Breast Implant Maintenance: How Often Should You Visit Your Plastic Surgeon?

Posted October 27, 2015 by Lauren Wheatley

woman speaking with breast surgeonHave you heard that breast implants expire or need to be replaced after 10 years? This is a persistent misconception—breast implants are not like a carton of milk; they do not have a predetermined shelf-life or start to “go bad” after a certain amount of time. The truth is that a great deal of women who have breast augmentation continue to be thrilled with their results for many, many years.

That said, even if you’re still 100% happy with your look years after your breast augmentation surgery, it’s still a good idea to visit your plastic surgeon for a checkup from time to time, particularly if you are getting close to hitting your 10-year breast implant anniversary.

Here’s why:

The Warranty on Your Breast Implants Probably Expires After 10 Years

Today, all the major manufacturers of FDA-approved breast implants offer lifetime warranties on their products and will give you new implants for free if you experience a rupture. However, these warranties typically only cover revision or replacement costs associated with complications such as capsular contracture, double capsule, or late-forming seromas for three to ten years after surgery. Even if you haven’t noticed anything wrong with your implants, it’s better to err on the side of caution and catch a potential problem before your warranty expires.

Even if Your Implants Haven’t Changed, Your Body Likely Has

We are still looking, but so far we haven’t found a magic potion to stop the aging process. While your implants might still be as good as new 10 years or longer after your augmentation, your body will keep changing as time goes by. If you’ve had a baby, lost or gained weight, or simply noticed the effects of gravity, you might feel it’s time to update your look to better suit your current lifestyle and aesthetic preferences. Your plastic surgeon can help you go over a range of options to achieve your goals or update your look, such as a breast lift, larger or smaller implants, or perhaps a new implant shape.

In Just 10 Years, Breast Implant Options Have Drastically Improved

If you’ve ever thought the shape or feel of your breast implants could be better and had your augmentation more than five years ago, it is worth learning about the superb new implant options that are now available. With the approval of 5th generation silicone gel implants, you can find just the right shape, size, profile, and firmness to suit your needs and goals. To check out the newest implants and see how they might improve your results, visit a plastic surgeon with experience in revision breast augmentation surgery. It’s often possible to use the same incision site to swap out implants, allowing for an updated look without additional scarring.

Nothing Lasts Forever

FDA-approved breast implants are safe and durable devices that can last several decades without issue. However, they are not considered lifetime devices. As with anything else in life, breast implants will eventually wear out. Exactly how long breast implants last depends on the product and the individual patient, but it’s a fact that 20-year-old implants are more likely to rupture than the latest generation of implants. While a ruptured saline implant will be obvious (you will notice the implant deflate as the saline leaks out and is safely absorbed by the body), silicone implants usually require an MRI to detect rupture. In fact, the FDA recommends that women with silicone implants get an MRI every three years to find any possible ruptures.

Other signs of implant aging, such as hardening that can occur with older generation silicone implants, happen more gradually. Seeing your plastic surgeon every few years can help catch such issues early, when a non-surgical or less invasive solution may be possible.

It goes without saying that if you are experiencing any problems with your breast implants or you are unhappy with your results, see a plastic surgeon ASAP, no matter how long it has been since your surgery. On the flip side, if you don’t have any issues, and you still love the way you look, there is likely no reason to replace your breast implants, no matter how long it has been since you got them.

Have more questions about when it might be time to check up on your breast implants? Here at the Parker Center in New Jersey, breast augmentation is one of our top procedures, and we’ll be happy to help answer your questions. Please feel free to contact us any time!

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