How long will breast implants placed for augmentation last? This is a difficult question to answer because the answer depends on when the breast implants were placed, and what the shell and filler was. Silicone gel filled breast implant devices that were placed in the 1980’s and early 1990’s should be replaced. In general, silicone gel breast implants from that era should be changed after approximately year 12. These older silicone gel filled devices were constructed with a thinner, less durable shell than the current breast implants used today for breast augmentation.
Silicone gel breast implants used today for breast augmentation are constructed with a much better shell and consistency of the gel itself. These newer breast implants have been shown to have less complications than the older breast implants. The current silicone gel breast implants do not require replacement unless a failure is detected or the patient requests breast implant exchange.
Saline filled breast implants used for breast enhancement during that same earlier period do not need to be replaced. If a saline filled breast implant has not delated, the implant does not need to be replaced. If a woman has another breast surgery for any reason, she may elect to have a breast implants exchange. It is not because they have to be changed though.
Today’s saline filled devices made from the two primary breast implant manufacturers are very well made. These breast implants are very durable and come with a lifetime replacement guarantee. This does not mean that the breast implants will last a lifetime, it just means that if they deflate, the manufacturer will provide new breast implants for free.
While it is not known how long the saline breast implants will last, it is safe to say that they do not need to be changed for any reason other than complications of breast enhancement surgery. In other words, there is no inherent reason to replace the saline breast implants after a certain period of time. So if the breast implant is not broken, then it does not need to be replaced.
If a saline breast implant does fail and deflates, it will leak all the fluid (saline) out of the breast implant. Saline filled breast implants typically are either filled or empty, they do not leak half way. The saline used to fill a breast implant is sterile and is physiologic. The saline liquid is designed to cause no harm in the body.