Breast Implant Types And How Long They Last

Would you like to change the shape and volume of your breasts?  Breast augmentation will make your breasts fuller and shapelier and enhance the look of your bustline.  However, if you’re like most women considering breast augmentation, you will want to know what types of breast implants are available and how long they last. 

Breast Augmentation With Implants

Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that enhances the shape and size of the breasts.  This typically involves the use of breast implants that are inserted either above or below the chest muscle.   Breast implants are available in varying shapes, sizes, and textures and can be customized to fit the body proportions of each patient. 

Types Of Breast Implants

Saline and silicone implants are the main types of breast implants. Both implants have an outer shell of silicone.

Saline Implants

Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water and are FDA approved for women 18 years and older.  Saline implants are inserted empty and filled to the desired volume during breast augmentation surgery. 

If a saline implant ruptures i. e. a tear develops, the salt water will leak, and the breast deflate.  The salt water is absorbed by the body without posing any harm and is eventually flushed out. 

Silicone Implants

Silicone implants are filled with cohesive silicone gel and are FDA approved for women 22 years and older.  Silicone is a synthetic material that feels similar to human fat, and as a result, patients report that silicone implants feel more like natural breast tissue than saline implants.  

Unlike saline implants that leak when ruptured, silicone implants maintain their shape as the gel remains within the shell.  Consequently, it is not easy to detect when a rupture has occurred.  Women with silicone implants should have regular MRI screenings as this is considered the most effective method for detecting an implant rupture. 

Gummy Bear Implants

Gummy bear implants are made of a very thick silicone gel, which makes them denser than traditional silicone implants.   They are known medically as form-stable implants because they can hold their shape even if the shell is broken. 

Gummy bear implants are teardrop-shaped, which means they have a greater projection at the bottom and narrow towards the top.

How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

Breast implants don’t last forever. Women who undergo breast augmentation when they are young can expect to have to replace implants at some time.  Doctors often advise patients to check their breast implants annually to ensure that they are healthy and intact.  

Breast implants generally last anywhere from 10 to 20 years.  Since everyone is different, it’s impossible to predict a specific time frame when the breast implants may need replacing.  

Breast revision surgery is the procedure that is done to replace breast implants.  Breast implants may need replacement due to several reasons, including:

  • Rupture
  • Capsular contraction (hardening of the tissue around the implants)
  • Rippling 

Also, the position of the breast implants may shift over time due to weight fluctuations, skin laxity, hormonal changes, and other factors.  Implant shifting may also require breast revision surgery. 

Some women also opt to have breast implants removed altogether because they are unhappy with the results of the initial breast augmentation surgery. 

During the consultation, patients should discuss the longevity of the breast implants, so that they will know what to expect. 

If you are considering breast augmentation with implants, be sure to discuss your options with an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.  The surgeon can answer any questions you have about breast implants and recommend the most suitable type for you. 

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