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Breast augmentation with breast implants is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures globally, and most patients are delighted with the results of their procedure.

Many women choose to have their breast implants removed and replaced at some stage. Sometimes, the decision relates to the age and condition of one or both implants, but women can have other reasons, too.

So, when should breast implants be replaced?

Although some modern breast implants can last as long as twenty years, they are not designed to last a lifetime. However, the answer to how long breast implants last may be different for each woman.

The longevity of your breast implants may depend on the type of implant that your surgeon used. Implants filled with silicone gel tend to last longer than saline implants but sometimes complications arise that are unrelated to the type of implant.

The likelihood of experiencing problems with any type of breast implant increases as they age, so older implants should be monitored for changes.

Some women choose breast implant removal for reasons unrelated to the implant. They experience changes in their breast implants or their bodies, which dictate how long breast implants last.

Capsular contracture

Capsular contracture is a complication of breast enlargement with implants in which the body’s reaction makes hardened scar tissue grow around the implant.

Symptoms of capsular contracture include tightness and pain in the breast. If you are affected, you may also notice that one breast hangs lower than the other or that your nipples point in different directions.

Capsular contracture can develop as early as two years after your breast implant surgery. The only solution is further surgery to remove the breast implant and the surrounding scar tissue.

Ruptured implants

At Coppergate Clinic, we only use premium-quality breast implants, but some older and lower-quality implants have been known to rupture.

Both silicone and saline implants can rupture, but each has different symptoms.

Saline breast implant ruptures

When saline implants rupture, the breast starts to deflate quite quickly. The body usually absorbs the saline leak. If desired, the surgeon can remove the silicone shell and replace it with a different implant.

Saline implant ruptures become more common as your implants age.

Silicone implants rupture

If a silicone implant ruptures, the effect is quite different.

Breast implants usually contain silicone in the form of a gel. If the outer shell of the implant ruptures, then the silicone gel may not leak out immediately, but you may experience pain in the breast, the development of small tender lumps and a change in breast shape.

A silicone rupture is sometimes called a silent rupture, as an MRI or ultrasound scan may be required to confirm the problem.

Although modern silicone implants can last up to 20 years, some surgeons recommend having regular breast scans after 10 years to check for ruptures.

Ultimately, a woman with a ruptured silicone implant will need to have one or both implants removed.

Breast implant illness

Although the evidence is still inconclusive, breast implant surgery has been associated with the development of anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.

We always use premium quality breast implants, but some women who had their breast surgery with lower quality implants some time ago have decided to have them removed for peace of mind.

You can find more information about this health issue here.

Other reasons for the removal of breast implants

Many women decide to have their breast implants removed for cosmetic reasons.

Weight loss, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause all change the shape of the body and may make the size or shape of the existing breast implants inappropriate. Women choose different implants that complement their new body shape.

Sometimes, women prefer to have their implants removed without replacing them. In this case, plastic surgeons often recommend a breast lift to give a more aesthetically pleasing result.

Choosing a surgeon for your breast implant removal

The surgical team at Coppergate Clinic has a wealth of experience in breast surgery, including breast implant surgery and revision surgery to improve or correct previous procedures. We also offer breast lift surgery and can advise on any issues you are experiencing relating to breast implants.

Why not arrange a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons today?

You can speak to our friendly front-of-house team by phoning 01904 675 222 or emailing us at [email protected]

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