Breast Implants How Long Do They Last?

How Long Do Breast Implants Last

This is a common misconception that many people share. Doctors used to say that implants needed to be replaced every 10 years but that is false.

Implants only need to be replaced if there is a problem. This manifests in 2 major ways. Firstly, if the patient develops a capsular contracture (hardening of the scar tissue around the implant), the implant and the capsule should be removed and a new implant reinserted.

This may present as a firmer breast on one side or a change in shape of the breasts. Secondly, if the implant ruptures, it should be replaced. With the newest generation of silicone implants, it may be difficult to appreciate a rupture as the cohesive gel holds its shape despite a break in the shell.

Clinically, the patient may notice a change and have imaging which suggests a rupture, it may be picked up on routine breast screening mammography, or it may present as a capsular contracture.

If there is no concern with your implants for contracture of rupture, there is no need to have them replaced. (Kunaal Jindal, MD, Toronto Plastic Surgeon)

How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

Implants have an indefinite life span. Saline devices can be observed until they fail. Silicone devices have significantly longer life spans. The USFDA expert panel suggested that patients may consider replacing the 4th generation silicone devices (manufactured since the early 1990’s) at 15-20 years in the absence of complications.

The newer form stable “gummy bear” implants like the Sientra shaped implants, the Allergan 410 implant, and Mentor CPG implant apparently never need to be replaced simply based on their age as they pose no observed risk of migration of the filler if the shell fails. (Robert Oliver Jr., MD, Birmingham Plastic Surgeon)

Breast Augmentation: How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

There is no hard and fast rule on how long breast implants may last. There is a common misconception that implants only last 10 years and must be changed out every 10 years.

This is not the case. Implants have the potential to last for a lifetime, but in my experience I have seen them break as early as 3 years and as late as 30 years. It is best to think they will last for many years, but are not considered lifetime devices. I always tell patients getting new implants that this will not be there only surgery in their lifetime.

The implant will likely break at some point. I usually advise a patient getting saline implants that there is no reason to exchange the implants for new ones if they are not ruptured unless they have other reasons for wanting to change the implants like a larger size or different type of implant.

However, patient’s that have silicone gel implants may want to consider changing out an intact implant around the 20 year mark. This is arbitrary, but what we use in our practice only because then the patient has gotten 20 good years out of that implant and it is much easier on them and the surgeon to exchange out an intact silicone implant versus a ruptured one possibly a year later. (Kent V. Hasen, MD, Tucson Plastic Surgeon)

This is one that gets asked often and is a source of confusion among patients.Several years ago, when saline implants (a generation older than what we are using now) were the primary implant, the rupture rate of a saline implant was 1% per year. With 2 implants you would have had a 20% chance of a deflation in 10 years, therefore a good chance of needing your implants replaced every ten years.

Now the rupture rate is significantly lower for saline implants (3% in 10 years). The silicone gel implants and the silicone cohesive gel implants have an extremely low rupture rate. Furthermore if the cohesive silicone gel implants do rupture, the silicone gel remains in the capsule. In my practice I have never replaced a silicone implant (the newer generation) for a rupture. So back to your question, you should only need the implant replaced if you are having a problem with it (pain, capsular contracture, etc.).You may choose to have another breast operation in your lifetime for a lift, to go bigger or small, etc.

At this time you may decide to have your implants replaced because in 10-20 years, I am sure there will be newer devices on the market. You do not need to have them replaced every 10 years if you are not having an issue. (Christopher T. Maloney Jr., MD, Reading Plastic Surgeon)

Breast implants do not have an expiration date and can last well over ten years. The key is to have regular testing and evaluation to ensure that the breast implants do not have leakages.

If there is a leakage, you should contact a board certified plastic surgeon to determine the best course of action.

If there is no problem and you still enjoy the size, shape and projection of the implants, then you should not expend the time, money, and emotional resources to replace the breast implants. (Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS, West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon)

For the general question of when to replace them: My feeling is that if there is no specific problem, then there is no “expiration date” for the implants.

That being said, if you suspect that something is wrong, then a workup to evaluate the implants should be implemented. (Steven Wallach, MD, New York Plastic Surgeon)

On average, breast implants last 10-15 years

The answer really depends upon the type of implant you have had placed. A rash under the breast is especially worrisome. When the implants are silicone gel implants, it might mean that the implant has ruptured and the gel is affecting the tissues including the skin.

Your mention of “air pockets” makes me think you likely have saline implants. The rash indicates a reaction, so I would get this evaluated by your plastic surgeon ASAP. When saline filled implants rupture, the process is more noticeable as the breast loses size rapidly. The body absorbs the saline and there is usually less of a worry from a “reaction” standpoint.

