How long can I keep my implants for? Will I really be looking at surgery every 10 years until I take them out?

Answers from doctors (29)


Barry J. Kaplan, D.O.

Published on Jun 09, 2016

The FDA recommends replacing silicone at 10 yrs; saline can stay indefinitely.

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Answered by Barry J. Kaplan, D.O.

The FDA recommends replacing silicone at 10 yrs; saline can stay indefinitely.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Ralph M. Rosato, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Published on Jun 01, 2016

Implants do not have an expiration date once they are placed. If you are having no problems, then they can last your entire life. Saline implants will deflate when they are leaking, while silicone implants may not show any signs of a leak. Cohesive gel implants can be checked with a MRI. However, the MRI is not perfect.

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Answered by Ralph M. Rosato, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Implants do not have an expiration date once they are placed. If you are having no problems, then they can last your entire life. Saline implants will deflate when they are leaking, while silicone implants may not show any signs of a leak. Cohesive gel implants can be checked with a MRI. However, the MRI is not perfect.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Kenneth L. Stein M.D. FACS

Published on May 25, 2016

You won't need to replace your implants every 10 years unless you are having problems.

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Answered by Kenneth L. Stein M.D. FACS

You won't need to replace your implants every 10 years unless you are having problems.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Edward Domanskis M.D.

Published on May 03, 2016

The manufacturer does say they are only "good" for so many years but they are being extra cautious.

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Answered by Edward Domanskis M.D.

The manufacturer does say they are only "good" for so many years but they are being extra cautious.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


David C. Yao MD, FACS

Published on Apr 22, 2016

Thank you for asking. Breast implants are not lifetime devices and most likely will need to be replaced eventually. However, many patients have implants that last more than 10 years without issues. Each person has a different experience. The 10-year number is simply a good round number--many patients safely go beyond the 10 years without issues. Talk with your local board-certified plastic surgeon who can guide you on your specific case. Best wishes!

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Answered by David C. Yao MD, FACS

Thank you for asking. Breast implants are not lifetime devices and most likely will need to be replaced eventually. However, many patients have implants that last more than 10 years without issues. Each person has a different experience. The 10-year number is simply a good round number--many patients safely go beyond the 10 years without issues. Talk with your local board-certified plastic surgeon who can guide you on your specific case. Best wishes!

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Bryan S. Armijo, MD

Published on Jul 15, 2015

Many of my patients ask this very same question. The lifetime of implants is indefinite. Most manufacturer warranties do expire after ten years, but I have a number of patients who have had their implants for 20+ years without any issues.

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Answered by Bryan S. Armijo, MD

Many of my patients ask this very same question. The lifetime of implants is indefinite. Most manufacturer warranties do expire after ten years, but I have a number of patients who have had their implants for 20+ years without any issues.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


More About Doctor James Fernau MD

Published on Jun 09, 2015

The new 5.0 Sientra implants have a lifetime warranty .

Answered by James Fernau MD (View Profile)

The new 5.0 Sientra implants have a lifetime warranty .

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Andrew Trussler MD, FACS

Published on Jun 07, 2015

Breast implants have about a one percent per year rate of rupture. If the breast implants are not giving you any problems, like firmness or malposition, there is no need to exchange the breast implants. Breast implants should be changed out if there is an issue, but more commonly for a size change only.

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Answered by Andrew Trussler MD, FACS

Breast implants have about a one percent per year rate of rupture. If the breast implants are not giving you any problems, like firmness or malposition, there is no need to exchange the breast implants. Breast implants should be changed out if there is an issue, but more commonly for a size change only.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


John J. O'Brien, Jr. M.D.

Published on Jun 05, 2015

that is a good question that many patients ask. There is no definitive timetable, however many surgeons recommend physical examination with your physician as well as screening test such as mammogram and or ultrasounds to help after year 10.you may also consider an MRI study. The newer silicone implants are of a cohesive gel nature and or a gummy bear and they appeared to be more stable been previously noted silicone gel implants. I would recommend you discussed this witha qualified board certified plastic surgeon in your area. Best of luck.

