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Breast Implant Lifespan

Breast Implant Lifespan

While there are many women who are happy and satisfied with their implant-based breast reconstructions, we think it is important that women considering breast implants understand certain significant information. Perhaps most importantly, a high rate of unplanned re-operation has repeatedly been demonstrated for women who opt to have an implant-based breast reconstruction.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency responsible for regulating breast implants, common consequences of implant reconstruction include unplanned re-operation and implant failure. It is also important to know that routine MRI (every two years beginning three years after surgery) is recommended for women who have silicone-filled breast implants to monitor for rupture.

A common myth suggests that women who have breast implants breast need to have their implants changed every ten years. While there is no need to routinely remove and replace breast implants regardless of how long they have been in a person’s body, problems with implants that require additional surgery including implant removal, occur increasingly the longer an implant has been in place. FDA makes clear that breast implants are not lifetime devices.

The Bottom Line According to the FDA

The risks and benefits of surgery involving a breast implant should be carefully weighed.

The information below comes directly from the FDA’s website

  • Breast implants are not lifetime devices; the longer you have your implants, the more likely it will be for you to have them removed
  • The longer you have breast implants, the more likely you are to experience local complications and adverse outcomes
  • The most common local complications and adverse outcomes are capsular contracture, re-operation, and implant removal. Other complications include rupture or deflation, wrinkling, asymmetry, scarring, pain, and infection at the incision site
  • You should assume that you will need to have additional surgeries (re-operations)
  • Many of the changes to your breast following implantation may be cosmetically undesirable and irreversible

Date collected by FDA and published in the official labeling of breast implants find that:

  • Approximately 40% of women will require unplanned re-operation within 5 years
  • Approximately 50% of women will require unplanned re-operation within 7 years
  • Roughly 1 of 3 women who have an unplanned re-operation will require at least one more additional unplanned re-operation within 3 years
  • One or more times over the course of a patient’s life, she will require surgery to have her implants removed because of rupture or other complications
  • If radiation has been, or will be, part of a woman’s breast cancer treatment, there is an even higher rate of complications associated with the use of implants