by Susan Gannon
Most people are aware that breast implants don’t last forever, but not everyone knows what that means for people who have implants. Our breast surgeons in Albany, NY, like to discuss this with patients before they commit to an augmentation procedure. We feel it’s important that those who make this investment understand the importance of long-term implant care, as well as options for when it’s time to say goodbye.
Although breast implants are generally low-maintenance devices, there are some things to consider before deciding on breast augmentation. Today’s cohesive silicone gel implants, for example, hold their shape when ruptured or broken, so it can be very difficult to tell if they’ve been damaged. I advise patients with these types of implants that there are no safety issues with a rupture. If a breast changes in the way it looks or feels after silicone breast augmentation, we consider an ultrasound or MRI to evaluate the implant.
Under the right conditions, modern implants can last a long time. Most manufacturers say the average “life span” is somewhere from 10 to 20 years. As an implant ages, it may start to weaken or deteriorate, leaving it more prone to breaking. You may also notice a change in the shape, position, or feel of your breasts. Your surgeon can help you determine when your implants are no longer effective. When this happens, you may choose to replace them with new implants as part of a revisionary surgery, or remove them altogether in a procedure known as an explant surgery. Both options are safe and have high rates of patient satisfaction.
The decisions you make regarding the long-term care of your implants are just as personal as your original decision to undergo the surgery. With proper guidance from a trusted, qualified breast surgeon, you can make the choices that are best for your body.