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Answered by John J. O'Brien, Jr. M.D.

that is a good question that many patients ask. There is no definitive timetable, however many surgeons recommend physical examination with your physician as well as screening test such as mammogram and or ultrasounds to help after year 10.you may also consider an MRI study. The newer silicone implants are of a cohesive gel nature and or a gummy bear and they appeared to be more stable been previously noted silicone gel implants. I would recommend you discussed this witha qualified board certified plastic surgeon in your area. Best of luck.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Otto Placik, MD

Published on Jun 04, 2015

The "suggestion" that you have to change every 10 years has been promulgated on the Internet and I thinking does a disservice to women. I have taken over a practice that has performed implant breast surgery for over 60 years. Very few of these women replace them every 10. That seems like a lot of unnecessary surgery.
What type of implants do you have?
1) Saline: these may rupture, or deflate, or leak (slowly). They may also develop capsular contracture. In these instances surgery is done when indicated. However I have had patients with implants that have been in place for over 25 years without any problems whatsoever.
2) Silicone: this is a little more difficult because the FDA SUGGESTS an MRI 3 years after implantation and every 2 years thereafter. In reality, this is a burdensome task and perhaps remove/replace every 10' years is an alternative. On the other hand, silent rupture is a possibility and some form of surveillance examination should be performed at least every 10 years.

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Answered by Otto Placik, MD

The "suggestion" that you have to change every 10 years has been promulgated on the Internet and I thinking does a disservice to women. I have taken over a practice that has performed implant breast surgery for over 60 years. Very few of these women replace them every 10. That seems like a lot of unnecessary surgery.
What type of implants do you have?
1) Saline: these may rupture, or deflate, or leak (slowly). They may also develop capsular contracture. In these instances surgery is done when indicated. However I have had patients with implants that have been in place for over 25 years without any problems whatsoever.
2) Silicone: this is a little more difficult because the FDA SUGGESTS an MRI 3 years after implantation and every 2 years thereafter. In reality, this is a burdensome task and perhaps remove/replace every 10' years is an alternative. On the other hand, silent rupture is a possibility and some form of surveillance examination should be performed at least every 10 years.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Daniel C. Mills, M.D., F.A.C.S

Published on Jun 04, 2015

It's somewhat controversial if you need to replace the implants every 10 years or not. The implant companies say that if you look to the bell curve of when the implants are broken it would be about 10 years. Is it bad to have a broken implant? The newer implants are more cohesive and don't have as much oil in them. But your body sometimes sees the increased concentration of silicone when it comes out of its envelope and goes to wall it off causing a capsule or contracture. We don't have a chip in the implant to tell us when it ruptures. So the only way we can tell is with mammography, time, and physical exam. It really comes down to how worried you would be with having a broken implant inside you. But currently the best information we have is that half the implants will be broken around 10 years

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Answered by Daniel C. Mills, M.D., F.A.C.S

It's somewhat controversial if you need to replace the implants every 10 years or not. The implant companies say that if you look to the bell curve of when the implants are broken it would be about 10 years. Is it bad to have a broken implant? The newer implants are more cohesive and don't have as much oil in them. But your body sometimes sees the increased concentration of silicone when it comes out of its envelope and goes to wall it off causing a capsule or contracture. We don't have a chip in the implant to tell us when it ruptures. So the only way we can tell is with mammography, time, and physical exam. It really comes down to how worried you would be with having a broken implant inside you. But currently the best information we have is that half the implants will be broken around 10 years

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Paul Wigoda M.D.

Published on Jun 04, 2015

You can keep your implants for as long as they are intact and there are no other problems, like capsular contracture. It is a myth that implants need to be changed every 10 years. If your implants last 20 , 30, or 40 years without any problems, then you dont need to do anything. The implants that are made today are better quality than what was made in the 1980's or 1990's so they should last longer. I personally like to use the Sientra brand which have the lowest rupture rate compared to Allergan and Mentor.

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Answered by Paul Wigoda M.D.

