No patient undergoes cosmetic surgery lightly and so it is natural to seek results that are long-lasting and lead to long term physical and psychological benefit.
This is perhaps never more true than with breast implants, a hugely popular procedure for patients in the UK often undertaking breast enlargement.
Just how long do the implants last? Will they need replacing in future and, if so, how soon? How likely is it that they will need replacing?
In this post we will seek to answer these questions but it is also worth noting that there is no singular answer.
Breast implants do not have an expiry date after which they suddenly need replacing. It is not possible for any surgeon to say to any patient that in 5, 10, 25 years’ time they will require further surgery, neither can they give a 100% certain guarantee that the implants will last for any set amount of time.
What we can say with certainty is that implants have continued to improve in performance and reliability and so confident assertions can now be made.
Any good quality breast implant, and of course you should only consider highly-rated surgeons using approved and verified implants, will have an expected lifespan of at least 10 years.
This means that the manufacturer is confident that in the vast majority of cases the implants will remain sound for a decade and so there will be no requirement for follow-up surgery during this period.
However, there will be a small minority of cases where implants rupture during this time and require attention.
FDA estimates that up to 20% of women who have breast augmentation will have their implants replaced before the 10 year mark for one reason or another.
Hence it is advisable to have regular check-ups and scans to ensure that the implant is intact and there are no developing complications i.e. capsular contracture.
In some cases implants may last 15 years or longer but regular monitoring is essential.
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A Key Statistic To Remember
The chance of rupture for the leading modern implants has been found to be around 1% per annum. This means that after a decade, there is a 10% chance of rupture or that in 90% of cases the implant will still be in perfect order.
How To Maximise Impact Lifespan
Any prospective patient can ensure their chances of implants lasting for a long time are enhanced by both choosing a highly rated surgeon and also ensuring that the implants used by that surgeon are the latest designs and technology.
With any surgeon you see for a consultation, ask them questions about implant lifespan and how they ensure it is maximised.
Any breast implant patient should have regular check-ups post-surgery and also be self-checking to look for signs of change.
The exact nature of post-operative checks will vary by type of implant and can be discussed during consultation – the surgeon would of course also inform any patient what to check for themselves.
Depending on the nature of the implant, any rupture might be easy to spot – a ruptured saline implant is liable to deflate quickly over a matter of days and be virtually unmistakable. Other ruptures might take months to show obvious signs, there might only be a formation of small lumps.
It is worth noting that the vast majority of ruptures are clinically undetectable and pose no significant health risks. The rupture can cause a change in shape and even some discomfort but the ruptures are not linked to more serious problems.
If you would like more information about breast implants, are considering this form of surgery or have concerns about existing implants please contact us for an obligation-free consultation.
Anca Breahna is a renowned female surgeon who has held prestigious Fellowships and been consultant surgeon at world-leading institutions.
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