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Q&A with Dr. Cat: Should You Replace Breast Implants Every 10 Years?

Published onAugust 21, 2014 by

Breast Implant

Do You Need To Replace Breast Implants Every 10 Years

There are plenty of things to be worried about when it comes to doing what’s best for your body. In the world of breast augmentation, Beverly Hills patients find themselves contemplating whether they should undergo the procedure after realizing that they will not last forever. It may sound shocking, but that does not mean that you should be concerned for your well-being. I have worked with many patients in the past and evaluated their need for breast revision or breast reconstruction before removing their breast implants, so it is possible to swap or remove the implants and replace them safely. It is not a given, but it is best to better to be prepared for the possibility that you may need a replacement or removal at one point in your lifetime.

How often should you replace breast implants?

Most women think that their breast implants need to be changed routinely. This is not the case – really, implants only need to be removed and replaced if there is a problem. I’ve removed or exchanged implants in women who had them for over 20 years. The 10-year number I believe arose from the fact that the manufacturer’s warranty is 10 years, but that doesn’t mean the implants need to be exchanged that often.

In most cases, the problem that requires surgical intervention involves breast implant leaks or scar tissue forming around the implant, known as “capsular contracture.” This scar tissue makes the breast feel firm, distorted, or uncomfortable. In the surgery, the scar tissue, or capsule, will also be removed.

Leaks are another reason to replace breast implants. If a woman has saline implants, it will be obvious if there is a leak. The implant slowly deflates as the saline solution leaks out. If a woman has silicone gel implants, it is sometimes difficult to detect a leak. This is why the FDA recommends screening for silicone leaks 3 years after implant placement and then every 2 years. Sometimes there are symptoms such as hard lumps, distortion of the breast or the implant, swelling, burning, or hardening of the breast. If that happens, the implant should be removed.

Women who are considering implants should know that they are committing themselves to multiple surgeries over their lifetime. However, in most cases this is much longer than every 10 years.

Breast Revision Surgery Beverly Hills

As with all types of cosmetic surgery, complications from breast implants vary, but they are rare if the initial procedure is performed accurately. Complications that lead to breast revision may include leak or rupture of the implant. However, the chances of having breast augmentation revision surgery are at 25 percent. If the implant ruptures or leaks before the warranty expires, you may be eligible for a replacement at no extra cost.

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