You can keep your implants for as long as they are intact and there are no other problems, like capsular contracture. It is a myth that implants need to be changed every 10 years. If your implants last 20 , 30, or 40 years without any problems, then you dont need to do anything. The implants that are made today are better quality than what was made in the 1980's or 1990's so they should last longer. I personally like to use the Sientra brand which have the lowest rupture rate compared to Allergan and Mentor.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Christopher Khorsandi, M.D.

Published on Jun 04, 2015

Breast Implants today can be expected to last quite a long time. In general you don not have to replace implants unless there is a problem with them. Many patients have their implants in for 20+ years and these were earlier generation implants. The reason many patients change them out every ten years or so is that the breast ages and loses volume naturally. So after about ten years many patients choose to replace that natural volume loss with a bigger implant.

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Answered by Christopher Khorsandi, M.D.

Breast Implants today can be expected to last quite a long time. In general you don not have to replace implants unless there is a problem with them. Many patients have their implants in for 20+ years and these were earlier generation implants. The reason many patients change them out every ten years or so is that the breast ages and loses volume naturally. So after about ten years many patients choose to replace that natural volume loss with a bigger implant.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Steven Yarinsky, M.D, F.A.C.S.

Published on Jun 04, 2015

Your implants may last your lifetime. There is never a need to take them out or replace them if you remain happy with the results and there is no evidence of any rupture or leakage.

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Answered by Steven Yarinsky, M.D, F.A.C.S.

Your implants may last your lifetime. There is never a need to take them out or replace them if you remain happy with the results and there is no evidence of any rupture or leakage.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Joubin S. Gabbay, M.D.

Published on Jun 04, 2015

Hi...this is one of the most common questions I'm asked about breast augmentation. The simple answer is: you need to take them out when you NEED to take them out! In other words, there is no set date as to when you need to remove your implants. You only need to change them if there is a problem such as capsular contracture or, commonly, if you need to lift other procedure due to the natural aging of your breasts. It seems that the myth of taking the implants out after 10 years is based on old data where the average time to implant replacement was about 10 years. That is out of date. I've seen many women who have had their implants for many decades have been fine. Of course, the opposite is certainly true: I have seen patients who have had to have their implants replaced sooner than 10 years.

I wish you the best!

Dr. Gabbay.

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Answered by Joubin S. Gabbay, M.D.

Hi...this is one of the most common questions I'm asked about breast augmentation. The simple answer is: you need to take them out when you NEED to take them out! In other words, there is no set date as to when you need to remove your implants. You only need to change them if there is a problem such as capsular contracture or, commonly, if you need to lift other procedure due to the natural aging of your breasts. It seems that the myth of taking the implants out after 10 years is based on old data where the average time to implant replacement was about 10 years. That is out of date. I've seen many women who have had their implants for many decades have been fine. Of course, the opposite is certainly true: I have seen patients who have had to have their implants replaced sooner than 10 years.

I wish you the best!

Dr. Gabbay.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Bahram Ghaderi, MD, FACS

Published on Jun 04, 2015

In general, saline or silicone implants last about 10 years on average. Many implants last much longer than that. If your implant is not broken, then there is no need to replace them. Most patients should expect at least one surgery in their lifetime to have implant replacement. It is rare to have multiple surgeries or a replacement surgery every 10yrs. This can be discussed in more detail during a full consultation as well.

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Answered by Bahram Ghaderi, MD, FACS

In general, saline or silicone implants last about 10 years on average. Many implants last much longer than that. If your implant is not broken, then there is no need to replace them. Most patients should expect at least one surgery in their lifetime to have implant replacement. It is rare to have multiple surgeries or a replacement surgery every 10yrs. This can be discussed in more detail during a full consultation as well.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Larry Leverett, MD, FACS

Published on Jun 04, 2015

It is a common belief that breast implants need to be replaced every 10 years. The need to replace breast implants occurs when an implant ruptures and/ or the implants become firm, known as capsular contracture.

