How Long Do Breast Implants Last: The Essential Guide
Breast implants are a common and popular form of cosmetic surgery; they are available to women over 18, depending on the type of breast augmentation being considered. Typically there are two types of breast implants: saline and silicone implants.
In this essential guide to breast implants and augmentation, we look at all available options, issues to consider, surgical procedures, and issues around breast implants and augmentation. Read on and become informed about breast implants before the surgery.
Key Takeaways: How Long Do Breast Implants Last
- Both saline and silicone breast implants usually last at least ten years.
- The longevity of breast implants can be improved with proper aftercare and treatment.
- Care for breast implants by avoiding extreme exercises and water contact early on.
- Breast awareness is essential for general health and maintaining the integrity of implants.
The Lifespan of Different Types of Breast Implants
There are two types of breast implants (1): saline and silicone implants. Saline implants use a silicone shell filled with a saline solution; silicone implants use a silicone shell. However, other types exist, such as structured, gummer bear and smooth.
Breast implants don’t expire, but most will need to be removed or replaced every 10 or 20 years. Removal and replacement might be due to ruptures or cosmetic reasons. Scar tissue from the mastectomy can harden, causing tightness, or the silicone can start to leak out.
The Role of Breast Augmentation (Enlargement) and Breast Lifts in Implant Longevity
Breast Augmentation is used to improve the fullness and curvature of the breasts. Breast Enlargement uses a saline or silicone implant inserted into the breast, and breast lifts are slightly different. This surgical procedure enhances the breasts’ appearance but not always their size.
Both breast augmentation and breast lifts use implants for certain procedures; these implants are made from saline and silicone. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (2), implants are not “lifetime devices” but are designed to last up to 10 years, sometimes 20.
Proper Care and Maintenance of Cosmetic Implant
Three factors determine the longevity of breast implants:
- The quality of the implants
- The professionalism of the procedure
- The treatment of the implant post-surgery
While most breast implants usually last at least ten years, proper care can ensure they last longer.
The first few weeks after surgery are critical for breast implant life span. The stitches are fragile in the first few weeks, and the breasts can shift; taking time off work and wearing a sports bra is recommended. After a few months, normal activities can resume, even lifting.
Factors Affecting Breast Implant Lifespan
Several factors affect the lifespan of a breast implant. While some aspects are concerned with the implant itself and the procedure, others are determined by the health and lifestyle of the individual and the breast implant aftercare. Discuss lifestyle factors with your surgeon and ongoing monitoring to ensure you get the best value from your implants.
The Impact of Lifestyle and Health on Implant Longevity
Breast implant longevity is affected by lifestyle and health. Some activities, such as running and weight lifting, can shift the implant’s position, especially shortly after surgery, and at least three months should be left before resuming these activities. Similarly, smoking and unhealthy eating can affect the size of the breasts and the implant.
The Importance of Regular Check-ups and Monitoring
Following your surgeon’s advice regarding regular check-ups and monitoring will help identify any issues quickly should they arise. Post-surgery, there should be frequent check-ups to ensure everything is settling as it should; annual check-ups are available to scan the breasts, ensuring everything is ok.
Can Breast Implants Last 10, 20, or 30 Years?
Today, breast implants are designed to last at least ten years without any risk of age-related ruptures. If the implants are cared for and checked regularly, they can last up to 20 years. Breast implants are not designed to last 30 years and need replacing.
The Reality of Breast Implant Replacement
Breast implant replacement should be a familiar scenario for anyone with breast implants. Replacement is another surgical procedure that last 1-2 hours. Breast implant replacement surgery involves:
- Opening the scar.
- Removing the ruptured implant.
- Cleaning out the breast pocket.
- Inserting a new implant.
There is a similar recovery procedure after replacement.
Recognising the Need for Breast Implant Replacement or Removal
Whether it’s down to the quality of the implant, lifestyle factors, or activity, breast implants can rupture from time to time and need to be replaced. The best way to identify a rupture is via an Ultrasound scan.
How to Know When Your Breast Implants Need Replacing
Hopefully, everything goes to plan, and your surgeon suggests replacing the implants at one of your annual check-ups. Of course, that is only sometimes the case. It’s good to know the signs and symptoms of breast implant issues. Look out for changes in the position or shape of the breasts, look out for changes to the firmness and tenderness of the breasts, and seek some advice if you notice changes.
Signs That Indicate Implant Removal or Replacement is Necessary
It can be serious if a breast implant rupture as the silicone solution can cause a breast implant illness. An obvious sign that your breast implant has ruptured is a change in the size or shape of your breasts. There may also be some firmness or swelling over the preceding weeks. Always seek professional advice if you think a breast implant has ruptured.
