You may have heard that breast implants need replacing every 10-20 years. The truth is, though this may be the case for some women, it does depend on implant type, lifestyle and the patient’s body, among other factors. If your breast implants appear to be working properly and you’re happy with them, then accept for a check-up, they may last a life-time. However, in this post, we look at the reasons why you may need to replace them for your safety and happiness.
When Is Breast Implant Replacement Necessary?
Reasons For Replacement Include:
- Hardening Or Contracture Of The Breasts.
- Breast Sagging Or Dropping due to ageing or breastfeeding.
- An implant moves causing asymmetry.
- The patient wants to alter the size.
How To Tell If Your Implant Has Leaked Or Ruptured?
There are various ways to tell if your implant has leaked and/or ruptured, including:
For Silicone Gel Implants:
- There is redness, soreness and discomfort in and around the breasts.
- There are small lumps in and around the breast, arm or armpit.
- There is a change in breast size and/or shape.
- The breast area softens or the breasts themselves feel firmer.
For Saline Implants:
- A noticeable reduction in breast size and shape.
- Clear indentation or rippling of the breast.
- Skin redness.
- Breast asymmetry.
Though there are no health risks associated with leaking or ruptured implants, it’s always wise to check they don’t move to another location, as this may make them hard to remove. This can be done through a mammogram or MRI, for example. You may want to replace them for aesthetic reasons.
Hardening Or Contracture Of The Breasts
When you have a breast augmentation, the body recognises the implants as a ‘foreign body’, forming a capsule around them, which over time may harden and transform into deep scar tissue known as capsular contracture. This may also be caused by post-surgery infection, implant placement and type of implant. This can cause the patient a lot of pain, and therefore implant removal and replacement may be necessary to lessen discomfort, while still retaining the desired size and shape.
Ageing, Breast-Feeding and Asymmetry
All breasts, whether natural or implanted can still be affected by gravity, sun-damage, ageing and the effects of pregnancy and motherhood. This can cause drooping, sagging and a change in size due to hormonal fluctuations, as well as rippling of the implants. Therefore, you may want to replace them to restore your breasts’ location, shape, size and appearance.
Similarly, if you had been unhappy with your implants from the start, believing them to be too large or small, then replacing them.
If I Decide To Replace My Implant, Where Will The New Implant Go?
The new implant is usually inserted into your current breast pocket and this will be a less painful procedure than the first one because the pocket has already been formed.
If this pocket or your implants had been causing you discomfort or other problems, then your surgeon may decide a new pocket is best. For example, moving the pocket from in front of the pectoral muscle to behind may prevent those issues reoccurring in the future. Recovery may take longer, but shouldn’t differ from when you had your first implants fitted.
For more information, please read our dedicated Breast Implant Removal and Replacement page and call us today for any queries or questions you may have.