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Will I Have to Change my Implants Over Time?

How long your implants will last depends greatly on the type of implants you choose, how big they are, the skill of your surgeon, and the procedure used. Most implants carry a lifetime warranty and will not cost the patient anything to replace if replacement is necessary. Patients opting to change or replace implants on their own terms will have to pay the full cost of replacement.

Silicone

Saline implants have an approximate failure rate of about 1% after 7 years and this continues to rise by about 1% per year. In practical terms, this means that after 40 years roughly 65% of women will still have their original saline implants with no complications.

Silicone implants are made of a silicone outer shell that is filled with silicone gel. They are more solid than previous versions with a tighter molecular bonding. This allows for less rippling and a more natural feel than saline implants and they are available in a variety of sizes and projections so that they can easily be tailored to each woman’s body. These implants maintain their shape better than implants that are saline liquid filled.

However, silicone implants very rarely suffer from what is called a “silent failure.” This means that the implant can “rupture” without the patient being aware. Unlike saline implants which are quite obvious when they fail, there are no signs and symptoms with silicone implants, as the material remains inside the shell even when the shell fails. The breast will look and feel the same and the silicone fill is not absorbed by the body. You should have regular annual examinations by your surgeon to confirm that the implant has not ruptured. The only way to know 100% if the implant has failed is with an MRI scan. If your surgeon detects any abnormality they can arrange for the MRI test or arrange replacement. When a saline implant fails – which is also very rare – the saline leaks out of the shell and is absorbed by the body. This can be clearly seen by even a casual observer as one breast will soon look noticeably smaller than the other.

Despite this extremely small risk of failure, many silicone implants also come with lifetime warranties against defects and they have no expiration date. The only reason you should ever need to change your implants is if you decide that you want to remove them or alter the shape or size of your breasts further.

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