When is breast implant replacement mandatory?

Tags: breasts replacement

Is there a time limit for how long breast implants should stay in the body? I got mine in 2005, should I be looking to replace them soon?


F, 46, California

Implants do not have an infinite lifespan, and do not have expiration dates.Saline implants fail 1% each year and silicon gel implants around 0,7% a year. In 10 years saline will fail ( deflate) 10% and silicone gel, 7%. In 30 years saline will fail 30% and silicone gel, 21%. So, in 30 years there is a one in three chance saline implants fail, and a one in five chances, silicone gel fail. It is easy to know when saline devices fail, they deflate. Silicone gel do not demonstrate much on failure. Rupture is a bad term implying a large break or disruption. A small crack is usually what develops with no leakage of gel ( for the new generation devices, after 2006). The recommended diagnostics to check for gel implant defects is an MRI or soon high resolution ultrasound. Since fail rates for silicone gel implants are around 7% , in 10 years, these studies should be obtained, maybe 12-15 years out. The FDA recommends sooner and more frequently, but the fail rates timing makes more sense.

If your implants are saline-filled, you can leave them in indefinitely until they rupture, which will be obvious because they will likely just deflate or get noticeably smaller. If they are silicone-filled, they should generally be exchanged after 10-15 years. It is recommended by the FDA that women who have silicone implants get an MRI after the first 3 years and then every 2 years thereafter to evaluate the implants for rupture. As this is only a recommendation and not a requirement, it is not often adhered to. That said, it is advised not to get silicone breast implants and then forget about them. Any woman who gets silicone implants should, at some point, either have an MRI evaluation or have the implants proactively and preemptively exchanged. That time period should not be more than 10-15 years. Studies that were done on silicone implants have shown that ruptured implants do not cause any known diseases (cancer, lupus, etc.). That said, if the implants are determined to be ruptured (MRI is the most sensitive test for this), they should be exchanged or removed.