Stony Brook, NY

Common Myths About Breast Implants

Do breast implants need to be routinely changed?

One of the biggest myths about breast implants is that they need to be changed every ten years. I have no idea who started this rumor or why. If a saline implant leaks, it will deflate in a few days and the problem will be self-evident. If a silicone gel implant fails, the gel will be contained within the scar tissue capsule (all breast implants, both saline and silicone are surrounded by a naturally forming scar tissue capsule) and the volume of the breast will not change, although there may be some discomfort in the breast, or a change in the look or feel of the breast. Regardless, if you are doing well and there is no reason to suspect a failure of the implant, the implant does not need to be routinely changed. When I say the word "routinely", I mean replacing the implant solely based upon how long the implant has been in place and for no other reason. If there is suspicion that the implant may be deflating or leaking, that is a totally different issue and is dealt with elsewhere in this website.

There are two instances when I might suggest to a patient to replace an intact implant. The first is if a known failed implant is being replaced in one breast several years after the initial surgery, consideration might be given to replacing the other implant as you are already in the operating room and under anesthesia. This is a relative, not required, reason to change an implant. The other instance is if a patient wishes to convert from saline to silicone gel implants to obtain the advantages of a silicone gel implant (more natural feel, less rippling and wrinkling).

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