When to replace breast implants
The longevity of breast implants is something that causes many patients confusion, especially in light of 2010’s horrific PIP implant scandal. Over the preceding years, patients have become far more conscious of their own health and needs when receiving cosmetic surgery which, arguably, can only be a good thing. It leads to common questions about the safety of their breast implants, how invasive the procedure is, and the breast implant replacement timeline.
However, with patients becoming more involved and invested in their treatment journey rather than just the treatment alone, there is still a lot of misinformation circulating regarding when to replace breast implants. The American Society for Plastic Surgeons reports that breast augmentation has continued to be the most popular cosmetic surgery of 2017, procedures rising by 3% from 2016’s figures. With so many people opting for breast enlargement surgery, when is the right time to replace your breast implants?
The 10-year timeline
Some of the misinformation that the majority of patients seem to have encountered is the 10-year timeline; you will need to replace your breast implants after 10 years. While some patients may need some form of revision procedure to ensure their safety and comfort, not all patients require this at the 10-year mark. In 2011, the FDA released a report on the safety of silicone breast implants that states that 1 in 5 patients will need a revision procedure. This leaves a remaining 80% of patients that don’t need any surgical intervention. This timeline has been credited as stretching up to 15 years so, as long as you pay attention to your body and attend regular medical check-ups with your doctor, there is no need to replace your breast implants after 10 years unless otherwise indicated.
Why you should replace implants
Silicone breast implants are the preferred form of breast implants because of their superior safety validated both here in the UK and in America. However, a silicone implant does still act as a foreign body and as such your own body will react to it. You may associate surgery scarring with the purely superficial, but there is internal scar tissue that forms around the implant too. At some point during your implants’ 10-15 years lifespan, this internal scarring will begin to contract.
This scarring forms a sort of a ‘capsule’ around the implant, often lending to its natural and soft feel. When this scar tissue contracts, it also hardens and thickens and lifts the implant higher up the chest, causing it to look unnatural. The capsule begins to shrink to the smallest size your implant will allow and can become uncomfortable, which is when removal or replacement is required.
Key personal factors of when to replace your breast implants
Aside from reaching your implants’ natural climax, there are a variety of reasons why you might opt for breast revision and replacing breast implants. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder and no person’s sense of aesthetics is the same, we see many breast revision patients at our London-based clinic.
If your implants appear to be moving or rotating
Moving breast implants sound more sinister than they are. Typically, the implant has appeared to ‘migrate’ which can lead to a noticeably uneven appearance. Understandably, many patients wish to correct these wayward implants. Rotating is also a common cause for breast implant replacement or revision, though this does tend to depend on the shape you opted for in your initial procedure. While most implants are circular, more anatomically shaped ‘teardrop’ implants can sometimes rotate and lead to a misshapen appearance. Again, these are easily corrected by reputable cosmetic surgeons during breast revision surgery.
Replacing a ruptured breast implant
Following the PIP scandal, in which an estimated 47,000 British women were fitted with implants that are 2 to 6 more times more likely to rupture than silicone, the likelihood of implants rupturing has been a hot topic in many cosmetic surgery offices. Upon the discovery of a breast implant rupture, it is sensible to say the very least to undergo implant removal regardless of whether you choose to replace it or not. If you suspect your silicone implant has ruptured, seek the advice of your Cosmetic Surgery Partners’ surgeon as soon as you are able. When your silicone implant ruptures, you could experience:
- - Pain or tenderness
- - Numbness
- - Swelling
- - Burning
- - Tingling
- - Or no symptoms at all
Because of the symptoms spectrum stretching from noticeable to almost invisible, we recommend undergoing an MRI scan 3 years after your first procedure. After this, you should undergo one every other year to ensure your continued safety. Our London-based cosmetic surgeons are of course open to any and all consultation, so if you do find yourself dwelling on your breast implants then we encourage you to seek our professional advice.
Breast implant replacement in London
At Cosmetic Surgery Partners’ London clinic, we possess extensive experience in breast implant replacement and revision. Whether you are seeking a revision procedure for personal aesthetic reasons or because you are experiencing discomfort, our reputable cosmetic surgeons are more than happy to meet you for a confidential consultation. For more information or to book a consultation please call our friendly staff on 020 7486 6778.