You’ve been enjoying your breast implants for quite some now, but you’re noticing some changes, and you’re wondering whether your implants need to be replaced.
At Cosmetic Surgery Center, Dr. Trent Fogleman and our team offer breast enhancement services, as well as removal and replacement procedures should something go wrong with your implants. Rest assured, this doesn’t happen all that often, especially with newer generation implants, but it can happen, which is why we’re reviewing the signs of implant failure here.
The lifespan of your breast implants
There’s no rule of thumb when it comes to how long your breast implants should last, but most saline and silicone implants can serve you well for 10-20 years, or more. That said, about 20% of people remove and/or replace their implants in the first 8-10 years for a variety of reasons, the most common of which we discuss here.
One of the more common drivers of breast implant failure is rupture, which can happen with both saline and silicone implants.
If you have saline implants, a rupture can be fairly obvious, as your breast loses volume and shape as the implant deflates, sometimes fairly quickly depending upon the size of the rupture. Rest assured, the saline is harmlessly absorbed by your body.
While silicone implants are less prone to rupture, they can still leak, and you may not be aware of the problem as the silicone tends to stay in the area. Silicone ruptures are also called silent ruptures, which is why we urge our patients to have an MRI every two years to check the implants.
Some signs of a silicone breast implant rupture include:
- A decrease in the size of your breast
- Hard lumps that form under your skin
- Pain or discomfort
Again, silicone ruptures aren't all that common and occur in only 2-12% of recipients.
When you receive breast implants, your body may respond by growing scar tissue around them, which is called a capsule. If the capsule hardens or contracts, this can lead to a condition we call capsular contracture.
Some signs of this problem include:
- An uncomfortable tightness in your skin
- Uneven breasts
- Pain and tenderness
The severity of your symptoms depends upon the degree of the capsular contracture.
Another sign that you may need a breast implant replacement is if the implant “ripples,” which leads to visible and palpable changes in your breast.
When we enhance your breasts, we position the implants securely, but aging can still take a toll, and your implants can shift and sag, sometimes at different rates. In these cases, you may want to consider a breast lift and implant replacement.
Replacing your implants
If you need to have your implants removed and replaced, we use the same techniques as we did during your original enhancement to minimize scarring. Please note that even if only one implant is problematic, we typically remove and replace both to ensure that your implants are exactly the same in terms of product, size, and age.
If you suspect that one or both of your breast implants may need to be replaced, please contact our office in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to schedule a consultation.