Signs You Need a Breast Implant Revision

When most people think about breast augmentation, they often do not understand that their breast implants will not last forever. Breast implants generally last for 10 20 years, but may need to be revised even sooner.

Key takeaways:
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    Breast implants come in silicone-filled or saline-filled forms. They can be round or teardrop shape and almost any size you want.
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    Breast implants do not last forever. On average, they last 10–20 years.
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    People replace their implants for many reasons, including size, feel, and appearance.
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    If your implant ruptures or causes you pain, contact your plastic surgeon as soon as you can.

You can learn about the signs indicating that your implants need to be revised — including when to contact your plastic surgeon immediately.

What are breast implants?

Breast implants are used to change the size and contour of breasts. They can be placed on their own or done along with a breast lift. All implants are made of a silicone shell and filled with either saline or silica gel. You may also hear the term "gummy bear implants" — these are officially called highly cohesive silicone.

Implants can be round or teardrop shaped. Just as with natural breasts, implants come in many different sizes. But they should only come in a smooth texture as textured implants are linked to a rare type of cancer.

Choosing the right type of implant is a personal decision. Make sure you discuss how you would like to look with your surgeon. A plastic surgeon has the knowledge to direct you to the best choices for your final look.

How long do breast implants last?

Breast implants generally last about 10-20 years. It is important to take this into account when you are deciding if you would like to get them. For most people, this means you will have to decide if you would like to undergo another surgery to replace your implants as well.

However, there are things that can be done to protect your implants:

  • Maintaining your weight.
  • Wearing supportive bras.
  • Doing MRI scans for silicone implants (6 years after the placement and then, every 2–3 years).
  • Following up with your plastic surgeon as recommended.

Despite working hard to maintain your implants, they will need to be replaced at some point—the risk of implants popping increases by 1% yearly. As you age, your tissues — skin, muscles, and connective — start to lose their elasticity and change how they appear. When this happens, how your implants look will also change.

Signs implants need to be replaced

The signs indicating that your breast implants need to be replaced might not always be obvious. For example, the saline implants drain out immediately if they pop; this is a physically visible sign that's hard to miss. However, silicone implants do not leak if they pop since the silicone gel sticks together. As a result, not many people realize that their breast implants must be replaced.

Always look for the following signs indicating a need for a replacement:

  • Pain in one or both breasts.
  • Appearance changes.
  • Increased firmness.
  • Swelling (develops over a period of several weeks).

Additionally, any pain to your breasts needs to be investigated. Not only is pain a sign of a silicone implant rupture, but a sign of capsular contracture. Capsular contracture happens when your body makes too much scar tissue around the implant.

Signs indicating capsular contractures:

  • Increasing hardness of your breast.
  • Asymmetry of your breast.
  • Rounder breast.
  • Pain as the scar tissue continues to grow.

If you notice any signs of rupture of your implant or capsular contractures, it is important to contact your plastic surgeon as soon as you can.

Consequences of not replacing implants

At some point in time, your old implants will need to be removed. Unless you develop a tear in an implant or a capsular contracture, you can decide when to replace them. You will undergo another breast surgery to replace the old implants. At the same time, the plastic surgeon can also remove excess skin or give you a breast lift.

However, some people decide they do not want to replace their breast implants at all. Some people are allergic to implants or have developed breast implant illness (BII). While not an official diagnosis, many with implants develop symptoms that only go away after the implants are removed.

Symptoms of BII:

  • Joint pain.
  • Brain fog.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dry eyes.

Breast augmentation and breast revision are very personal decisions. Consult with your plastic surgeon and learn the pros and cons of having implants. You should not go through with any surgical procedure until you feel comfortable that you understand everything that is involved.

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