When a woman comes to the clinic for a procedure, she will generally ask many questions in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly. One of the most common questions that I get from interested women is this: “How long do implants last?” This question may be more important than it appears at first glance, as it entails various factors concerning the structure of the implant.
As patients may know, a breast enhancement consists of an outer shell of silicone elastomer, which is filled with one of two materials: silicone gel or saline. The choice of material has a major impact on the lifespan of the product. Silicone gel can come in firm or soft form, with the firm gel less likely to leak than any other option. The saline material is more likely to leak into the surrounding tissue and deflate, but it won’t cause any problems if this happens.
The question of “how long do implants last” also depends on the woman’s own body makeup. Everyone is different, and there are many health and medical factors that may be involved in the longevity of the implants, far above and beyond the scope of this article. Interested women should ask their doctor, who will have the most pertinent information on this subject, as they will with any cosmetic procedure.
With all of that said, implants can generally last for up to 25 years, with one in three women needing to have them replaced within 10 years of the initial operation. There are two common reasons for replacement surgery:
– Ruptures – Essentially, the firm outer shell may begin to leak the internal material into the surrounding breast tissue. The possibility of complications from this depends on the type of material used, as stated above, but it will generally cause the shape of the breast to change, depending on the severity of the leak. It’s best to get a scan if you think this may be happening.
– Capsular Contracture – In some cases, the immune system may react adversely to foreign material, causing scar tissue to form. As the scar shrinks, the breast will start to harden. While this is a common problem, modern implants often use top layer shell to lower the risk. Regardless, further surgery is necessary to remove the capsule.
To reiterate: the question of “how long do implants last” varies depending on the person. However, complications are generally mild, and most women find themselves undeterred.