Are Breast Implants Permanent?
What are breast implants?
Implants consist of silicone shells filled with either saline or silicone gel. They are available in various different shapes (round or anatomic), surface textures (smooth or textured), and projection.
Are breast implants permanent?
Many patients believe implants are permanent, but this is a common misconception. Typically breast implants need to be replaced at least once during a patient’s lifetime. On average, breast implants require replacement after 10-15 years. The FDA and implant manufacturers recommend replacement every 10 years.
Why do implants need to be replaced?
There are a number of reasons a patient may require an implant be removed and/or replaced. These can include complications such as infection, capsular contracture, chronic pain, implant displacement or fear of developing a rare lymphoma directly associated with textured implants. When implants age, the risk of rupture also increases. A rupture occurs when a tear in the implant causes the saline or silicone to leak out into the body.
Regular self-breast exams and follow up appointments with your surgeon can help identify implant complications that may require additional surgery to correct.
Some implant complications can be adequately addressed with revision surgery. However, multiple attempts at salvaging a problematic implant reconstruction are often only met with further failure, especially for breast cancer patients following radiation treatments.
After a failed implant breast reconstruction, we typically recommend removal of the implant and surrounding scar tissue, and further reconstruction using the patient’s own tissue (an autologous “flap”). There is no better substitute than new, healthy tissue to recreate a “natural”, soft, warm breast. Our preferred flap technique, and gold standard in Breast reconstruction in general, is the DIEP flap procedure. The DIEP, which is the most advanced form of breast reconstruction available today, uses the patient’s abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct a natural, warm, soft breast while completely preserving the underlying abdominal muscles. Saving the abdominal muscles means patients experience less pain, enjoy a faster recovery, maintain their core strength long-term, and have a lower risk of complications.
Author: Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo and Courtney Floyd
Many patients believe implants are permanent, but this is a common misconception. Typically breast implants will require replacing at least once during a patient’s lifetime.