons implants may be replaced soon after an initial breast augmentation surgery is capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is the formation of scar tissue around the implant, which can cause discomfort and distort the appearance of the breasts. It may lead to the need for implant removal or replacement.

Implant rupture is a potential complication with both saline and silicone gel implants. Ruptures can occur due to wear and tear or traumatic injury. If a silicone gel implant ruptures, it may not be immediately noticeable, and for this reason, regular monitoring is recommended.

Assuming you, like the vast majority of women who choose breast augmentation, have a good result and no complications after surgery, there still may come a time when you are considering replacing your implants. Natural aging and changes in breast tissue can affect the appearance of the breasts and the integrity of the implants. Lifestyle factors such as weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and breastfeeding can impact how your breasts look, and even if your breast implants do not pose any issues, you may decide that they no longer fit your lifestyle or image.

Caring for Your Breast Implants

Caring for breast implants is important to ensure their longevity and your overall breast health. Here are some key steps to care for your breast implants:

  • Follow Post-Op Instructions: After breast augmentation surgery, your surgeon will provide specific postoperative care instructions. It’s crucial to follow these instructions carefully to promote proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.
  • Perform Regular Breast Self-Exams: These exams help you monitor the condition of your breasts and detect any changes or abnormalities. If you notice any unusual lumps, changes in breast size or shape, or other concerning symptoms, contact your surgeon or primary care doctor.
  • Get Regular Mammograms and Imaging: Particularly to detect “silent rupture” of silicone gel implants, the FDA recommends regular screening of implants starting 5 to 6 years after initial implantation. Inform your healthcare providers about your breast implants when scheduling mammograms or other breast imaging tests. Special techniques and views may be necessary to adequately visualize breast tissue.
  • Protect Implants from Trauma: Avoid activities or situations that could lead to trauma or injury to the breasts. Protective gear may be needed if you participate in contact sports or activities that involve physical impact.
  • Use Proper Support: Wear appropriate and supportive bras that provide proper support for your breasts. Your surgeon can provide guidance on the types of bras that are suitable for your specific needs. Bras and swimwear can wear out over time, leading to decreased support. Regularly replace bras and swimwear to ensure proper breast support.
  • Stay Informed: Stay informed about the type of breast implants you have, their manufacturer, and any updates or recalls related to your specific implant model. Register your implants with the manufacturer to receive important information.

It’s important to have open and ongoing communication with your plastic surgeon to address any questions or concerns related to the care of your breast implants. Regular check-ups and maintaining a good rapport with your surgeon can help ensure the long-term success and well-being of your breast augmentation.

Ultimately, the decision to undergo breast implant replacement or removal should be based on individual circumstances, including your surgeon’s recommendations and your personal preferences and goals. It’s important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon for a thorough evaluation and personalized guidance regarding your breast implants.

Make a Long-Range Plan for Your Breast Augmentation
Article Name
Make a Long-Range Plan for Your Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation can quickly change your appearance, but what are the long-term things to consider when getting breast implants? Plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Kobienia explains.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo
Previous Post
December 3, 2023
Next Post
December 3, 2023