According to manufacturers like Allergan and Mentor, breast implants have no expiration date and have no definite lifespan. They should last several years. However, they are not considered to be lifetime devices.
Some people believe that breast implants need to be replaced every 10 years. This is not true.
Manufacturers once recommended that breast implants be replaced every 10 years. However, this advice referred only to older types that had high rupture rates as a result of a thinner shell (which they designed to make them feel more natural). The advice does not refer to current, new generation implants that have been produced in the last 15 years or so. These implants are more durable due to an improved design, consisting of a thicker silicone shell that is more resistant to breakage and rupture, yet still pliable and able to mimic natural breast tissue. The good news is that most implants will last longer than a decade.
In fact, our Plastic Surgeons have many patients who received implants more than 10 years ago and have never had to change them.
BREAST IMPLANT REPLACEMENT NOT NECESSARY
Generally, if you don’t have a problem with your implants and haven’t noticed any changes in appearance, then there is no need to replace them. The old adage holds true: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
A SPECIAL NOTE ON BREAST IMPLANTS
Changes in appearance tend to be more obvious with saline implants. In the unlikely event a saline breast implant ruptures, the saline will flow more rapidly because of its liquid state and get harmlessly absorbed by your body. The leakage will cause the breast to dramatically decrease in size, usually within a day or two. In Dr. Edelstein’s experience, he has not seen saline implants rupture for 15 years.
On the other hand, silicone cohesive gel is a soft solid that remains intact, which means it won’t flow and will stay in generally the same area if the integrity of the shell is compromised. For this reason, ruptures may not be as noticeable and remain undetected for a longer time. An affected breast will most likely remain the same size and shape. If left for extended periods of time, it is possible the breast may become firmer or misshapen as surrounding tissues thicken in response to the leakage.
Based on European research, silicone cohesive gel implants have been observed to last about 15-20 years in clinical trials however, Dr. Edelstein believes that it would be more like 20 years or more.
You should visit your surgeon or doctor regularly so that they can examine you to make sure your implants are in good condition.