Even though the results of plastic surgery are long-lasting, there may come a time when you may need to get your breast implants redone (we’re not talking revision surgery here). For the most part, once breast implants are placed within the body, they can last forever as long as there are no changes in shape or volume or evidence of leakage or rupture. But as time and the aging process take place, your breasts may not look as good as they did when they were first done.
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Ann Arbor, MI, plastic surgeon Paul Izenberg, MD, explains that some women opt to remove or replace their implants because the implants have ruptured, they have experienced capsular contracture, there is rippling, the position of the implants have shifted, or they want to change their breast size or shape. And only recently have expiration dates been put on breast implants. Northbrook, IL, plastic surgeon Benjamin Schlechter, MD, says that depending on the company, it appears the shelf life is five years.
Patients who had saline implants done years ago are now often requesting for their implants to be swapped out. “Many women choose to replace their saline implants with silicone implants,” says Dr. Izenberg. “Silicone implants are currently used in the plastic surgery industry today and can have a more natural feeling to them, especially for those women who have very little overlying breast tissue. There is also a new saline implant, the Ideal Implant, which is ‘structured’ for a natural feel with less rippling.”
While some plastic surgeons say it’s best to have your implants “refreshed” every 10 years or so, others disagree. “I don’t know if it is truly necessary to refresh implants. A recent article stated that implants should be replaced at 10 years. Also, the implant warranty expires at 10 years, and by replacing the implant, this is a way to get into a new warranty period,” says Dr. Schlechter. “I would say that it is not necessary to refresh the implants if there are problems with the implants and the patient is happy with the results.”
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