Will I Need to Replace My Breast Implants?

Although most patients who have had breast augmentation surgery are satisfied with their results for many years, it is possible that you may wish to replace your breast implants after a while. However, the reasons for choosing to have breast revision surgery are varied and can include:

  • Capsular contracture
  • Implant rupture
  • Switching from silicone to saline (or vice versa)
  • Increasing implant size
  • Decreasing implant size
  • Removing breast implants

A common misconception is that breast implants need to be replaced every ten years. The reason behind the confusion is likely due to a report released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 that stated one in five breast augmentation patients needed to replace their implants after ten years. While an MRI is a good test for checking implant integrity, oftentimes false positives occur and unnecessary surgery is the result. Ideally, breast augmentation patients maintain a relationship with their surgeon, who follows up with them every year or so and can make recommendations regarding when additional testing (such as an MRI) is warranted. Patients should also be vigilant about self breast examination and mammograms (as indicated by age and history) to ensure optimal breast health.

Certain concerns (such as capsular contracture or implant rupture) that would actually require breast implant replacement/removal are relatively rare. In fact, it is more common for patients to choose breast revision as a way to “upgrade” to their previous breast implants. In some cases, the patient may wish to swap out their implants for a different size or type—for example, some women who selected large implants when they were younger may wish to have a more natural appearance later on.

Patients who seek breast revision as a way to correct an undesirable outcome after their initial surgery are less common, but are generally the result of either undiscussed/unmet expectations or breast augmentation being performed by an unqualified and/or inexperienced surgeon. For this reason, Dr. Thomas Lintner always urges individuals considering cosmetic surgery of any kind to conduct thorough research to find a board-certified plastic surgeon they can trust.

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