The rupture rate is higher with Saline implants than with Silicone Cohesive Gel implants. The most common reason for capsular contracture is bleeding around the implant. This could be surgical bleeding at the time of surgery, trauma to the breast at any time after surgery or from the use of blood-thinning supplements and medications such as fish oils, Aspirin, NSAIDs and vitamin E containing supplements.

Most implant manufactures provide a lifetime warranty on breast implants. The warranty covers the replacement implant(s) should a rupture occur. If the rupture occurs in the first 10 years of surgery, the patient will likely receive financial assistance and implant(s).

The most common reason patients elect to exchange their breast implants is to exchange from saline to silicone or to change size. Patients elect to exchange to Silicone cohesive gel implants to obtain a more natural feel and reduce the feel and sometimes visibility of ripples. As time goes by the breast can change due to a number of factors: weight gain, weight loss, pregnancy etc. When these changes occur the size of the breasts can change resulting in the desire for a smaller or larger implant size.

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Answered by Larry Leverett, MD, FACS

It is a common belief that breast implants need to be replaced every 10 years. The need to replace breast implants occurs when an implant ruptures and/ or the implants become firm, known as capsular contracture.

The rupture rate is higher with Saline implants than with Silicone Cohesive Gel implants. The most common reason for capsular contracture is bleeding around the implant. This could be surgical bleeding at the time of surgery, trauma to the breast at any time after surgery or from the use of blood-thinning supplements and medications such as fish oils, Aspirin, NSAIDs and vitamin E containing supplements.

Most implant manufactures provide a lifetime warranty on breast implants. The warranty covers the replacement implant(s) should a rupture occur. If the rupture occurs in the first 10 years of surgery, the patient will likely receive financial assistance and implant(s).

The most common reason patients elect to exchange their breast implants is to exchange from saline to silicone or to change size. Patients elect to exchange to Silicone cohesive gel implants to obtain a more natural feel and reduce the feel and sometimes visibility of ripples. As time goes by the breast can change due to a number of factors: weight gain, weight loss, pregnancy etc. When these changes occur the size of the breasts can change resulting in the desire for a smaller or larger implant size.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Gerald Minniti, M.D., F.A.C.S

Published on Jun 04, 2015

This is a great question because there is a persistent myth about the 'ten year mark' and the need to remove and replace your implants. Implants do not need to be removed and replaced at any given time. Re-operation is only indicated if your implant has deflated (saline implants) or has been found to have a rupture of the shell by MRI or HD ultrasound (silicone gel implants).
The durability of any given implant is variable, but the older they become, the more likely they will have a failure.

Saline implants tend to rupture and deflate earlier than silicone gel implants, and about 10% will have deflated by 10 years, and 50% by 15 years. Silicone gel implants have a roughly 5% rupture rate at ten years. We are still awaiting data on the 15 year mark, but it is not uncommon to see women with 20 and 30 year old silicone gel implants that are intact.

Keep in mind there are a host of other reasons a woman may need or want a revision surgery. Planning your first surgery correctly and making choices now can affect the frequency of surgeries in the future. Specifically, choosing implants that are sized appropriately for your anatomy has a profound affect on both early and late complications that lead to re-operation; this is known as dimensional planning. Choosing either regular or highly cohesive silicone gel implants will also decrease risk of reoperation. Choosing an inframammary incision will also decrease your risk of capsular contracture, the number one complication of breast augmentation. Finally, choosing sub-pectoral placement of your implants will also decrease your risk of capsular contracture.

If you are not excited about re-operation but want breast augmentation, you should keep these points in mind. Realize that your aesthetic goal (cup size) should be de-prioritized over proper implant selection to obtain your real goal: a problem free result that lasts decades.

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Answered by Gerald Minniti, M.D., F.A.C.S

This is a great question because there is a persistent myth about the 'ten year mark' and the need to remove and replace your implants. Implants do not need to be removed and replaced at any given time. Re-operation is only indicated if your implant has deflated (saline implants) or has been found to have a rupture of the shell by MRI or HD ultrasound (silicone gel implants).
The durability of any given implant is variable, but the older they become, the more likely they will have a failure.

