Silicone breast implants do not last forever and usually need to be changed at least once throughout a patient’s life


Silicone breast implants do not last forever and usually need to be changed at least once throughout a patient’s life.

There is no exact time point when implants should be exchanged but usually after about 12 to 15 years, the look of the breast will deteriorate to such an extent that patients may request implant replacement surgery.

Beyond the look or aesthetics, there are several other reasons why patients might want or need to have their implants exchanged (see breast implant problem page), and a thorough discussion of the options is required for each patient.

Before deciding on the details of implant exchange, it may be important to undergo an ultrasound or MRI examination of the breasts and implants. This can help in the decision-making and in planning an operation.

A breast implant replacement operation, which is carried out under general anaesthetic, can range from a simple to an extremely complex procedure, depending upon the problem that needs to be treated and the desires of the patient.

This operation may involve the removal of a tight internal scar around the implant (capsulectomy), the repositioning of the implant to above or below the chest wall muscle, and the alteration of implant size or shape.

Patients might want to reduce or increase the size of their implants or they may wish to change the shape of the breast. For this reason, breast implant exchange is often carried out in combination with either fat transfer or uplift surgery.

It’s important to recognise that changing breast implants does not mean that patients will get the same result you as their initial implant surgery. This is because the breast tissue will have been damaged by previous surgery, and of course will have aged over time.

Breast Implant Replacement

Mr Harris spends a great deal of time trying to manage the expectations of patients before implant exchange surgery, so that they fully understand the likely outcome of their operation.

Breast Implant Replacement

There are many potential benefits associated with breast implant replacement, which may include:

  1. Improved Aesthetic Results: Over time, breast implants may undergo changes in appearance, including deflation, rippling, or changes in breast shape. Replacing implants can help restore a more youthful and attractive breast contour.

  2. Size and Shape Adjustments: Women who are dissatisfied with the size or shape of their current implants can use replacement surgery as an opportunity to make adjustments. They can choose implants that better suit their aesthetic preferences.

  3. Addressing Complications: Sometimes, complications can arise with breast implants, such as capsular contracture (hardening of the tissue around the implant), implant rupture, or implant malposition. Replacement surgery can correct these issues and improve the overall condition of the breasts.

  4. Upgrading Implant Technology: Advancements in implant technology and materials occur over time. Women may choose to replace their older implants with newer, more advanced options that offer improved longevity and reduced risks of complications.

  5. Changes in Lifestyle: A woman’s lifestyle and personal preferences may change over the years. She may opt for breast implant replacement to better align her breast appearance with her current lifestyle, such as adjusting the size for a more active lifestyle or for career-related reasons.

  6. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Some women may choose to replace implants after having children and breastfeeding to address changes in breast size and shape that can occur during and after pregnancy.

  7. Improved Comfort: Women experiencing discomfort or pain related to their breast implants, such as back or neck pain, may find relief after replacing their implants.

  8. Enhanced Self-Esteem: For individuals who experience a boost in self-esteem and self-confidence through breast augmentation, replacement surgery can help maintain these positive feelings as they age.

  9. Addressing Aging: As the body naturally ages, the breasts may undergo changes. Breast implant replacement can help address these changes and maintain a youthful appearance.