Breast implants are typically very durable and can almost withstand any activity in a patient’s life. However, unlike other types of artificial devices, the quality of implants eventually withers away with time as the years go by. Simply put, breast implants don’t last forever, and they need to be either modified or replaced somewhere later down the line.
What’s The Average Duration Of Breast Implants?
The average shelf life of saline or silicone implants is typically somewhere between 10 to 20 years. However, most of them are removed because of cosmetic concerns or complications. About 20% of patients have their implants either replaced or removed within a span of 8 to 10 years.
If you want to know when you need your implants replaced, then keep reading on to find out.
What Is Breast Implant Replacement?
Breast implant replacement is a cosmetic surgery that is typically the reverse of breast augmentation. In this procedure, the patients have their implants either removed or have their size and shape revised. Most women who had breast implant surgery will need to consider other revision procedures, some of which include:
- Having the implant removed and replaced with new ones;
- Have the existing implants repositioned, or
- Have the implants removed without replacing them.
If you’re experiencing complications with your implants (including capsular contracture or infection), then your plastic surgeon might suggest having the implants removed.
Other possible reasons to have breast implants removed could be:
- Calcium buildup
- Necrosis or dead tissue development around the implant
Indications When It’s Time For Removal Or Replacement
Breast augmentation patients will know when it’s time to either remove or replace their implants if or when they experience the following complications:
Hardening, otherwise known as capsular contracture, is when the scar tissue around either one or both implants hardens. The patients may experience pain, tightness, abnormal cosmetic changes, and tenderness in their breast(s). In some situations, this condition may occur more than once in the same breast.
Silicone implants can rupture. The gel used in these implants is a lot thicker than saline. When a silicone implant ruptures, the gel usually stays within the implant or the scar tissue surrounding it. Due to this, when these implants get ruptured, they would often go unnoticed. And that’s why they’re commonly known as silent ruptures.
Many patients don’t witness any symptoms, but when they do they usually include:
- Hard knots
- Reduced breast size
- Tenderness or pain
- Breasts looking uneven
- Alterations in sensation
Even though the precise rate of silicone implants rupturing isn’t known, it’s estimated to be anywhere between 2 and 12%. Some silicone implants can rupture immediately, and some usually take several years, whereas others take 10 years or perhaps even more.
If a saline implant ruptures due to a hole or a tear in its shell, it will start deflating like a balloon. As a result, the saline gel within the implant will start leaking out and be absorbed by your body. The leak will start slowly after a couple of days, or immediately in one go.
The patients won’t be able to notice the leakage or deflation once all of the gel has leaked out. As a result, the breast will lose its shape and size and look immensely different from the other breast.
It’s quite rare for breast implant ruptures to occur in the first couple of years. Although the risk does increase afterward.
Unhappy With Breast Size
This is perhaps the most common reason why women opt for breast implant replacement. Most patients realize that their breasts are usually too small and want them to be bigger.
Having Their Positions Changed
Even if they’re artificial, implants don’t necessarily prevent your new breasts from sagging after several years. Gravity will eventually take its toll. The breast can also sag and stretch due to weight loss or gain. If these changes are bothering you, then you have to opt for a breast implant replacement surgery or a breast lift to help your breasts return to their youthful, beautiful selves.
What Is The Cost Of Breast Implant Replacement?
The breast implant replacement cost varies based on the experience of the plastic surgeon as well as the geographic location. Sometimes, health insurance may be able to cover breast implant replacement surgery. In other instances, the warranty of an implant will cover some of the costs that are involved with the surgery.
Most breast implant doctors in Houston offer financing plans for breast implant replacement surgery in case health insurance is unable to cover it, so be sure to ask your physician about it.
The costs that may be included in breast implant replacement revision could be:
- Implant costs
- Surgeon’s fees
- Surgical facility or hospital costs
- Medication prescriptions
- Anesthesia fees
- X-rays and medical tests
- Post-surgery garments
What Happens During the Implant Replacement Surgery?
The surgery will be performed using general anesthesia and can take between one to three hours like it would with regular breast enhancement surgery. Some patients might be able to go home on the very same day of the surgery, but then again it depends on a particular patient’s unique biology.
There are three common techniques that are usually carried out during the replacement surgery, including:
1. Implant Removal Only
The surgeon will make incisions in the same area as the initial breast enhancement surgery was performed. If you’re experiencing capsular contracture, the surgeons will have the hardened capsules removed to help accelerate the healing process.
2. Removal Along With a Breast Lift
If in case your breast skin has sagged or stretched, then your surgeon will perform a breast lift procedure along with an implant replacement surgery. First, excess breast tissue will need to be removed and then the breast tissue will need to be tightened to offer better support. In other cases, the surgeon might also resize the areolas to better suit the new shape of your breasts.
If you have saline implants, the surgeon may recommend deflating the breasts without having to consider the surgery, which takes place in their office using local anesthesia. Of course, you might need extra surgery like an implant replacement or breast lift, depending on the results.