Saline implants tend to rupture and deflate earlier than silicone gel implants, and about 10% will have deflated by 10 years, and 50% by 15 years. Silicone gel implants have a roughly 5% rupture rate at ten years. We are still awaiting data on the 15 year mark, but it is not uncommon to see women with 20 and 30 year old silicone gel implants that are intact.

Keep in mind there are a host of other reasons a woman may need or want a revision surgery. Planning your first surgery correctly and making choices now can affect the frequency of surgeries in the future. Specifically, choosing implants that are sized appropriately for your anatomy has a profound affect on both early and late complications that lead to re-operation; this is known as dimensional planning. Choosing either regular or highly cohesive silicone gel implants will also decrease risk of reoperation. Choosing an inframammary incision will also decrease your risk of capsular contracture, the number one complication of breast augmentation. Finally, choosing sub-pectoral placement of your implants will also decrease your risk of capsular contracture.

If you are not excited about re-operation but want breast augmentation, you should keep these points in mind. Realize that your aesthetic goal (cup size) should be de-prioritized over proper implant selection to obtain your real goal: a problem free result that lasts decades.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Joseph A. Mele, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Published on Jun 04, 2015

As long as your breast implants are the size you want, soft and intact you can keep them. There is no expiration date. Approximately, one fourth of women have a second operation within ten years of their initial breast augmentation. The most common reasons for re-operations are changes in size, capsular contracture, malposition and deflation.

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Answered by Joseph A. Mele, M.D., F.A.C.S.

As long as your breast implants are the size you want, soft and intact you can keep them. There is no expiration date. Approximately, one fourth of women have a second operation within ten years of their initial breast augmentation. The most common reasons for re-operations are changes in size, capsular contracture, malposition and deflation.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Joseph M. Perlman, M.D.

Published on Jun 04, 2015

Even though the implants are warranted for 10 years (you can get a lifetime extension on gel implants), I don't advise my patients to change them every 10 years. I have a patient whose had the same implant since 1983, with no problems. The new implants are of the better molecular structure and keep their shape better. Also, many of my patients had saline implants are switching to gel because there's less rippling and have a nicer feel

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Answered by Joseph M. Perlman, M.D.

Even though the implants are warranted for 10 years (you can get a lifetime extension on gel implants), I don't advise my patients to change them every 10 years. I have a patient whose had the same implant since 1983, with no problems. The new implants are of the better molecular structure and keep their shape better. Also, many of my patients had saline implants are switching to gel because there's less rippling and have a nicer feel

Published on Jul 11, 2012


More About Doctor Tom Pousti, M.D.

Published on Jun 04, 2015

Thank you for your question.
In general, I tell patients that if they are not having an issue with their implants, they do not have to exchange them. (i.e.) if it's not broke, don't fix it!
But most patients who have breast implants placed will require a few operations in their lifetime - whether it's due to a complication (scar tissue, implant deflation, etc) or just changing the size of the implant.
I hope this helps.
Tom Pousti MD
www.PoustiPlasticSurgery.com

Answered by Tom Pousti, M.D. (View Profile)

Thank you for your question.
In general, I tell patients that if they are not having an issue with their implants, they do not have to exchange them. (i.e.) if it's not broke, don't fix it!
But most patients who have breast implants placed will require a few operations in their lifetime - whether it's due to a complication (scar tissue, implant deflation, etc) or just changing the size of the implant.
I hope this helps.
Tom Pousti MD
www.PoustiPlasticSurgery.com

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Remus Repta M.D.

Published on Jun 04, 2015

Thank you for the great question.

Although the average patient getting breast implants will change them out every 10-12 years, this is not mandatory or often even necessary. Modern implants come with a lifetime warranty and in general if you like the way your breasts look and feel there is no need to have anything done. Over the period of 10+ years, however, many women will have noticed a chance in their bodies or a change in their breast size/shape goal and implant revision with or without a breast lift is often needed to accomplish these goals. I hope this helps.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta
Scottsdale, AZ

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Answered by Remus Repta M.D.

Thank you for the great question.

