How Often Do You Have to Replace Silicone Gel Implants?

Most women who have breast implants know that they won’t last forever and will need periodic replacements. Many even believe there’s a built-in expiration date on these medical devices. Fortunately, this is not true.


Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions we get about breast implant revision.

When performed by the team of professionals at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg, breast augmentation surgery allows women to regain lost breast volume due to pregnancy and breastfeeding. Other women might consider breast reconstruction to create full-contour breasts that suit their bodies after a full or partial mastectomy.


How Often Should You Get Breast Implants Replaced?

If you’re still satisfied with your breast implants and they are functioning well, there’s no need to replace them merely because you’ve had them for a specific amount of time.


The FDA has approved most silicone breast implants for 10 to 20 years; however, that doesn’t mean you must get them replaced at these intervals. If you are not experiencing any problems related to your breast implants, you can safely go beyond these time frames depending on your physiology and the type of implant you received. Your surgeons at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg will discuss your implants’ life expectancy with you before your procedure. You’ll be pleased to learn that you may only need to have one to two replacements in your lifetime.


How Do I Know If I Need to Get My Implants?

Though the FDA has approved your implants to last for at least a decade, remember that they may need attention before that time is up. Depending on how early in life you have implants inserted, you could need to replace them due to leakage, rupture, migration, unevenness, or because your body and needs have changed.


Here are a few signs that your implants may need revision or replacement.


  • Your breasts feel hard: Some women develop a rare condition known as capsular contracture, or hardened scar tissue, around one or both implants. Hard lumps under the skin may form around the implant, and your surgeon should address either of these conditions.
  • Implant rupture: Another unusual occurrence is when patients with silicone implants experience what’s known as a “silent” rupture. While the filling will leak out of saline implants, causing your breast to look deflated, ruptured silicone implants tend to keep their shape and stay in place.
  • Implants may shift: As you age, your implants may shift position, especially if you have had children. If they do, we suggest having them replaced. Your breast implants can also shift if you lose or gain significant amounts of weight.
  • Want to change the size: Over time, you may want to trade your current implants for larger or smaller ones.


What Happens to Breast Implants as You Age?

Many women choose to replace their implants due to the natural effects of aging. All breasts, whether natural or enhanced with implants, are subject to gravity, lost tissue connectivity, sun damage, and the physical effects of motherhood.


These time-related changes could include breast sagging, size change due to hormonal fluctuations, or visible rippling of the implants. Women who received implants before becoming pregnant may discover that motherhood changes their implants’ appearance. As a result, some patients voluntarily return to their plastic surgeon after completing their family to restore their breasts to the young and perky shape they had with the original implants.


But that’s not all. To optimize time spent in downtime, many women may also elect to have separate additional procedures — like liposuction, tummy tuck, or even a mommy makeover.


Schedule Your Breast Consultation in Fredericksburg, VA, Today!

If you’re considering getting implants for the first time or would like to have your implants revised, reach out to the experts at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg with your questions, and schedule an appointment either online or by calling us at (540) 371-7730.