Will My Breast Implants Be Permanent?
Posted on: January 21, 2020 in Breast Implants
7 Min Read:
Some women go into their breast augmentation consultation with the expectation that their future breast implants will be with them forever.
Therefore, they are surprised to hear that those implants may not be as permanent as they previously thought.
Breast implants, like any other human-made object, are not foolproof and not immune to damage. While breast implants can be expected to last for many years or decades, they should not be expected to be permanent.
How Long Will My Implants Last?
There is a popular notion that breast implants will only last for eight to 10 years before they will need to be replaced.
While this is true for some women, others experience much longer results—sometimes upwards of 25 or 30 years.
Recently, Dr. Joshua Halpern had a patient come in for a consultation for a facelift. She was 47 years old. Dr. Halpern performed a breast enlargement on her 25 years ago and she still has the original implants.
“My mother relieved me to you,” the patient said. The patient’s mother was an OR nurse at a major hospital in Tampa. “My mother told me you were the most meticulous surgeon she ever worked with.”
Implants do not have a definite lifeline; instead, they are affected by external factors like trauma or implant complications.
What Can Happen to My Breast Implants?
Breast implants may need to be replaced for a variety of reasons. The three most common are physical trauma, implant complications, or natural wear-and-tear.
What Is Implant Trauma?
Trauma to a breast implant can occur at the time of the initial breast augmentation or years down the line.
While it is not common, an implant may be damaged during insertion. Breast augmentation requires the use of sharp specialty tools. If one of these tools accidentally comes into contact with the implant during the process, the implant shell may be damaged.
Dr. Halpern was informed by an implant company that his rupture rate is 20 times less than the national average in part because of how he inserts the implant and closes up the wound.
Alternatively, some implants experience trauma after the patient has left the surgical room.
Breast implants are incredibly durable and able to withstand an enormous amount of pressure. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. Physical trauma—such as that experienced in car accidents, falls, or other injuries—can cause irreversible damage to an implant.
Damaged implants often result in an implant rupture or deflation—when the implant shell weakens and allows the internal silicone or saline to escape out of the shell.
Implant rupture leads to aesthetic distortion and should be handled as soon as possible.
As some silicone implant ruptures are not readily noticeable (silent ruptures), women with these implants are required to undergo MRIs or ultrasounds every other year to verify the health and durability of the implant.
What Are Implant Complications?
Implant complications are the most common reason for the removal of breast implants.
Complications can occur at any time following breast augmentation and, unfortunately, require additional breast surgery to repair.
Common complications include capsular contracture and implant displacement.
Capsular contracture is a complication that causes physical discomfort and aesthetic distortion. This is the result of hardening scar tissue constricting around and squeezing the implant. Capsular contracture is addressed with the removal of the implant and the scar tissue.
Dr. Halpern has been told he has one of the lowest rates of capsular contractures in the county.
Implant displacement, such as bottoming out or symmastia, occurs when the implant travels out of the designated breast pocket. Implant displacement can result in an unnatural breast appearance.
How Can I Reduce My Risk for Implant Problems?
Unfortunately, there is often no way to eliminate or even reduce your risk of needing future breast surgery. Even if your implants do not experience damage or complications, there is still a chance that they will need to be replaced due to normal wear-and-tear.
Women with breast implants should always be vigilant about the feeling and appearance of their implants.
If you are interested in learning more about breast enhancement surgery, are looking for breast enhancement near you, or are experiencing a complication with your implants, contact Dr. Halpern by calling (813) 872-2696 to schedule your complimentary consultation.
What Should I Do if I Experience a Complication With My Implant?
If your implant is physically damaged and causing pain or aesthetic distortion, breast implant repair is in your future.
Unfortunately, implant complications will not fix themselves, and you will need surgical assistance to restore aesthetics and comfort to your augmented breasts.
Breast implant repair, or breast revision, is performed by removing the damaged implant, possibly removing part of or the entire breast capsule. A brand new implant is inserted into the breast pocket, and the incisions are closed.
Breast revision can be performed using the same incision as your original breast augmentation.
Is It Safe to Replace My Implants?
It is safe to replace your implants. You are not required to replace your breast implants after they have been removed, although many women choose to.
Breast revision is the ideal time to remove your implants permanently—if you are unhappy with their aesthetic or feel—because the implants are already being removed from the breast pocket. A breast lift can be performed simultaneously to correct any ptosis (breast sagging) or to incorporate stretched out breast tissue as an autograft to help add breast tissue internally for a better shape after removing the breast implants.
How Durable Are Breast Implants?
The durability of breast implants is one of the most common worries that women have about breast implants.
While a breast implant has the appearance of a balloon or pillow, it is not nearly as fragile. Breast implants can be stepped on, run over, or dropped, and none of these events should have an effect on the implant shell.
Is It Hard to Remove a Ruptured Implant?
There is no way around removing a deflated or ruptured implant since there is no way to repair a damaged silicone shell.
Saline implants deflate almost immediately following a break in the shell. Silicone implants are not as readily noticeable.
Silicone implants are very different than saline—especially newer silicone implants. New silicone implants are made with a thick cohesive gel that holds its shape even if the shell is weakened or cut.
This thicker gel is beneficial because it makes it less likely that silicone gel will escape into the body.
Free silicone gel from silicone implants is difficult to remove because it can move out of the breast pocket and become absorbed by the surrounding tissue.
Still, a ruptured silicone implant should be removed as soon as possible. Dr. Joshua Halpern has one of the longest experiences in treating this problem.
Do I Need to Remove Scar Tissue?
Scar tissue, secondary to a capsular contracture, should be partially or completely removed during a breast revision—especially one that is due to capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is caused by constricting scar tissue, and not removing it can cause the complication to recur.
What If My Implant Moves?
A displaced implant is an implant that has shifted or moved outside of the breast pocket.
Even though a displaced implant is usually undamaged, it is still often removed. This allows your surgeon to repair the breast pocket and ensure that the implant will not travel outside the breast pocket for a second time.