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Are New Breast Implants Needed Every 10 Years?

A question I hear frequently from women considering breast augmentation is whether or not another surgery or new implants will be needed every 10 years following their initial procedure.

As a rule, the answer is certainly not. That said, breast implants are a medical device, and like all medical devices, they can potentially “fail” over time.

In the event of a leak or rupture, a saline-filled implant will deflate over several days to weeks, and the saline will be absorbed by the body. This will be notably evident to the patient.  There is no risk or harm other than a mild “wardrobe malfunction” that can be concealed by a filler in your bra.

On the other hand, if a silicone gel implant fails, it does not usually create any noticeable problem. Even if a silicone gel implant breaks down, the material tends to remain contained within the pocket of scar tissue that holds the implant.

There is also no risk or harm to having a silicone implant fail.  The material generally remains contained within its implant “capsule” or pocket – the scar tissue space the body creates after the implant is placed.

If there is ever a concern about whether a silicone implant is intact or not for one of my patients, an MRI will help us to answer this question. Silicone gel “rupture” is not a concern we see often with our newest generation implants.

In all cases, I prefer smooth surfaced breast implants over textured ones.  Learn why here.

To ensure that everyone has a longstanding, beautiful and safe result, I see my patients routinely in follow-up visits over the first year after surgery to make sure they are healing well without any complications. Then we see them at one year and two years postoperatively, and going forward, at two to five year intervals forever!

Ultimately, I realize that when everything is fine it can be a nuisance to visit your Plastic Surgeon routinely. So, as a minimum, in the long term, I recommend patients check in at least every 10 years or so after surgery. This is not to say you will need an additional surgery or new implants every 10 years, but these visits will help to ensure the implants are still intact and your results are still beautiful!

To learn more about saline and silicone gel breast implants and the science and safety our currently available products, visit my website.

To schedule a consultation, complete our online consultation request form or call 415-923-3067 today!

– Dr. Karen Horton, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon



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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA