As you make decisions about augmenting your breasts with saline or silicone implants, it is completely natural to wonder about the results.
As you make decisions about augmenting your breasts with saline or silicone implants, it is completely natural to wonder about the results and how long they are expected to last. Every patient should have a general timeline of how long breast implants last, before undergoing surgery.
No black and white “Expiration Date”
Modern breast implants are well crafted, durable, and expected to last for many years without problems. There is no expiration date on implants, and they actually do not need to be replaced unless there is a complication or the patient decides she no longer likes the way her augmented breasts look. If there are no problems with the implants, nothing needs to be done.
Some products last up to 25 years without any problems. Others develop a complication within a few years of placement. All women considering breast augmentation should understand that future replacement or removal is a possibility.
On average, saline products last about 10 years without problems. The saline shell has a valve that can, at some point, malfunction and causes saline to leak out of the product. This is not a medical emergency, as the body simply absorbs the leaking saline liquid.
Silicone gel lasts a little longer than saline implants — an average of 12 to 15 years. They have a silicone shell that can rub up against the body or itself and, over time, develop a small hole. If silicone gel implants leak, it is usually undetectable. The only way to tell is through a mammogram or other type of imaging procedure that shows a disruption in the silicone shell.
Though implant rupture (or “failure”) is not a serious emergency, they do need to be removed immediately.
Replacing breast implants
Aside from complication-related reasons, some are replaced simply because the patient no longer likes the way they look. Some women want their original implants replaced with a bigger pair; others desire a smaller pair. Certain women want them taken out altogether so they can return to their pre-surgery breast size. These decisions depend on the woman’s lifestyle, circumstances, and preferences at the time.
When it comes time to consider breast implant replacement, some women want their breasts lifted, too. Breast lift techniques can be combined with the placement of new implants for a more beautiful breast appearance.