Do Breast Implants Have An Expiration Date?

Breast implant last: The actual word-for-word FDA recommendations

I’ll address the more pressing issue first. We are told many different answers on how long one should go with breast implants.

Some of the more senior surgeons respond that the FDA recommends that we tell our patients that the FDA recommends we exchange implants at 15 years even if they appear intact.

Once the patient has heard this recommendation, they can do as they wish but we as physicians have held up our side of the deal with the FDA and document it in the chart.

This doesn’t seem to have transcended across the generations because nobody mentions this anymore. The FDA website reads this recommendation: How long do breast implants last? Breast implants do not last forever.

If you decide to get breast implants, you will likely need additional surgeries on your breasts over your lifetime due to rupture, other complications (for example, capsular contracture, breast pain), or unacceptable cosmetic outcomes (for example, asymmetry, unsatisfactory style/size, wrinkling/rippling).

For information on rates of complications for approved breast implants, see the Labeling for Approved Breast Implants on the FDA site. (Ricardo A. Meade, MD, Dallas Plastic Surgeon)

There is no “expiration date” for breast implants

There is no “expiration date” or specific time when breast implants need to be exchanged or removed.

We counsel our patients prior to their breast surgery that they must willingly accept the concept that there is a reasonable chance that they may need to have their breast implants replaced or removed during their lifetime.

Replacement of the implants may occur for several reasons when it is determined that they are faulty, other complications necessitate their removal, the patient desires them to be removed for aesthetic purposes such as going larger, or a combination of the above. (Stephen A. Goldstein, MD)

No Fixed Answer

There are various answers to the question of implant longevity. This is because there are multiple manufacturers, multiple sytle, shapes, uses, etc. It is reasonable to expect that the implant should last about 15 years (rough estimate).

If the implants are in tact, not giving you problems need not be replaced. As long as you are happy with your result, leave them alone. It is important to follo up with your well woman exam as recommended by your gyn, and also to follow up with your plastic surgeon. (Scott E. Kasden, MD, Dallas Plastic Surgeon)

If your implants are today’s newer, stronger implants, they may almost last forever. Silicone implants that were inserted years ago had a thinner shell and many may have ruptured. If they are causing problems, they need to be replaced. Today’s silicone implants are stronger and carry a lifetime warranty againt rupture. If a saline implant breaks – you know it, because the volume goes away. Other than that, if you are not having a problem then don’t worry. With any question seek help from a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. (William B. Rosenblatt, MD, New York Plastic Surgeon)

Breast implants lifetime warranty – several issues in one question

1. Durability of breast implants

  1. Saline implants will last a very long time. About 5% will leak in the first ten years and then the number of leakages will increase significantly. A leakage is not dangerous but the loss of volume can be embarrassing.
  2. Silicone implants can be divided into generations. The pre-FDA approval variety and the newer FDA approved cohesive gel implants. The earlier variety have a higher rate of capsule contracture and were known to have the silicone shell disintegrate over time. The disintegration of the shell left free floating gel in the breast pocket and this gel on rare occasions would enter the local breast tissue to cause nodule formation.
  3. The Cohesive gel implants are not subject to the shell disintegration problem. Thus, any break of the implant is not subject to these concerns.

2 – Redness under the breast – Intertrigo is a redness that forms under the breast as they sag,especially during hot weather. This can be relieved with a good fitting bra or by medication. Of course, it is imperative to see your doctor first.

3 – Air bubbles – this can be the interpretation of the calcified capsule as it bends and folds, air around the implant (unlikely after 14 years) or sign of an infection. In any case, see your trusted plastic surgeon for a true evaluation. (Robert M. Freund, MD, New York Plastic Surgeon)

There is no expiration date for the silicone breast implants

Patients sometimes confuse the difference between expiration date on silicone breast implants and expiration of warranty for the breast implants.

There are 2 most reputable companies in the United States manufacturing breast implants. Mentor and Allergan, formerly known as Innamed and McGhan, both have similar products and similar 10 dear warranty.

The rupture rates on both implants is about 1% per year. The decision to change the breast implants is dependent on having problems with the implant, like you do, or age-related changes to the breast and desire to change the size, shape or type of the implant.

