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I had subpectoral silicone implants placed in 1990. I was able to nurse twins for...

Q:

I had subpectoral silicone implants placed in 1990. I was able to nurse twins for five months in 1999. I've recently heard that implants should be changed after 15 years. Is this true? I'm still happy with mine and do not notice any obvious problems. My mammograms and ultrasounds have been negative except for benign cysts. I had one MRI of them years ago which was fine at the time. What do you recommend?

A:

There is no "scheduled maintenance" for breast implants. Patients should have regular breast exams, mammography, ultrasound or MRI, as recommended by her treating physicians.

A:

Since you are happy with your breast implants and are having no problems there is no need to replace them. If you are concerned see your plastic surgeon for an exam and reassurance,

A:

There seems to be a Urban legend out there that breast implants need to be replaced every 10-15 years. This is not true. If you are still happy with you breast implants and you don't have any problems then you can keep them and enjoy them indefinitely unless you develop a problem. A great deal of the thin walled liquid gel filled implants of the 80 's have broken, or leaked  and they have caused problems with the local tissue and need to be removed. Keep your implants, enjoy them but keep an eye out for any changes that could occur. Get your mammograms and breast exams yearly. 

A:

There is a myth that implants will last only 10 years. There is no valid scientific data to support that statement. You should realize that no one can guarantee the life cycle of an implant, that it may not last forever and it may not be a one-time surgery. Implants do not need to be replaced unless a problem occurs. There is no expiration date on breast implants. I have personally seen some patients who have had implants in for over thirty years and the implants are still intact. The newer generation of current implants has been improved. The implant manufacturers do have limited warranties on the implants.

Robert Singer, MD  FACS

La Jolla, California

A:

This is a very good and often asked question. If you are having no issues with your breast implants and have performed the appropriate test to rule out a implant rupture, then, there is no need to replace the breast implants. You have done everything correctly and just continue with the schedule maintenance.  However, MRI are not 100% correct in ruling out a rupture.  Your plastic surgeon will help you understand these issues. 

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