Submit your question below about any cosmetic procedure to be considered for posting with an answer from one of our board-certified plastic surgeons.

If your question is about the cost of a procedure, click here. For referral to a qualified surgeon in your area, see find a surgeon.

Note: ASAPS cannot give advice about specific medical problems nor should answers provided by responding surgeons be substituted for a complete medical history, work-up and an in-personal medical/surgical consultation. Sorry we can't answer all questions. We try to select questions that have the widest general interest.

Should I have my breast implants replaced?

Q:

I am 34 yrs of age and I had breast implants 13 years ago.  I have noticed they have dropped and my nipples are pointing downward. Can I leave the implants in and get a lift because I don't want to go any bigger or should I have the implants replaced?  Please help!

A:

Both saline and silicone breast implants are not expected to last forever. The implant shell is expected to last about 10 years, at which time the shell may rupture, usually from friction and daily wear and tear. Sagging occurring over time is quite normal, and many women desire breast lift surgery in order to restore a youthful and perky contour. Since 13 years have elapsed since your breast augmentation procedure, I would recommend that your implants are removed and replaced. I would suggest a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who will recommend the best surgical procedure to contour your breasts. 

A:

thank you for your question. it depends on how the implants are aging. if the breasts are firm due to capsule formation, or if you have saline implants you may want to change to silicone. I would suggest you get a consultation and discuss it with the surgeon. Implants have improved in 13 years and typically have a life span of about 20 years, so it may be financially better to replace them now at the time of a lift, rather than performing the procedure in two stages. 

A:

If you are happy with the size, position and softness of the implants, then you could simply leave them alone and not replace them. You could have a lift performed, leaving the current implants as they are. However, implants are mechanical devices and are not considered lifetime devices. At some point, they will probably develop a leak and require replacement. Unfortunately, no one knows whether for you that will be in five days, five months, five years or fifteen years. It is unpredictable. Since you are already undergoing a surgical procedure, it would reasonable to replace the existing implants because they are after all thirteen years old.

An important piece of information would be whether the implants you have are under manufacturer warranty. About the time you had your implants placed, some of the major implant manufacturers began to offer lifetime warranties. If your implants happen to be covered and they were to develop a leak then you would be covered. If you have them replaced while they are intact you’ll have to pay for new implants and you would not benefit from the warranty. On the other hand, all the major U.S. manufacturers now offer a lifetime warranty on their implants. If you replace your implants with implants from one of these companies, you would then be covered by their warranty. This could be especially valuable to you if your current implants do not have a warranty.

There is no “right” or “wrong” answer. There are choices and the decision rests with what you are comfortable with. Discuss all the choices, implications and costs with your board certified plastic surgeon and decide what is best for you.

A:

Carly,

Thank you for your question.  If your breast implants are soft, movable and intact based on an MRI exam you potentially could have a breast lift and leave the implants in.  However as others have stated implants do not last forever, and studies have shown 10% of implants will rupture or require revision in the first 10 years after placement.

I believe the optimal solution would be to replace your implants with new implants at the time of your breast lift.  The new FDA approved silicone breast implants are  superior to those that were available 13 years ago.

Related Questions

Copyright © 2009-2012 ASAPS. All Rights Reserved.