do breast implants have an expiration date?

Modern breast implants are strong and durable, and can last for many years without problems. As long as the implant has not developed a complication, and the patient is happy with her breasts, there is no reason to remove or replace implants.

However, just because implants can technically last a long time does not mean that every woman keeps her breast implants for the rest of her life. There are a few reasons why some women opt to have breast revision surgery.

Dr. Robert Graper and Dr. Garrett Harper of Graper Cosmetic Surgery explain more here. 

Reasons for Revision Surgery

Implant rupture: The chances that an implant shell develops a tear or hole (i.e., “implant rupture”) increase over time. For context, the rate of implant rupture is about 1 percent one year after placement. At 10 years after placement, the rate rises to about 10 percent.

If a saline implant shell develops a hole or tear, the implant quickly deflates and the saline liquid is absorbed into the body. The breast looks noticeably smaller very quickly.

On the other hand, if a silicone implant shell develops a hole or leak, the silicone filling may leak out of the shell but remain in or around the breast capsule.

“We sometimes refer to silicone breast implant ruptures as ‘silent’ because they are hard to notice,” says Dr. Harper.

For this reason, women with silicone implants are encouraged to have regular mammograms/ultrasound exams, MRIs or imaging tests to check the integrity of their implants. Pain, soreness, change in breast shape or contour or swelling may also indicate a potential leak in a silicone implant.

Another reason the surgery may need to be revised is if there is too much scar tissue, (capsular contracture) or if there is not enough scar tissue causing implant malposition.

If the natural breast tissue droops off the implant, a lift may be necessary. The implant may not need to be replaced. This is not an implant problem but a breast problem.

Desire for a different size: Some women become dissatisfied with the size of their augmented breasts over time. Perhaps they no longer like having large breasts, or they want even larger breasts. This is a common reason to pursue revision breast surgery.

“Every one of our breast revision patients has unique desires and goals. My goal — and I can speak for Dr. Harper as well — is to help these patients select implants that are more suitable for their desired results,” says Dr. Graper.

Patients may opt for a different implant type (switch from saline or silicone, or vice versa) or shape (round to teardrop, or vice versa).

To learn more about breast implants and breast revision surgery, please call 704.375.7111 or email Graper Cosmetic Surgery today.