Breast augmentation surgery is a long-term investment in your personal appearance and often your self-confidence. Naturally, you want to know what will happen with your breast implants in the future. Will I need to replace my implants? If so, how soon?
You may have heard that you will need to replace your breast implants about every 10 years or so. This is not true. Thanks to advanced technologies, both silicone and saline implants should last much longer than a decade. You will only need to replace your implants if they crack or rupture, which is an uncommon occurrence.
Nonetheless, breast implants are not necessarily a lifetime device, because there is a chance that one of those rare occurrences could happen to you. The longer you have your implants, the greater the chance you will experience some type of complication that could require removal and replacement of one or both implants.
As with any surgery, there can also be complications with breast augmentation surgery. Here are the three main complications you should be aware of regarding breast implants.
- Capsular contracture is tightening of breast tissue surrounding one or both implants. More severe cases can be painful. If this happens, Dr. Smith may recommend removal and replacement of the implant. However, replacing the implant does not guarantee capsular contracture will not occur again.
- Saline implants can rupture, developing a tear or hole in the outer shell of the implant that allows some of the saline to leak out. There is no need to worry if this happens to one or both of your implants -- you’re not in danger. (Saline is a fluid that mimics much of your natural bodily fluids). Your body will simply absorb the fluid; however, your breast will become smaller.
- Silicone implants don’t “rupture” in the same way that saline implants can, but they can “crack” on the interior. Should this happen, you shouldn’t be in any danger. However, here at Smith Plastic Surgery, Dr. Lane Smith does recommend that you have the implant replaced. If you have silicone gel breast implants, the Food and Drug Administration recommends you get MRI screening periodically to check for these “silent ruptures,” because they cannot always be detected by a physical exam. This is something you should discuss with Dr. Smith.
Your health insurance provider may not cover the cost of breast implant replacement, even if they did cover your initial surgery. Most breast implant manufacturers provide a warranty and typically you can purchase additional coverage for your implants. There is often a lifetime warranty available for silicone implants. Some implant warranties help pay for implant replacement surgery, in the event certain complications occur.
Like other aspects of your physical health, breast implants should be monitored for the rest of your life. As you age, your body changes. Also, if you become pregnant or your weight changes, your breasts will change as well. For these reasons, you should schedule a visit with Dr. Smith right away if you see or feel any changes that seem “off” to you.
There is no way to predict the future. Some women who have breast augmentation surgery voluntarily choose to undergo repeat surgery within the first 10 years or so, to upsize or downsize their breasts. Others – those rare few – will need breast implant replacement to address complications that develop over time. Knowing what to expect before surgery will give you greater confidence in your decision, greater peace of mind and greater protection of your investment.