“I have implants that are 24 years old. I am not having any problems with them. I heard that they need to be replaced. Is this true?” – Email Inquiry
Unlike diamonds, breast implants won’t last forever. Both saline and silicone implants wear out or “rupture” over time, but at no “exact” time. The older the implant, the more likely it is to fail. But how do you know? If nothing’s wrong, do your implants still need to be replaced?
Implant failure doesn’t mean that you are going to necessarily have problems, like pain or contracture (excessive firmness). Saline implants will deflate when worn out (obviously noticeable). Silicone implants, however, maintain their shape even when they have failed–and despite what you think you heard from your friend or learned with your Google search, ruptured silicone implants are not likely to make you ill.
I recommend that you consider replacing your breast implants every 20 years or so, even if you are not experiencing problems. If you have symptoms like pain or contracture, you may even want to avoid expensive CT/MRI scans that some doctors recommend, and simply elect to change them out (and save yourself from the radiation exposure). The results of any test will unlikely change the fact that you need to exchange your implants.
I know it’s hard to elect to have a surgical procedure when you are doing “fine,” but there is a fun factor in having “new” implants as well as the element of peace of mind.
Robert Caridi, MD