Although the average patient getting breast implants will change them out every 10-12 years, this is not mandatory or often even necessary. Modern implants come with a lifetime warranty and in general if you like the way your breasts look and feel there is no need to have anything done. Over the period of 10+ years, however, many women will have noticed a chance in their bodies or a change in their breast size/shape goal and implant revision with or without a breast lift is often needed to accomplish these goals. I hope this helps.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta
Scottsdale, AZ

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Leland M. Deane, M.D, F.A.C.S

Published on Jun 04, 2015

Unless there are specific problems or issues with an implant there is no need to change them ever. The ten year figure is often mentioned but I don't know where it comes from. Hope this helps.

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Answered by Leland M. Deane, M.D, F.A.C.S

Unless there are specific problems or issues with an implant there is no need to change them ever. The ten year figure is often mentioned but I don't know where it comes from. Hope this helps.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Arturo K. Guiloff M.D., P.A.

Published on Jun 04, 2015

Implants in general will last a very long time. More important for the patients is the interaction of the implants with their body tissues, the quality of the capsule that normally forms around the implants and its behavior through time. Around 15-20 years the capsules sometimes become thicker and or start to get calcium deposits and this can make the breasts feel uncomfortable. It's around this time that we recommend the patients to have an implant replacement if they have any symptoms. If there is significant breast ptosis sooner, the breasts might need a lifting procedure, making the decision to replace the implants earlier than 15-20 years.

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Answered by Arturo K. Guiloff M.D., P.A.

Implants in general will last a very long time. More important for the patients is the interaction of the implants with their body tissues, the quality of the capsule that normally forms around the implants and its behavior through time. Around 15-20 years the capsules sometimes become thicker and or start to get calcium deposits and this can make the breasts feel uncomfortable. It's around this time that we recommend the patients to have an implant replacement if they have any symptoms. If there is significant breast ptosis sooner, the breasts might need a lifting procedure, making the decision to replace the implants earlier than 15-20 years.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


More About Doctor Jason Altman, MD

Published on Jun 04, 2015

How long you should keep your implants really depends on what type of implants you have and how happy you are with them. Although breast implants are NOT lifetime devices we no longer recommend changing them every 10 years just for maintenance. Most commonly we now advise only changing the implants if there is a problem with them - capsular contracture, infection or rupture. If the implants are not broken, there is no need to change them. We do advice monitoring them closely, however, and the FDA recommends a screening MRI after 3 years and again every 2 years for silicone implants.

Answered by Jason Altman, MD (View Profile)

How long you should keep your implants really depends on what type of implants you have and how happy you are with them. Although breast implants are NOT lifetime devices we no longer recommend changing them every 10 years just for maintenance. Most commonly we now advise only changing the implants if there is a problem with them - capsular contracture, infection or rupture. If the implants are not broken, there is no need to change them. We do advice monitoring them closely, however, and the FDA recommends a screening MRI after 3 years and again every 2 years for silicone implants.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Thomas M. DeWire, Sr., M.D., F.A.C.S

Published on Jun 04, 2015

There seems to be a long-standing rumor on the internet, that breast implants last only 10 years, or need to be replaced every 10 years. For either saline or silicone implants, there is no reason to replace an implant prospectively, but rather they should be replaced only if they deflate or fail, or if the patient wishes to electively change implant size, type, or style, for whichever reason. In my series for saline implants that extends over 23 years, I have seen less than a 1% total failure rate for those implants. The majority of the saline implants that I placed over that 23 year interval are still intact and in place. For silicone, the number of implant shell failures remains indeterminate, as the only way to reliably assess implant integrity, short of surgery to look at the implant, is to do an MRI study. For that reason, the FDA recommends MRI every 2 years, starting at year 3, however with the high cost and claustrophobic circumstance of an MRI study, I find that very few patients have chosen to follow that FDA suggestion. The actual failure rate for silicone implants thus remains unknown, however, as longevity of implants will vary many factors, including surgical technique, and pocket dimension development. For smooth implants of any type it is important that they are placed in a pocket space that can accommodate the volume and dimensions of the implant with no constricting or deforming factors that cause stresses on the implant shell. Such implant stresses cause folding and kinking of the shell leading to implant shell attrition and eventual leakage and failure. To limit such shell stresses, I always create a vertically oversized pocket space that will easily accommodate the implant volume, and allow for vertical displacement massage, thus greatly improving implant longevity, while avoiding shape distortion or lateral displacement. I elaborate on this further on the related massage page on my website. I hope that this helps with your decision.