Saline implants when they last (they may rupture more readily) can last 10-15 years. Newer generation silicone gel implants (Cohesive Gel) may last longer.

We don’t have much data on the longevity of Cohesive gel implants as they are newer.

I have posted a Youtube video showing some silicone gel scar capsules I removed for a woman with really old silicone gel implants for your information. (John P. Di Saia, MD, Orange Plastic Surgeon)

When to change implants

There is a myth out there that implants have to be replaced every 10 years. In general, if there is no problem with the implants or breasts, you should leave well enough alone.

If there are associated problems, such as a rash or abnormal-feeling implants, you should be evaluated by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to determine if replacing the implants is appropriate. (David A. Dreyfuss, MD, Orland Park Plastic Surgeon)

Breast Implants Do not Last a Lifeime

Breast Implants are not ethereal, but they do last more than ten years, It is recomended to come in for checkups at scheduled times to make sure everything is working as it should be. That being said there is a risk for Rupture just like with everything in life. But the rinks are minimal and very isolated. (Jonathan Fisher, MD, Miami Plastic Surgeon)

While most breast implant suppliers give a manufacturer’s warranty of about 10 years, they only need to be replaced when they need to be replaced. If they have not ruptured and you do not have any other complications like capsular contracture then the implant has some life. That being said, you may not want to wait until the implant ruptures to have them replaced. They do not last forever and they should be replaced at least once depending on how long you have had them and plan to have them. Talk with a plastic surgeon about your specific situation, especially if you experiencing some discomfort you believe may be associated with you implants. (Joseph G. Bauer, MD, FACS, Atlanta Plastic Surgeon)

Breast implants will outlast you

Both major US breast implant manufactures have a lifetime warranty on their implant, as well as a 10 year warranty on the replacement cost, if they deflate. Therefore, your implants are good forever, but statistically, according to the FDA, most women tend to change their implants (not beacuse of the implants) within 18-20 years. (S. Sean Younai, MD, FACS, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon)

Life expectancy of gel implants

Gel implants do not last forever. The best way to evaluate the integrity of a gel implant is an. MRI.

Check with your doctor or manufacturer, if they are ruptured, they may be under warranty and be replaced for free. (Roger J. Friedman, MD, Bethesda Plastic Surgeon)

Breast Implant Longevity

Breast Implants are not designed to be lifetime devices and patients should understand pre-operatively what their plastic surgeon plans for the followup of their devices.

Manufacturers recommend replacement every 10 years. When a saline implant deflates it is usually apparent very quickly, and the deflation rate may be as high as 1-2%/year.

Implant shell failure varies between different styles of implants. In my prior answer to the MRI requirement/recommendation by the FDA

I discussed MRI vs Hi Resolution Ultrasound looking for implant shell failure, I discussed in much greater detail this topic and can also be found in our published article in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal from Feb 2012.

In short though patients with Gel implant need to have their implants followed long term. I offer my patients Ultrasound as a great way to screen and follow their implants.

Currently If I believe they have a rupture or problem I have a radiologist confirm my findings preferably with Ultrasound or with MRI, and then proceed to exchange.

I tell patients their gel implants should last 10-15 years, however if they are doing well their implants clinically feel and look good and Ultrasound as normal, I follow patients yearly, with a “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” approach.

Implants are becoming better and better and the current 5th generation devices are improved and last much longer than implants of 30 years ago and the next generation devices we are working on are even better. So a long answer to a simple question. You need to discuss this with your plastic surgeon prior to surgery, Ultrasound is the current method I follow patients in my practice and believe this will be the method of choice in the future. (Bradley Bengtson, MD, FACS, Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon)

The Life Expectancy of a Breast Implant.

Breast implants have low failure rates which we discuss with our patients. The official manufacturer and FDA statement is that these are not lifetime devices. My personal recommendation to patients is to replace them if they fail. We do not do replacements on a schedule, since the vast majority of breast implant patients are not seeing problems at 10 years. Problems are usually visible with a saline implant deflation. It may not be as obvious with the new gel implants (the FDA suggests an MRI to confirm a gel implant failure). Symptoms such as rash and pain experienced by the patient noted above warrant a return to her surgeon for an evaluation. (Douglas J. Raskin, MD, DMD, Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon)

How Long Do Breast Implants Last

Implants can last indefinitely if there are no leaks or capsular contractures present. Saline implant leak detection is easy because the implant that leaks goes flat. With silicone the implant may not feel that it has leaked and that’s why an MRI is recommended to follow silicone implants. (Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD, Houston Plastic Surgeon)

Implant Longevity

There is nothing that I know that can last forever, That said, the FDA opinion is 13-15 years. But that is just a guidline not a rule. Implant shave been the most studies “devices” and even when ruptured, there is no evidence to show that health is adverewsly affected. A saline rupture would be immediately noticable because it will deflate and the body will absorb the water. Silicone a different in that ruptures can go undetected.