There is no magic number when you absolutely have to change the implants. If you have problems with your breast implants, it may be wise to visit the local board certified plastic surgeon with experience in dealing with old silicone or saline implants and discuss the options available to you.

Depending on the results of examination, you may choose to have additional studies to confirm the rupture of the implants, however, if you have problems with the implants, you may need to have the implants removed or replaced anyway.

Looking at the bright side, it gives you an opportunity to upgrade to a new generation of breast implants, increase or decrease the size of the implants and have simultaneous adjustment of the breast shape, including breast lift. (Boris Volshteyn, MD, MS, East Brunswick Plastic Surgeon)

Life span of breast implants

There is no absolute definitive answer to the question but many will say approximately 10 years. The new outer shells of both the silicone and saline implants have improved markedly over the years.

The silicone implant shell, however, is superior and may prove to be more durable than the saline implants over time. The FDA recommends that the silicone implants be replaced at 10 years but this is just a recommendation and not a requirement. (Michael Baroody, MD, Danbury Plastic Surgeon)

Implant longjevity

I have seen implants last as little as 5 years and as long as 20 or more. In your current situation, the first step may be to return to the physician who placed them. If not, see another qualified plastic surgeon. The rupture rate is approximately 1% per year.

If they are not broken, they don’t necessarily need to be fixed. However, the symptoms your are experiencing are not normal and should be examined. (Jason R. Hess, MD, San Diego Plastic Surgeon)

When to replace your silicone breast implants

Ыilicone иreast implants typically last about 10 years, but they could last much longer. Implants do not need to be replaced until they deflate or rupture, or some other problem develops.

It sounds like you are having some problems with your implants, and further evaluation is appropriate. I recommend that you see a board certified plastic surgeon in consultation soon. (Amy M. Sprole, MD, Wichita Plastic Surgeon)

How often to replace silicone breast implants

Breast implants (saline or silicone) can last forever. A saline implant should be replaced if it fails or if there are other areas of dissatisfaction (rippling, palpability etc.) Silicone implants CAN last forever. The problem is in diagnosis of implant failure.

It is difficult even for an experienced plastic surgeon to accurately diagnose early failure by physical exam. A failed silicone implant can lead to contracture, implant distortion and pain. There is not a specific number of years where silicone implants need to be replaced.

After 10 to 20 years the risk of failure is fairly high and any change in the implant should be looked at closely. The FDA is recommending routine interval MRI evaluations of silicone implants to help with this diagnosis. (York Jay Yates, MD, Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon)

There is no expiration date on implants. If you are developing a rash I don’t think it would have anything to do with your implant.

I recommend that you see your surgeon or a physician to see why this rash is occuring. Patients are told implants last 10-15 years because of possible ruptures that may occur.

Make an appointment with your surgeon to be examined and determaine what is needed to be done. (Jaime Perez, MD, Tampa Plastic Surgeon)

Breast implants silicone last about 15-20 yrs on average.

The longevity of them also depends on the type of implants. silicone has been shown to last longer than saline. my advice generally is that implants do not need to be replaced by age alone.

In other words, don’t worry that they are 10 yrs old and that they must be replaced. They are not tires that have a defined life span.

If the implants are causing problems – like you are describing – you should definitely have them checked out by a board certified plastic surgeon.

siliconeImplants should be removed if they have changes – hardening of the implants, changes in volume. By age alone implants do not need to be disturbed. (Eric Chang, MD, Baltimore Plastic Surgeon)

Longevity of Breast Implants

The life span of breast implants varies. The two breast implant manufactures in the United States (Allergan and Mentor) offer a life time warranty on all their implants, saline or silicone.

If one of their implants ruptures or leaks they will replace the implant for free, and will offer finacial assistance if the leak occurs within 10 years of implantation. This covers leaks that occur for any reason, such as trauma or spontaneous deflation.

Most leaks occur from crease fold failure, the shell of the implant over time developes a small rent or tear that allows for leakage. The manufacturer will also replace the other breast implant for free at the surgeon’s request. These are great warranties! We also do not charge any surgeon’s fee to replace a broken or ruptured implant that WE have placed.

