Breast implants are not permanent devices that will last forever. They have a variable and not necessarily predictable life span that can be influenced by a few factors some which we may not even be aware of. Even in the same person, the “aging” of the implants between one’s left and right side can be so different without any discernible relationship to handedness or even activities.
It is not uncommon at all for them to last 20 to 30 years or more – and this relates to the older style and technology ones. The newest generation implants are expected to last longer than earlier varieties.
And, despite what you might have heard or even believe, implants don’t have to be changed every ten years. There is no ten year rule! (see: The Truth About Breast Augmentation Myths)
Fortunately, when it comes to exchanging or even removing breast implants through breast revision surgery, most of the time discomfort is minimal to none.
Whether you are considering an implant exchange, either going larger or smaller for implant size or just removing them, most patients find it virtually a walk in the park. Exceptions would include a change of implant pocket from submammary (behind the breast tissue) to submuscular (behind the muscle) or if it were combined with a capsulectomy (removal of scar tissue from around the implant).
A great example of this is this 32 year old patient of mine who for years was quite happy with her saline breast implants and then decided that she wanted to be significantly larger (photos A, C and E). She also opted to switch to silicone breast implants from her saline ones. Her breast revision surgery performed under general anesthesia involved an implant exchange, replacing her 300 cc saline implants with 475 cc silicone ones. Afterwards, she had no breast discomfort whatsoever even though the new implants placed were substantially bigger (photos B, D and F).
If you are considering switching out your breast implants for whatever reason or even just want to have them removed, you can schedule a complimentary consultation by calling my office at (480) 451-3000.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona