Should You Change Your Cosmetic Breast Implants Every Ten Years?
I was fortunate enough to see one of my old cosmetic breast enlargement patients today. I performed a breast augmentation with saline implants through an incision under her breast 12 years ago. Since then she has breastfed three children and her breasts have changed in shape. She came to see me for a second breast augmentation surgery that she will have next month. The implants will need to be changed. Though this is not always the case… breast Implants that have to be removed
There are some cases where implants in a breast that has been augmented with either a saline or silicone implant must be removed and changed for medical reasons. These reasons include:

  • Infected breast implant
  • Exposed breast implant (so it’s protruding from the wound and open to air!)
  • Deflated or ruptured implant (5-7%)
  • Implant that causes a thick capsular contracture (scar tissue build up around the implant; 1% chance in my patients)
  • An implant exposed to the air during a surgery, e.g., a breast lift
  • When a patient wants to or needs to change her size

Breast implants that may have to be changed
In some cases you may lucky enough to keep the same breast implant and not need to have it replaced, saving on the cost of a new implant.

  • Bleeding around the implant after surgery
  • Change in implant position, requiring it to be elevated or brought toward the middle of the chest
  • Filling an implant with more fluid if a saline implant
  • Implant that causes a thin capsular contracture (scar tissue needs only to be cut and not removed)
  • Breast implants causing continual prolonged pain

Implants that do not have to be removed:

  • any implant that is not causing you a problem, irrespective of its age

Some interesting facts are:

  1. 50% of women who have a cosmetic breast enlargement will never have another breast surgery
  2. Of those women who have another surgery at some point in their life, 85% will have the second surgery because they want it, not because they have to have it
  3. That leaves 7.5% of breast augmentation patients who will need to have a second surgery during their lifetime because of implant deflation, malposition, infection, hemorrhage, capsular contracture, pain or some other medical cause
  4. 90% of capsular contractures will occur in the first year after surgery
  5. Statistically, if an implant is changed, it will be at around 10 years, whether by choice or by need

My patient needs to change her implants because she needs to go larger to fill in the extra droopy skin she has developed from breast feeding her children, not because there is anything wrong with her implants. I could also have suggested she have a breast lift (mastopexy), but she was not droopy enough!

In general, I tell patients who come in after ten years to have their breast implants changed to wait until they have a real reason to do so. Changes occur to our bodies with time, but it’s not always the fault of the breast implant!

Need more information on breast surgery? Find it here:

Morad Tavallali, M.D., FACS

Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon


Top Blogs

Leave a Reply