Let me guess, are you worried because you have read the biggest myth about breast implants that the implants last for only ten years? Although it’s one of the most commonly asked questions regarding breast implants, many females with implants don’t even know the certain answer and believe that their implant needs to be replaced every ten years. Even though this claim has been proved scientifically wrong, according to Dr. Frank Lista (a plastic surgeon for 25 years), 90% of the women have their implant unreplaced and enjoy natural and soft breasts without showing any adverse side-effects. Most of the patients enjoy their implants for the rest of their lives. When someone is suffering from a medical complication, that is the only time when the implant needs to be replaced. In most of the cases, it is replaced due to rupture and deflation. Luckily, the risk of implant rupture is 1% per year, which is very rare.

What is the average duration of breast implants?

Although there’s no expiry date of implants, according to the plastic surgeons, the saline and silicone implants can last 15 to 30 years. Around 20% of females replace or remove their implants within ten years, either due to medical complications or personal concerns. With advancements in medicine and technology, the new implants are considered to last longer than the previous ones. Still, the lifespan is not proven as the implants are relatively new in the market.

What are the factors that affect the life span of a breast implant?

Medical history, body type, lifestyle, immunity, type of implant, practice skills of a surgeon- all these factors determine the longevity of breast implants.

What is the difference between the life span of Silicon gel-filled and saline implants?

The study has shown that the longevity of a silicone gel-filled implant was estimated to be around 16 years, out of which 79% of the implants were healthy for ten years, and around 48% were replaced within 15 years. The mean life span of a silicone gel implant was estimated to be 16.4 years. Whereas, the longevity of the saline implant was around 5.6 years, mainly due to the rupture in the capsule. In the case of silicone, the mean year of rupture was 12th year after the implant. Mammogram and MRI are performed every three years to check whether the implant is intact. In conclusion, silicone gel-filled breast implant has longer longevity than the saline-based breast implants.

Does age affect breast implant longevity?

Breast implants have a reliable mechanical strength and flexibility but the chances of rupture and capsular contracture increase with age which results in complications such as, 

  • Deflation of the breast
  • Tenderness and chronic pain
  • Swelling, numbness and burning sensations

What are the personal cosmetic concerns for the females who want to replace the implant even if it is intact? 

The common cosmetic concerns are:

  • Uneven breast as the changes occur in breast shape with age, hormone fluctuations, considerable weight change, and pregnancy.
  • Change in the size of an implant.
  • A softer and more natural implant is introduced in the market.

Breast implant should indeed be considered temporary and not as a lifetime device. No one can expect the implants to last for 40 to 50 years, but there have been cases where plastic surgeons replaced the already healthy implants after 40 years. Although according to the FDA, the implants can last for a decade and have limited longevity in practice, the average implant lasting duration is around 15-30 years. Almost every plastic surgeon recommends that if you are happy with your implants and aren’t experiencing any complications, then there’s no need to replace them within ten years.