For years, the conventional wisdom in the plastic surgery community has been that 10 years is the typical “lifespan” for implants. While that may have been true in the past, today’s implants can look great for much longer than that thanks to high-tech materials, improved durability, and better surgical techniques. When we see a woman for breast augmentation in our Las Vegas practice, we typically tell her that her breast implants can last indefinitely — especially by choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who has ample experience, such as Dr. Edwards and Dr. Higgins.
By selecting a more experienced surgeon, you can significantly lower your risk of complications specific to breast augmentation. These complications, such as the development of excessive scar tissue, can arise as the result of bacterial contamination or other irregularities during surgery. Although these types of complications are not typically medically harmful, they can change the appearance of the breasts over time, necessitating revisionary surgery well before the implant has lost any of its shape or durability.
As far as the implants themselves go, there is no real expiration date. We occasionally see a patient who has beautiful breast augmentation results but who comes in saying, “It’s been 10 years, so it’s time for new implants, right?” That’s not so. Unless you have some kind of an issue with your implants, there’s no reason to replace or remove them.
That being said, it is still important to monitor your breast implants for both safety and cosmetic reasons. You should follow the instructions your doctor gives you regarding self exams, and always feel free to call and ask if you notice changes.
The FDA recommends women with silicone implants undergo an MRI every 3 years after surgery to evaluate the condition of the implants. This is because these advanced implants hold their shape and size even in the case of damage, making it difficult to determine whether they need to be replaced just by looking at them.
Today’s breast augmentation is so much more than a temporary improvement — it’s truly a long-term investment in your self-esteem.