If you were to type in the question, “How long will breast implants last?” the Internet will likely generate a possibly misleading answer of “about ten years.” For a more accurate answer, The Plastic Surgery Channel brought together three board certified plastic surgeons, all with extensive experience in breast augmentation surgery, to discuss the lifespan of breast implants.
10 Years: True or False?
The 10 years answer seems to come from data that shows a small number of implants fail (rupture) at 10 years. It’s an extremely safe bet to say 10, but the reality is they will more than likely last much longer. “About ten percent of implants are ruptured at ten years – that’s the data we have,” says Dr. Caroline Glicksman of New Jersey. “About ninety percent of those implants are still intact after ten years.” Her colleague, Dr. Shaun Parson, who practices in Scottsdale, Arizona, adds, “Everything is better made over time: for example better car tires, better computers. The engineering on the implants has improved and they are better products.”
Due to modern implants being so well engineered, manufacturers provide lifetime warranties. “Sometimes, patients look at me like I’m a little crazy when I tell them that,” says Parson. With decades of research and trials, the science of breast implants has never been more understood, leading the products to be so durable. Even if they are durable and will last perhaps a lifetime themselves, the unique environment of a patient’s body can indeed change, which may be the reason that implants get removed and replaced, not because they break.
Why would you replace an implant if it isn’t broken?
There are reasons to replace implants down the road that are not the result of an implant failure. “Sometimes it’s not about the implant, it’s about the patient,” explains Parson. “We need to change things sometimes because the patient is older.” Many women have breast augmentation done in their twenties or thirties. As women age, they may gain weight, lose weight, have children and breast-feed. Eventually then, all will undergo menopause. Glicksman explains, “Eventually, all women reach menopause and their bodies completely change. We pick implants for different reasons at different ages. That may be the reason they want to change their implant, instead of implant failure. Their bodies are changing far faster than most of these implants are failing.“
Your breast implants will likely last much longer than ten years, but after ten years of having the same implants you may find that you want to replace your implants to a different size or shape to complement your changing body. With the help of a skilled breast surgeon, you can safely achieve your goals both now and in the future. “We as board certified plastic surgeons have a wonderful range of products available so we can individualize the kind of implant to the patient, knowing that we have an excellent, safe product to use,” says Dr. Robert Grant.