The Life of Your Breast Implants – Here’s What You Need to Know

Each year, several hundred thousand women in the United States choose to enhance their breasts with implants. Breast augmentation has been a popular cosmetic procedure for women since the 1960s, transforming feminine shapes by increasing size and volume. However, while modern breast implants are safe, long-lasting medical devices, it’s rare for them to last a lifetime.

While you might be familiar with the general rule of thumb that you should replace your breast implants every decade, science has provided more direction as to when there is a medical reason to do so.   Typically, we now recommend ongoing breast imaging to demonstrate the condition of breast implants and to provide guidance when implants would benefit from replacement with a breast revision procedure.

How Long Do Implants Typically Last?

Typically, saline and silicone implants have a lifespan ranging between 10 and 20 years, but many women may choose to have their implants removed or replaced sooner due to lifestyle changes, cosmetic concerns, or for other reasons.   For saline implants, no MRI evaluations are needed to check for implant leakage or integrity because these implants only contain water and if they were to leak, it would lead to an obvious breast size change.

Silicone implants need to be monitored over time.  Recent FDA recommendations propose an initial MRI after about 6 years following placement of new implants and every 2-3 years thereafter.  Since MRI does not involve radiation, this recommendation is safe and allows careful monitoring of implant condition.

Breast Revision and Implant Replacement

Breast revision and implant replacement surgery allows implant exchange for a previous breast augmentation.  The surgery may be for medical or personal reasons.   Some patients do breast implant revision to replace older implants when there is a shape change or MRI suggests implant leakage.  Other patients desire more fullness or less fullness, depending on current goals.  Finally, other patients may desire to remove their implants if MRI suggests an implant replacement is warranted and the desire for implants is no longer there.

Is It Time for a Change?

For more information about your breast implant lifespan and implant revision, call (818) 981-3333 to schedule your consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stephen Bresnick, MD. He will be happy to meet with you and discuss your surgical options.

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