If you are considering investing time and money into having breast augmentation surgery, it is normal to wonder how long implants typically last. You should have an idea of an implant’s typical lifespan before moving forward with surgery. In this blog post, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon A.J. Khalil explains how long breast implants usually last before being replaced (or removed altogether).

The Lifespan of a Breast Implant

Modern breast implants are designed to be safe, durable and long-lasting devices. They do not have an “expiration date.” Technically, implants do not need to be removed or replaced unless one of two problems arises:

The implant develops a complication (e.g., rupture, leak, capsular contracture, pain, rash).

Over time, the outer shell of the implant can develop a tear due to rubbing against itself or the native breast tissue. The risk of a tear or rupture increases the longer they are in the body. For context, the risk of a saline implant rupturing one year after placement is about 1 percent, and increases to 3 percent at the three-year mark. These complications are very infrequent.

If a saline implant leaks or ruptures, the saline filling solution is naturally absorbed by the body and the breast looks flat or “deflated” almost immediately. If a silicone implant leaks or ruptures, the gel filling material is cohesive and not absorbed by the body (it tends to remain in or around the breast pocket). Silicone implant leaks or ruptures are generally only detectable via medical imaging, so women with these implants are encouraged to have regular MRIs or mammograms.

In the case of an implant leak or rupture, affected implants must be surgically removed. Whether they are replaced with new implants is at the patient’s discretion.

The patient no longer likes the way her breasts look.

The second situation in which implants may need to be removed or replaced is if a woman no longer likes the way her breasts look. Perhaps her large implants no longer match her lifestyle and she wants a smaller pair. Or she didn’t choose large enough implants the first time around and wants bigger breasts. Maybe, she wants to remove her implants altogether and treat age-related sagginess. There are many treatment options available, depending on the patient’s personal preferences and goals.

If you have additional questions about breast implants or the surgery to place them, please contact Dr. Khalil via email or by calling (310) 385-8601 today.