Tom DeWire, MD
Richmond, VA

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Answered by Thomas M. DeWire, Sr., M.D., F.A.C.S

There seems to be a long-standing rumor on the internet, that breast implants last only 10 years, or need to be replaced every 10 years. For either saline or silicone implants, there is no reason to replace an implant prospectively, but rather they should be replaced only if they deflate or fail, or if the patient wishes to electively change implant size, type, or style, for whichever reason. In my series for saline implants that extends over 23 years, I have seen less than a 1% total failure rate for those implants. The majority of the saline implants that I placed over that 23 year interval are still intact and in place. For silicone, the number of implant shell failures remains indeterminate, as the only way to reliably assess implant integrity, short of surgery to look at the implant, is to do an MRI study. For that reason, the FDA recommends MRI every 2 years, starting at year 3, however with the high cost and claustrophobic circumstance of an MRI study, I find that very few patients have chosen to follow that FDA suggestion. The actual failure rate for silicone implants thus remains unknown, however, as longevity of implants will vary many factors, including surgical technique, and pocket dimension development. For smooth implants of any type it is important that they are placed in a pocket space that can accommodate the volume and dimensions of the implant with no constricting or deforming factors that cause stresses on the implant shell. Such implant stresses cause folding and kinking of the shell leading to implant shell attrition and eventual leakage and failure. To limit such shell stresses, I always create a vertically oversized pocket space that will easily accommodate the implant volume, and allow for vertical displacement massage, thus greatly improving implant longevity, while avoiding shape distortion or lateral displacement. I elaborate on this further on the related massage page on my website. I hope that this helps with your decision.

Tom DeWire, MD
Richmond, VA

Published on Jul 11, 2012


More About Doctor Christopher Pelletiere, MD

Published on Jun 04, 2015

It is simply a myth that you have to change your implants every ten years. There is no data to support this. The average failure rate of a saline implant by ten years is 7-8%. For a silicone implant, it is around 3%. That is it. Breast implants are not permanent, but they do not have a finite lifespan either. They only need to be exchanged if an issue develops or for an elective reason.

Answered by Christopher Pelletiere, MD (View Profile)

It is simply a myth that you have to change your implants every ten years. There is no data to support this. The average failure rate of a saline implant by ten years is 7-8%. For a silicone implant, it is around 3%. That is it. Breast implants are not permanent, but they do not have a finite lifespan either. They only need to be exchanged if an issue develops or for an elective reason.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


More About Doctor John Zannis, M.D.

Published on Jun 04, 2015

This is a common myth. You can keep your breast implants as long as they are not having any issues. This could be 20-30 years. If your breasts change shape or feel different in the future, just have them checked out by your plastic surgeon. Otherwise, there is no ongoing maintenance required. John Zannis, MD, New Bern, NC

Answered by John Zannis, M.D. (View Profile)

This is a common myth. You can keep your breast implants as long as they are not having any issues. This could be 20-30 years. If your breasts change shape or feel different in the future, just have them checked out by your plastic surgeon. Otherwise, there is no ongoing maintenance required. John Zannis, MD, New Bern, NC

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Aristocrat Plastic Surgery

Published on Jun 04, 2015

Thank you for your question, unless there are any problems with your implants you never have to change them. Silicone implants will need surveillance three years from surgery and every two years thereafter as an FDA recommendation.

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Answered by Aristocrat Plastic Surgery

Thank you for your question, unless there are any problems with your implants you never have to change them. Silicone implants will need surveillance three years from surgery and every two years thereafter as an FDA recommendation.

Published on Jul 11, 2012

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