Breast augmentation is a procedure that may require additional surgery at some time in your life. There are various reasons for this that I will address.
Q: How often do I need to exchange my implants, I heard it is every 10 years?
A: The 10 year recommendation is an old recommendation and is no longer used. Exchanging implants is not based on time, it is for specific issues or concerns.
Q: What are some of the reasons I need to exchange my breast implants?
A: There are various reasons you may want or need to exchange your breast implants. Some of these reasons include deflation or rupture, capsular contracture (hardening of the scar tissue around the implant), a desire for a different implant size, or exchange for a different type of implant (most commonly exchange from saline to silicone gel or gummy bear implants to improve the feel and rippling).
Q: I’ve had a deflation with a saline implant or a rupture with a silicone gel implant, how quickly do I need to exchange it?
A: There is no health risk with a ruptured implant. For a saline implant, because the saline is absorbed, the breast size will decrease. Ideally, I like to exchange a deflated saline implant within 2-3 weeks because otherwise the surrounding tissue begins to collapse and makes for a more difficult surgery. With a ruptured silicone gel implant, it will typically maintain its size and shape because these are cohesive gel, they don’t flow like a liquid. It is your decision as to when to exchange a ruptured silicone gel implant.
Q: Am I required to exchange a ruptured silicone gel gummy bear implant?
A: Although the FDA recommends exchanging a ruptured silicone gel implant, there is no health risk. Many other countries with agencies like the FDA do not recommend exchange of a ruptured silicone gel implant because the gummy bear implants maintain their shape and do not typically cause problems. If a ruptured silicone gel implant has been deformed because of a traumatic rupture, such as a car accident, it may require exchange to get the breast back to a normal shape.
Whenever you have a question about your breast implants, the best thing to do is to schedule a visit with your board certified plastic surgeon.