A frequent question I hear is, “Do I need to have my implants replaced after 10 years?”At the initial breast augmentation consultation, I make it very clear to my patients that they need to be aware that they most likely will need to have breast revision surgery at some point in their life, and maybe more than once for various issues!

Silicone implants were reintroduced in 2006 after being pulled off the market in 1992. After extensive testing, the FDA determined that silicone implants were safe but recommended every 3 years that women schedule an MRI to detect a possible “silent leak.” It is recommended, but not a requirement. Most women do not have an MRI unless recommended by their surgeon. If they are having issues such as; breast pain, a change in breast shape or size, or one or both implants become “hard,” an MRI may be ordered. Patients noticing any changes with their implants need to see their surgeon for evaluation.

This 63-year-old woman developed bilateral capsular contracture of her silicone implants, she had bilateral capsulectomies with replacement of 250cc silicone moderate plus implants.

Women with saline implants may have the same issues, but if a saline implant ruptures, it will deflate when the water seeps out. The body will absorb the saline naturally and is not dangerous; however, the deflated implant should be removed as soon as possible.

Many women are confused about the life of breast implants. It is possible your breast implants could last for the rest of your life, but it is better to assume that they won’t. Breast implants come with a free lifetime replacement should the implants ever fail. In addition, manufacturers give women a 10-year warranty for financial aid to defray some of the surgical costs.

Many women believe that when the 10-year warranty expires, the implants need to be replaced, this is not true!

How long implants will last is unknown; they do not have an expiration date. They only need to be replaced if there is an issue, which can happen at any point in time, or not at all. It would be prudent however, at the 10 year point to have an MRI to rule out a “silent leak.”

When breast revision surgery becomes necessary, many women choose to have additional procedures done, such as; larger or smaller implants, switching from saline to silicone or vice versa, placement of the implants above or below the muscle, or for some a breast lift.

If your breast implants are of concern to you, contact Dr. Miguel Delgado at (415) 898-4161 and find out what options are available to you.