So, if you have a broken implant within the first 10 years you can replace both implants for FREE!! Needless to say, the breast implant companies want to provide an implant that lasts a long time and is reliable, otherwise they would go bankrupt. And they do, the implants we use are wonderfull, they feel natural, they are durable and realistically are inexpensive.

The total cost for implant surgery from Finkle Cosmetic Surgery is $4,700 for saline and $5,700 for silicone. These should last you a life time. We spend $30,000 on a car and then dump it in 5 years, without thinking about it. Isn’t spending $5,000 on yourself a better deal? YOU BET!

Having said all this, if you start to experience problems with your implants, consult a board certified plastic surgeon and disucss having your implants removed, replaced or updated. (David Finkle, MD, Omaha Plastic Surgeon)

How long do breast implants last?

There is not exact answer to this. It is possible that they could last for 30 or more years. However, they are not expected to last a lifetime. As a patient gets older and they have children, etc. they will sometimes need a revision/implant exchange.

On average, this is at 10-15 years from the time of the original surgery. As always, every patient is unique. (Dustin L. Reid, MD, Austin Plastic Surgeon)

Breast implant question

You need to be seen and evaluated ASAP to determine if the rash is a reactive problem or an infection or possible a neoplasm. The doctor will need to know if you have saline or silicone implants.

An implant can last a very long time and the rate of rupture is about 1% a year with a lifetime risk of 7-10%. I agree with the other docs who say ” If it is not broken do not fix it” Please see a board certified plastic surgeon for consultation. (Gregory Lynam, MD, Richmond Plastic Surgeon)

Breast Implants and long term planning

Although implants are technically warrantied for life against defects most women will want or chose to have them replaced at some point in their life. Reasons for replacing implants would include:

  • capsule contracture
  • desire for different size (bigger or smaller)
  • need for a breast lift
  • need for augmentation revision (pocket correction)
  • change from saline to silicone
  • weight gain/weight loss requiring either removal or exchange
  • ruptured implant
  • finally, for no other reason other than there is concern by the patient that the implants have been there a long time and replacing with new ones would give peace of mind.

If you are having any of the above issues than I would go ahead and have them replaced. If you are happy and comfortable with your implants, there is no need to have them replaced. (Remus Repta, MD, Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon)

Breast Implant Longevity

Difficult to answer this one Pamela, because one really needs to know if you have silicone or saline implants in place. The easy question to answer would concern issues related to longevity of the devices.

Saline and Silicone implants have similar deflation/rupture rates when saline implants are appropriately filled. They must be filled minimally to the implant size, but most plastic surgeons would recommend overfill (approximately 10%) to lower the risk of deflation.

For instance, a 300cc saline implant should be filled to approximately 330cc. If they are underfilled, there is a greater propensity to fail and deflate.

The reason that knowing whether these are silicone or saline implants is that skin irregularities are not likely to be associated with saline implants.

One could feel the implant shell, whether intact or deflated, but this would not be worrisome. Patients with ruptured silicone implants can have skin manifestations with redness and often a firmness in the affected area.

This could be related to leaking silicone get outside the capsule, would not normally be descibed as “air pockets” however.

Your best bet here is to be evaluated by a qualified plastic surgeon, who can take a complete history, perform a physical exam, and get to the bottom of your concerns. (Ronald A. Lohner, MD, Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon)

Longevity of breast implants

There is no expiration date for breast implants. However, it is common for my patients to say to me that they have heard they need to be replaced after 10 years.

That is simply not true. The implants will be replaced at no charge by the manufacturers for a person’s lifetime in the event of a leak.