Sometimes patients can feel changes in the implant such as hardening, displacement or pain. I would recommend seeing a board certidfied plastic surgeon for guidance in your particular case. (Raj S. Ambay, MD, Tampa Plastic Surgeon)

Lifespan of Breast Implants

If you are having concerns about your breasts or your implants, you should go and see your plastic surgeon for a formal check up.

He/She will examine your breasts and if concerned, the may recommend you have an Ultrasound or MRI scan to detect for implant rupture or capsular contracture for example.

Your implants may be perfectly fine, or they may require removal +/- replacement with new implants. While breast implants can last for many many years (and I have removed some that were >20 years old and were fine) they are not fail-proof for life.

Like any device, such as car brakes for example, they can undergo wear and tear and need servicing and replacement.

Most breast implant manufacturers recommend implants be replaced every 10-15 years. Best wishes (Anh Nguyen, MBBS, FRACS, Perth Plastic Surgeon)

No more than 12 years

At the moment i doesnt exsist any for eternity it must be changed every 10 years (Ramon Navarro, MD, Mexico Plastic Surgeon)

How long do implants last

Do you have saline or silicone implants? Implants placed 14 years ago should be replaced after 10 years. The rash and air pockets sound concerning.

I recommend you be evaluated in the office as soon as possible. (Marshall T. Partington, MD, FACS, Portland Plastic Surgeon)

How Long Do Breast Implants Last

Regarding silicone breast implants, we do not really know, but the assumption is at least 10 years. Regardless, women who pursue breast augmentation need to understand that they will at some point need to replace their implants. (Kathleen Waldorf, MD, FACS, Sydney Plastic Surgeon)

How long do breast implants lasts?

The longevity of implants, or rather the need to change an implant, is related to 2 important factors: Implant related (i.e. capsule formation, rupture) or Patient related ie whether you have breast fed, gained or lost weight As good as the current generation of implants are the reality is that at some stage you may have to change them. At 14 years you are doing very well and the decision to change the implants needs to be made after consultation with your PS. The most important thing is regular check ups with your PS to assess the integrity of the implant and surrounding breast tissue.

If in your case this is inconclusive then imaging, the best being an MRI. (Pouria Moradi, MBBS, FRACS, Miami Plastic Surgeon)

How long do they last?

It depends. Generally, as long as they look good and feel good you may be able to leave them in for the rest of your life. I would recommend having them examined by a plastic surgeon every 10 years or so. (Michael Salzhauer, MD, San Diego Plastic Surgeon)

How long breast implants last is the million dollar question

You ask a very important question, and you have already received several excellent answers on this thread. I have read them all, and I agree and have little to add regarding the points that they make. There is one issue that I would like to expand on however, because as has been mentioned, there seems to be a myth that implants need to be replaced every 10 years.

I am not sure where this myth really originated, but I have a couple of ideas I can share. The real truth is that although implants should not be considered “lifetime devices,” and you may want or need to have them replaced at some point in the future, you also may never need surgery again. You just should not EXPECT this to be the case. I believe that some people have interpreted the expiration of the “extended warranty” programs that the implant manufacturers offer at 10 years to imply that this is the end of the useful life of the implant, and they need to be replaced.

This is not true. It just means that they will not cover the financial costs of such replacement with the enhanced cash payouts beyond 10 years. They will still offer the product replacement and basic cash award for life. Additionally, there was a study which came out a few years ago which influences this issue and needs to be interpreted with caution.

It showed that the incidence of “reoperation” in women with breast implants increased slightly but noticeably at about 10 years. They included ALL reasons for reoperation, however, and not just cases in which there was a problem with the implants necessitating reoperation. Thus, even ladies who electively decided to have their implants replaced due to size concerns, sagging of breasts, or other similar reasons not related to implant failure, were included in this number. This is not the same as saying that the implants DIDN”T LAST; it’s just saying that at around 10 years a certain number of ladies were operated on again, regardless of the reason.

Therefore, I don’t think we should consider 10 years to be any kind of guideline for replacing breast implants “just because.” It is not like getting your oil changed. Rather, don’t have any more surgery unless you need it to accomplish a specific goal – changing a ruptured implant, capsule contracture, sagging of breasts, desire for a different size, or whatever. And if you are happy with your breasts and having no problem . . . continue to enjoy them for 11 years, 20 years, 50 years, whatever! (Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD, )