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How Long Do Breast Implants Last After Augmentation?

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By Jerome Edelstein, MD

Breast augmentation is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to enhance the bust, providing volume, correcting asymmetry, and improving shape for the breasts using saline or silicone implants. Previously, implants were believed to have an expiry date of approximately ten years and many manufacturers continue to recommend that they be replaced every ten years.

As a result of advancements in technology, modern breast implants can now last twenty or more years and in some instances, may never need to be replaced.

Improved Design Of Implants

Unlike previous implants, which had a thinner exterior shell, designed to deliver natural results, today’s silicone implants have a thicker silicone gel and multi-layered reinforced shell, which makes them much more durable. In addition to being less susceptible to rupturing or breakage, modern implants also mimic natural breast tissue. As a result, they frequently last much longer than a decade. In fact, silicone gel implants are reported to last approximately 15-20 years in ongoing studies. Thus, unless patients notice a change in their breasts, it may not be necessary to replace their implants.

Indications Your Implants May Need To Be Replaced

Although in most instances, implants will last many years, it is important to be aware that in some cases they will need to be replaced, due to rupturing, rippling, capsular contracture or changes in breast tissue.

Ruptured Implant

In the unlikely event that a saline or silicone implant ruptures, it will be necessary to remove and replace your implants. Upon breaking, saline implants will quickly leak, resulting in the visible deflation of your breast. Conversely, a ruptured silicone implant may be more difficult to detect as it is made up of a cohesive gel which will remain intact and usually contained within the scar capsule. An Ultrasound or MRI can determine whether an implant has ruptured and if that is the case, it should be replaced.


Over time, breast implants may begin to ripple, in a way which can be seen and felt through the skin. This is more common with saline implants placed over the muscle, using the sub-glandular technique, and for patients who have lost considerable weight. It can also happen when large, disproportionate implants are selected or in thinner women whose natural breast tissue fail to conceal the implant. Silicone implants placed under the muscle may help to prevent rippling.


Although rare, capsular contracture is a potential side effect of breast implants which may impact their longevity. When scar tissue builds up around the implant, the breast may become hard and painful, and/or visibly change in shape. In this instance, the implant may need to be replaced or even removed to ensure the patient’s comfort and safety.

Although advancements in both saline and silicone breast implants have prolonged their lifespan and many patients may never need to replace their implants, before undergoing a breast augmentation, it is important to be aware of the various factors which may impact the implants’ durability. To learn more about the longevity of today’s breast implants, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with one of our board certified plastic surgeons.

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