Nothing is made to last forever, including breast implants. In the past, health officials and surgeons recommended replacing implants after 10 years, as it was found that older silicone implants tended to leak after a decade. But, advancements in technology mean that silicone implants are less likely to leak or rupture and can last a patient much longer than 10 years.
Ruptures aren't the only reason why a woman would want to undergo a breast revision, though. Changes to the body due to aging, lifestyle habits and pregnancy can mean that a set of implants no longer fit a woman. A woman might also change her mind and want a set of implants that are smaller or larger.
After a few years, a woman might decide to replace her implants for aesthetic reasons. Saline implants can be visible just underneath the skin in women who are thinner or who don’t have a lot of flesh in the breast area. The implants can make the skin look wrinkled or rippled. In such a case, Miami cosmetic surgeon Dr. Ary Krau will replace the saline implants with silicone implants for a smoother look.
Body changes can also mean that it's time for replacement implants. If a woman gets pregnant after she undergoes breast augmentation, the effects of pregnancy can change her natural breast tissue. The breasts can increase in size or decrease. Depending on how the breast changes, a woman might elect to replace her current implants with larger or smaller ones.
A woman might choose to undergo revision to replace implants due to changes related to aging as well. When a woman might need new implants due to aging depends on her genetics as well as outside factors such as whether or not she smokes, if she has gained or lost weight, and the impact of gravity on the breasts. In some cases, a woman might also undergo a breast lift to reduce sagginess at the same time she has her implants replaced.
Leaks or Ruptures
Replacing or removing the implant is crucial if it becomes damaged. Fortunately, the chance that an implant will fail on its own, even after a long period of time, is very low. Older silicone implants had a very high failure rate after 10 years, with as many as 70 percent leaking after a decade. New silicone implants, made with a cohesive memory gel, have a failure rate around 10 percent after 10 years. About 16 percent of saline implants leak after a decade.
It's more likely that an implant will rupture or start to leak following a traumatic blow to the chest. If a woman is in a car accident or is hit in the chest area in some other way, it's a good idea for her to see her plastic surgeon. The damage to a saline implant can be immediately visible, as the breast will deflate. Damage to a silicone implant is more difficult to spot, as the breast won't shrink. Imaging such as an ultrasound or MRI will detect any damage to silicone implants.
Dr. Ary Krau is happy to discuss implant replacement and breast revision with patients, whether he performed the initial augmentation or not.