Breast implants do not necessarily have a shelf life, but the length of time they last varies from person to person. Some patients may never have to undergo surgery again while others have to undergo another procedure within the next ten years. Sometimes it may not be the implant itself but rather how your body responds to the implant. Many companies offer a warranty, meaning that if the implants rupture or are defective in any way they will be replaced with minimal additional cost to the patient.
The main risks that come with breast implants are ruptured implants and scar tissue. The longer the person remains with the implants, the more likely the risk of complications. The FDA estimates that 20-40 percent of patients who have implants will need to have another operation in eight to ten years. Some other possible complications include breasts that are lopsided and wrinkling.
Signs that your implants may need to be replaced
There are some key things you should look out for to decide whether your implants need to be replaced:
Ruptured implants usually manifest themselves in the form of a decrease in the breast’s shape and size, pain, numbness, tingling or burning. Sometimes the woman might be unaware that she has ruptured implants.
Due to activities and the passage of time, the fillers used for breast implants will shift. The most common rippling occurs just below the mammary gland, and although it may not show any signs of rippling in the beginning it will eventually begin to fold in under pressure. Breast tissue will also recede somewhat.
The body may sometimes interpret the implants as a foreign object and begin to form scar tissue around the implants which cause hardening of the breasts and pain.
The most important thing to remember with breast implants is that as long as you are not experiencing any obvious problems then you need not worry about replacing them. Many patients are happy with the results and often do not worry about replacement. But if you do have any concerns you should talk to your doctor or surgeon to find out the best course of action. If you plan on breastfeeding or undergoing a medical procedure, it is best to postpone any cosmetic procedure until it is safe and appropriate. Also, it is also advisable not to undergo any further procedure unless it is in your medical interest to do so.