How Do I Know When My Breast Implants Need Replacing?

Woman (model) doing yoga in her home.

Breast augmentation with implants is a popular choice for women who want to enhance the appearance of their breasts. But like any medical device, breast implants have a limited lifespan and will eventually need to be replaced. But how do you know when it’s time?

Signs Your Breast Implants May Need Replacing

If you notice any of the following, it may be time to replace your implants:

  • Capsular Contracture. Capsular contracture occurs when scar tissue forms around the breast implant, causing it to harden and become misshapen. If you notice that your breasts are becoming harder or their shape has altered, it could be a sign that your implants need to be replaced.
  • Ruptures or Leaks. If your saline implants rupture, the saline solution will leak out of the implant and be absorbed by your body. This will cause your breast to deflate, and you may experience pain or swelling. If a silicone-filled implant ruptures, you may not notice any immediate changes, but the silicone may gradually migrate to other parts of the body, causing pain and other complications. With any kind of implant leak, the implants need to be replaced.
  • Pain or Discomfort. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your breasts, the implant may have become displaced (due to implant aging or changes in your body) or you may have capsular contracture. In rare cases, a bacterial infection can develop around the breast implant, causing pain, redness, and swelling. Women who experience these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.
  • Changes in Appearance. Your implants may shift over time, causing your breasts to appear uneven or asymmetrical. You might notice wrinkling or rippling of the implant, particularly if you have a lean body type and your implants were placed on top of the chest muscle.
  • Age of Implants. While there’s no expiration date on breast implants, they typically have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years. If your implants are approaching or have exceeded this lifespan, it may be time to consider replacing them.

Breast Implant Revision Due to Lifestyle Changes

Aside from problems or your implants reaching the end of their lifespan, lifestyle factors and personal preference are valid reasons to consider breast implant revision. The implants that suited your aesthetic goals at age 30 may no longer fit your lifestyle at age 45.

For example, a patient may initially choose larger, more noticeable breast implants but later decide that she prefers a more natural or athletic appearance. In this case, she may want to replace her implants with smaller ones to achieve the desired look.

Your implants can provide you with beautiful, natural-looking breasts for many years. You may not need to replace them if they’re not causing any issues or discomfort. But if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms or want to replace your implants for cosmetic or lifestyle reasons, you should speak with a qualified plastic surgeon who can recommend the best course of action.

Request a Consultation

If you’re considering replacing your breast implants and would like to speak to an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon about your options, call my office today at (916) 929-1833 or request a consultation using the online form.

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