In addition, for the first 10 years, they will reimburse operating room expenses up to a certain amount (more for silicone than for saline), again in the event of a leak. If there is no leak and a person undergoes surgery just to have them replaced, there will be no money coming from the company that made the implants. That person will be on the hook for all the bills. So “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” (Paul W. Loewenstein, MD, Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon)

How Long Do Breast Implants Last

You have to replace them only if you have a problem. Although the 10 year change was a reasonable concept with the old implants. With the newer generation implants that tend not to have problems, the 10 year change is not necessary. From what you describe looks like you need to consult with a Plastic Surgeon to see if the implant is the cause of the symptoms. (Naveen Somia, MBBS, PhD, FRACS, Sydney Plastic Surgeon)

Breast implants only need to be replaced if there is a problem

Breast implants only have to be replaced if there is a problem – whether that be you are unhappy with the size, or the shape or feel have deteriorated over the years – or whether it be a complication such as infection, migration of the implant into a bad position or hard capsule formation. (Damian Marucci, MBBS, FRACS, Sydney Plastic Surgeon)

Longevity of Breast Implants

In my view, breast implants do not need to be changed or removed unless there is a problem with them. With the current generation implants I use – that being form stable, textured, cohesive silicone gel – the probability of leak and rupture are exceptionally low.

Although all mechanical devices have a failure rate, I tell my patients that the risk is so low with the current top quality implants that probability is on the patient’s side that if you require a later procedure, it is usually by your own choosing – whether you wish for a different shape or size or your body has changed with natural ageing, having children or breastfeeding.

The choice usually lies with the patient. (Kevin Ho, MBBS, FRACS, Sydney Plastic Surgeon)

How long do Silicone Breast Implants Last?

Breast Implants are a man made product, they eventually wear out and leak. Just like cars do not last forever, planes fall out of the sky, trains fall off tracks, global warming the wourld is falling apart etc, etc.

How long they can last is controversial; most manufacturers and plastic surgery societies say they should be changed every 10 years.

I am not convinced this has to be done, being in practice over 12 years I have seen many patients with them longer and have not had any problems.

If they are around 8-10 years and you have problems like capsular contracture, leaking etc then the should be changed, but if you like the way they look and feel I do not think you have to change them. (Michael Constantin Gartner, DO, Paramus Plastic Surgeon)

Silicone Breast Implant Replacement Duration of  Time for Implant

I’m sorry you’re experiencing this. The simple answer is that there is not a set time an implant can remain. The decision to change an implant should be made case by case.

From what you describe, I think you should find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and have yourself evaluated. It sounds like you may need to look into a change. (Mary Lee Peters, MD, Seattle Plastic Surgeon)

Replacing Silicone Breast Implants every 10 years

There is no data to support an argument that breast implants need to be replaced every 5, 10 or 15 years. Breast Implants have a lifetime warranty on the implant itself, this is not to say that any one person may not have a problem with the implant itself.

It is best to consult with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon regarding your specific concerns about your breast implant concerns or questions. (Christopher J. Morea, MD, Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon)

How long do breast implants last?

Silicone breast implants are not lifetime devices. Eventually, the outer shell will tear from fatigue and the implant will deflate (if it’s saline filled) or rupture (if it’s filled with silicone). For this reason the implant manufactures suggest that you replace them every 10 years.

That is where the 10 year number came from; which one doctor quoted to you. Most implants will last longer than the 10 years, and many surgeons will suggest that if you have not developed a capsular contracture or have evidence of a rupture with imaging, you should not exchange them.

I have seen many women with implants in as long as you or longer who have had no problems and not have chosen not to exchange them. However, you are having symptoms of a rash under your left breast and the air pockets. These are something that need to be seen in person by a qualified plastic surgeon. At the same time, he/she can discuss the pros and cons of keeping your implants for longer. (Luis H. Macias, MD, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon)

Replacing Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone Breast implants have a rupture rate of approximately 1% per year and this is cumulative. That means in 10 years there is roughly a 10% chance of a rupture, etc.

There is no “medical” reason to replace your implants, but if you have a ruptured saline implant, then you likely will have noticeable asymmetry if it deflates and may wish to have this replaced.

For silicone implants when there is a rupture they do not look or feel any different as the silicone gel is highly cohesive (like sticky Jell-O) and maintains its shape. The FDA recommends replacement if you have a ruptured silicone implant, but they do not require it.

Reasons to replace an implant are that it is too big, that it is too small, if it’s ruptured and you want it replaced or if you have capsular contracture. Otherwise, there is no real reason to replace. (Christa Clark, MD, FACS, Sacramento Plastic Surgeon)