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I have had breast implants for 14 years. How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

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I have had breast implants for 14 years and I am now developing a large rash under my left breast, and it hurts and I feel alot of air pockets. One doctor told me to replace them every 10 years and another told me you never have to replace them

Breast Augmentation: Can Breast Implants Last a Lifetime?

While breast implants do have the possibility of lasting a lifetime, the implant manufacturers do not consider them 'lifetime devices' as the possibility exists that over time the outer shell will fail. Saline breast implant failure is quite obvious when it occurs, for when a saline implant leaks, the saline solution is quickly absorbed by the body and the 'deflated' side immediately looks smaller than the intact side.

Several large studies have shown saline implant deflation rates of around 1% at 1 year and 3% at 3 years. If this rate of saline implant failure holds true over time, one can expect that 1 out of 10 (10%) patients can expect a deflation in the first 10 years following augmentation. My own experience with saline implant deflation has been less than that: in 6 years of practice in North Carolina I have had only one patient (out of more than 300 patients with 600 saline breast implants) return with a deflation. It is certainly possible that some patients who moved out of the area experienced deflation and did not return to this practice for implant replacement, however we have asked the implant manufacturer to notify us in the event that this happens and thus far we

have received no report of additional saline implant failures.

Silicone gel implant failure is a somewhat different issue, as implant rupture can not be detected by looking at or feeling the augmented breast. The gel material is inert and is not absorbed by the body, so the appearance and feel of the implant does not change following rupture of the outer shell. In order to detect a gel implant rupture, a radiologic study, such as an MRI, is required. For that reason, the FDA has recommended that women receiving the recently approved cohesive gel implants obtain breast implant MRI scans at intervals following augmentation.

One study including over 500 patients has shown a gel implant rupture rate of 0.5% at 3 years among those patients who had had a postoperative MRI scan, so the failure rate for the new cohesive gel implants appears to be no greater than what we have seen with saline implants, and may in fact be somewhat lower.

It is worth noting that the material which is used to manufacture the outer shell of saline and silicone gel breast implants is the same, so varying failure rates between the two types of implants probably has to do with differences in the way that the substance that fills them affects the outer shell. I think that it is also important to stress that if a woman's breast implants have not deflated (saline) or ruptured (silicone gel), there is no need to remove and replace either kind of implant merely because a certain amount of time has passed since the augmentation surgery.

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