Do Breast Implants Have an Expiration Date?

People choose breast implant surgery not only for cosmetic purposes but also for medical reasons. For instance, cancer survivors may choose breast implants after mastectomy. Individuals with chest deformities, trauma, and congenital breast anomalies may also opt for breast implant surgeries. An analysis of data from X and Google Trends has shown an increase in tweets related to breast implant illness. The researchers have noted that social media influencers have created awareness about breast implant-related issues, but misinformation is rampant. This has created confusion about breast implant durability.

Read on to get more information about the care and replacement of breast implants. We discuss how long breast implants last and when they need to be replaced to avoid complications.

How long do breast implants last?


Breast implants are not meant for an indefinite duration. Since breast implants are considered a Class III medical device, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides consumer guidance periodically about the long-term risks of breast implants. Like any other medical device, breast implants need eventual replacement.

Breast implants often last for more than 10 years. However, the older the breast implant, the greater the chances of complications. Periodic screening of breast implants and evaluation of the overall patient health can help in minimizing these complications.

Factors influencing the lifespan of breast implants

The lifespan of breast implants can vary greatly, ranging from 5 to as much as 40 years after the surgery. But while a scientific case study reported a rupture of breast implants 40 years after breast augmentation surgery, most breast implants may not last this long. The lifespan of breast implants differs from person to person, and implant safety depends on various factors as discussed below.

Type of implant

In the U.S., based on the type of filling, the FDA has approved two types of breast implants:

  • Saline-filled implants
  • Silicone gel-filled implants

While both types are considered safe, saline implants are approved for individuals 18 years and above, whereas silicone implants are approved for those aged 22 years and above. Apart from these types, doctors discuss with their patients options regarding shape (round or anatomical teardrop shape), texture (smooth or textured), size (create symmetry), and dimension.


Furthermore, look for the breast implant warranties before you have surgery. These warranties can be useful in case of implant failures or implant migration.

Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors influence the longevity of the breast implants. For instance, participating in sports can lead to mild blunt trauma. While breast implants will usually not rupture with such blunt trauma, direct blunt trauma such as car accidents (e.g., steering wheel on patient’s chest) can cause a rupture of implants.

Surgical technique

Breast implant complications can also depend on the surgical technique used. Several factors such as where the implant was placed (underneath breast glands or underneath the chest muscles) or how it was filled (pre-filled vs. filled during the surgery) can dictate the long-term outcomes of the surgery. Before you have breast implant surgery, talk to your doctor about various details so that you can make an informed decision.

Apart from these three factors, anecdotal evidence from doctors and patients suggests that changes in age and weight can also influence the duration of breast implants. Further scientific research is necessary to understand the nature of these influences.

Signs that you need to replace breast implants

Periodic monitoring is necessary to determine the timing of breast implant replacement surgery. Additionally, people with breast implants need to watch for the following signs:

  • Implant rupture or implant deflation. Saline water can leak into the breast tissue if the implant ruptures or deflates. Due to the collapse of the implant, the breast will reduce in size gradually. Rupture detection can be tricky, so periodic monitoring of breast implants is essential.
  • Cosmetic concerns. Thinning or shrinking of the skin can occur, which may lead to uneven or asymmetrical breasts. Additionally, breast sagging can appear due to weight loss or aging.
  • Discomfort and pain. Pain in the nipple area or other parts of the breast.
  • Infection. Although infections are common a few days after the surgery, they can happen any time after the surgery (e.g., after several months).
  • Capsular contracture. The tissue capsule around the breast implant tightens to squeeze the implant. The breast feels hardened or too firm when this happens.
  • Change in the position. The implant can be seen or felt through the skin, and the breasts may look uneven.
  • Personal preference. After a few years, some individuals may prefer a change in size, shape, or texture of the breast implant.

In the presence of these signs, breast implant replacement may be necessary. Some patients may choose to remove their breast implants entirely instead of replacing them with new ones. Consult your plastic surgeon immediately if you see any abnormalities in your breasts.


How to take care of breast implants

Studies have estimated that the risk of breast implant rupture is 1% per year. Hence, patient education for breast implant care is necessary.

  • Periodic exam. Patients need to perform self-exams periodically at home and have an annual check-up with their healthcare provider.
  • Imaging. Depending on the type of implant, doctors recommend magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) every 2–3 years. For textured implants, ultrasound is commonly recommended.
  • Histological testing. If doctors notice any abnormal signs, a biopsy and/or cytological testing may be necessary.

Common myths and facts about breast implants

Credible social media channels can be a good source of information. However, social media can also lead to misconceptions. Here we provide scientific evidence and discuss a few myths and facts about breast implants.

Implants must be replaced every 10 years

False. The lifespan of breast implants depends on several factors, such as the type of breast implant, lifestyle of the patient, and regular screenings. Depending on the signs of breast implant complications observed in the patient, breast implant replacement may be necessary before or after 10 years. Breast implants are often a matter of preference, which may change over 10 years, leading some people to opt for implant replacement for a different look.

You can't have mammograms with breast implants

False. Persons with breast implants can follow routine screening guidelines for breast cancer prevention. Mammograms are typically done in two views, but for those with breast implants, additional views are recommended to clearly visualize any cancerous tissue.

Breast implant replacement is more dangerous than the initial surgery


It depends. Breast implant replacement becomes necessary either due to the patient’s preferences or implant-related complications such as rupture or capsular contracture. In some cases, as the age of the patient advances, other illnesses such as hypertension or breast cancer can complicate the situation. Talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon about the safety and complexity of the surgery if you are considering breast implant replacement.

You can only replace implants with the same type or size

False. Depending on the overall health of the patient, the existing breast implants can be replaced with implants of a different size, shape, or texture. Discuss with your plastic surgeon the options available to you when you consider breast implant replacement.

All in all, the breast implant lifespan depends on several factors such as activity levels and age. The older the breast implants, the bigger the risk of complications like rupture, deflation, and capsular contraction. Therefore, it is important to seek professional help and do medical check-ups regularly. Eventually, breast implant replacement may be necessary, and some individuals may choose breast implant removal instead of replacement.


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