How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

Woman Question MarkThis is a great question that all women considering breast augmentation should ask. Unfortunately, a definitive timeframe cannot be provided for the longevity of breast implants, mainly because manufacturers can’t assure a certain type of implant will have a specific lifespan before complications arise (e.g. a leak, rupture, etc.) and/or needing to be replaced. Therefore, it’s important for breast augmentation patients to be able to recognize the right time to exchange and/or upgrade their implants, as well as know how to be proactive about doing so.

Read the FDA’s recommendations for MRIs to monitor silicone implants.

Of the different breast implant types, shapes, and sizes available today, the greatest distinction is composition: saline or silicone. While both types of implants can rupture, there will generally be an immediate deflation of shape and volume when this occurs with a saline implant. In contrast, silicone gel tends to remain inside the breast pocket in the event of an implant rupture, particularly for newer, more advanced gummy bear breast implants. Should this happen, the volume of the breasts may appear the same, but some visible shape and surface abnormalities might become apparent.

With this information in mind, my advice is as long as you are not experiencing any issues, you do not need to change your implants. However, the longer it’s been since your implants were placed, the higher the leak and capsular contracture rate becomes. As a result, it’s important to be mindful of any abnormal changes that may occur over time, and don’t hesitate to schedule an examination with a board-certified plastic surgeon should you have any concerns.

Jon Kurkjian, MD

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