Remember when you first got your breast augmentation, and your plastic surgeon said, “your implants should last a long time, but at some point, you should expect to replace them,” (or something along those lines)?
It’s been years—perhaps even more than a decade—since that day, and you’re wondering if that time has come. If you suspect a complication with your breast implants, a visit with your plastic surgeon is a must, no matter how long you’ve had your implants. But if you are not having any noticeable problems, it can be tough to know when to replace breast implants.
Ideally, you would exchange your breast implants for new ones before they wear out, but not too soon—after all, you want to get your money’s worth and not have another surgery until you are ready. However, there are plenty of good reasons to get new breast implants other than wear and tear. Here are a few.
Your taste in clothing has likely changed over the years, and if your current breast implants no longer suit your lifestyle, it may be time for a change. The good news is you’ll have many more choices in breast implant shape, profile, and feel—breast implant technology has improved a lot in the past decade, and manufacturers have greatly expanded their offerings. So no matter your shape or goals, a skilled surgeon can provide you with a more personalized choice in breast implants and help you get a very natural look and feel that’s perfect for the present-time you.
Even if your breast implants haven’t changed a bit since you got them, your body probably has. Weight changes, pregnancy, and aging can all affect your upper and lower body proportions, alter the shape and volume of your natural breast tissue, and cause breast sagging—all of which can make your implants look not-quite-right anymore. Replacing your breast implants for a more appropriate size and shape for your current body can make a world of difference in how you look and feel. Your plastic surgeon can also perform a breast lift at the same time to correct sagging and restore optimal shape and perkiness to your breasts.
It’s a myth that breast implants only last 10 years—they don’t “expire” at any certain date, and many patients go even twice that long without experiencing problems with their breast implants. However, the risk of complications, particularly implant rupture, does increase as implants get older, with the 10-year mark being a common milestone at which we suggest patients consider new implants to “reset the clock” on the risk for complications. Additionally, some breast implant warranties reduce what costs they will cover after 10 years, which can be an incentive to upgrade.
While an experienced plastic surgeon can typically achieve beautiful results when correcting for implant complications, planned breast revision surgery is usually less invasive, less expensive, and gets better results. This is because your surgeon is replacing intact breast implants, before any issues that involve surrounding tissues—such as capsular contracture, asymmetry, or ruptures—occur.
For my patients in Richmond, breast implant removal and replacement typically takes less time and involves a much shorter, easier recovery than the initial procedure, as the breast pocket is already made. And, unless you are also getting a breast lift, we can probably use the same incision locations to exchange your breast implants, avoiding additional scarring.
Patients who are not experiencing complications are often good candidates for en bloc breast implant removal, a technique in which I can remove the old breast implant and scar tissue capsule in one piece. The en bloc technique not only reduces post-op swelling and discomfort, but also allows me to achieve a more symmetrical, round breast shape, whether you are getting new implants or undergoing removal only.
If you’re considering an update to your look, the best way to learn more is to meet with a board certified plastic surgeon. If you’re in the Richmond area, I’d be glad to discuss your goals and show you the latest breast implant options at a personal consultation. Contact my office any time to make an appointment.