Patient Question of the Week: “Do breast implants need to be replaced every ten years?”

Welcome to our blog.  Each week, I will try to find an interesting question that our patients ask us.  We’ll see if I can do this every week.  So here goes.

This week, I again was asked, “Do breast implants need to be replaced every ten years?  I’m not sure where the “ten year” time frame came from.  The manufacturers offer a ten-year warranty on the implants.  That warranty is free with silicone gel implants and costs $100 for saline-filled implants.  The warranty covers the cost of the implants, and reasonable anesthesia costs, surgeon’s fees and operating room charges.

But the simple answer is “No, breast implants do not need to be replaced every ten years.” They are not tires and don’t need to be rotated either. That being said I will quote verbatim from Allergan’s product information:

“No medical device can be considered to last forever, just as no natural body part necessarily lasts a lifetime. It is possible for any breast implant to leak, and that is true of both the saline and silicone gel filled breast implants. So assume that all implants will eventually wear out, because of the constant repetitive movements of the chest caused by breathing some 15,000 times a day. If every person with a pacemaker, breast implant, heart valve, knee joint etc lived to be 100, it is likely that all of these devices would need to be replaced at some point in their lifetime.

Implants do not have a date when they have to be routinely replaced. But little by little they do wear out. Based upon the best currently available information, many plastic surgeons tell patients to assume that the need for replacement at five-years would be about 1%, by ten years 5%, by fifteen years 25%.

It is not required to just routinely replace older, still intact implants because there is no known danger to you. But the FDA recommends frequent MRI testing for silicone gel implants.”

So there you have it, your implants may well last for your entire lifetime.  You may need to have them replaced. In the case of a ruptured implant, the removal and replacement surgery is usually much easier for you than the original implant surgery.  We just open the previous incision, take out the old implant and put a new one in the same pocket.  Some cases can be more complicated.

I have many patients who have had implants in for 30 years without a problem. I hope that answers this week’s question.

Remember: “it is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers” – James Thurber

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Dreyfuss Plastic Surgery Experts