Preparing for Breast Implant Removal or Replacement
When you have breast implants, removal and replacement are standard surgical procedures. Preparation is very similar to breast surgery preparation; it’s worth considering what surgeon you choose to perform the procedure, planning time off work, and having support for the first 2-3 wks of recovery is recommended.
What to Expect During the Implant Removal Process
Breast implant removal is a surgical procedure in a hospital or clinic. Before the procedure, you will meet with your surgeon to discuss the procedure and any medical conditions. Patients may also have to refrain from food and drink before the operation. The operation involves anaesthetic, skin preparation, an incision, implant removal and replacement(3).
Understanding the Implant Replacement Procedure
The implant removal and replacement procedure is similar, no matter what surgeon or clinic you use. The skin is prepared with an antibacterial solution before an anaesthetic is given, and a small incision is made to access the areas for cleaning and replacement.
Choosing the Right Surgeon for Your Breast Implant Revision
Breast implant revision is best done by the implant surgeon in the first instance since they have a better idea of the client and the previous procedure. However, in some cases, patients want a different surgeon for their revision. Always choose a qualified surgeon with experience in your procedure. Mr Ahmad guarantees his work and has fantastic aftercare; this is always a point worth considering.
Tips for Maximising the Lifespan of Your Breast Implants
Most people can expect their breast implants to last for ten years plus, but that doesn’t mean you should be careless with them. Looking after breast implants will protect their integrity and appearance and prevent you from going under the knife more frequently. When you have new breast implants, wear a sports bra and follow all recommendations given by your surgeon.
The Role of Proper Post-Surgery Care in Implant Longevity
Breast implants must be cared for properly post-surgery to protect their integrity long-term. Stay hydrated, reduce swelling, and wear a surgical bra for 4-6 weeks to keep everything in place. Do not expose the wounds to water when showering or bathing for six weeks.
How Regular Exercise and a Healthy Diet Can Help
Following breast implant surgery, eating the right things and exercising the right way is important. Eating a healthy diet will support cell recovery, and switching to a healthy diet some weeks before surgery helps prepare your body for fast recovery. Light exercise is recommended for circulation, but strenuous exercise and lifting weights are not a good idea with a wound. Once fully healed, you can gradually return to full activity levels.
What Can Happen if Breast Implants Are Not Removed or Replaced in Time
If your breast implant ruptures, it needs to be replaced. A saline implant will quickly deflate, changing the shape of the breasts – the body absorbs the saline. When a silicone implant ruptures, the gel can escape into the breasts and chest. Modern implants are made with thicker shells and firm silicone to reduce risks. Silicone is not absorbed and can cause illness.
The Importance of Being Proactive About Your Breast Health
Unfortunately, breasts are one body part prone to cancer, so practising breast awareness is sensible. Women need to understand what their “normal” feels like to detect any changes. Women with breast implants need to practice breast awareness for the integrity of their implants, too; this protects their health and ensures the longevity of their breasts.
Frequently Asked Questions.
How do I know when my breast implants need replacing?
The best way to know when your breast implants need replacing is by monitoring them routinely for changes and visiting your surgeon for check-ups. These days, breast implants are safe even when ruptured, but you still need to watch for changes to the shape and size of the breasts.
What happens if breast implants are not replaced?
When breast implants are not replaced, they can lead to issues with your appearance or health in the worst case.
What happens to breast implants after ten years?
After ten years, breast implants might need to be replaced, but if they are well looked after, they might last for 20 years. People can look after their implants and regularly check for shape and size changes, and Check-ups with a professional surgeon can also uncover issues.
What happens when your breast implants expire?
When your breast implants expire, they need to be replaced. Chances are, your surgeon will advise you to replace breast implants during the check-up; a breast implant is expected to last ten years, so you will have a good idea when the implant expires and needs replacing.
Can breast implants last 30 years?
Theoretically, a breast implant can last 30 years, but it isn’t very likely. Most breast implants will comfortably last ten years, and many are guaranteed to last this long. With care, a breast implant can last for 20 years or more, but the chance of a rupture increases yearly.
How many times can you replace breast implants?
You can have unlimited breast implant replacements, which means going under the knife and recovering more frequently. There is no need for many replacements, with most people only replacing breast implants once or twice a lifetime.
How often should breast implants be checked?
The frequency depends on the surgeon. Generally, breast implants are checked by a professional surgeon once a year. Experts recommend that people undergo a scan every 5-6 years as a minimum to check the integrity of the breast implants.
Can breast implants last a lifetime?
No. Breast implants don’t last a lifetime unless you only have them for 20 years and look after them well. Most people will have 1-2 breast implant replacements in their lifetime. Of course, the younger someone is when they have surgery, the more breast replacements they can expect.
(1) Healthline: How Long Do Implants Last?
(2) American Society of Plastic Surgeons: Will your Breast Implants Last a Lifetime?