Will your breast implants need to be replaced?
The short answer is that yes they almost certainly will need to be replaced as they are man-made and won’t last forever.
There are two main reasons that implants need to be changed and they are implant leakage and capsular contracture. Let’s look at each one of these in turn.
All silicone implants on the market in Australia are now cohesive gel implants which limits the spread of silicone if they do leak. We are now onto the 5th generation of implants and each one has improving technology driving their product development. Whilst the latest iteration of implants have only been around for a few years it is my belief that the highest quality breast implants should last 20 – 25 years on average. Having said that there can rarely be small manufacturing faults and on average there is a leak rate of about 1-2% per year. Whilst an implant rupture is safe and does not cause any other diseases, the standard advice is to have the implant removed and replaced.
The highest quality breast implants should last 20 – 25 years on average
The bigger unknown in the whole equation is capsular contracture. Whilst there are various theories regarding the cause, there is increasing evidence that it is caused by a subclinical growth of bacteria on the implant called biofilm. Unfortunately a capsular contracture can occur at any stage from 6 months to 30 years. The longer implants are present the higher the capsular contracture rate and it also is increased in the presence of a leaking implant.
Similarly the average longevity of breast implants in a reconstructive setting is reduced to about 15 years on average.
This opinion piece was brought to you by Dr Damien Grinsell.
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