Options for Aging Breast Implants

When patients are considering breast augmentation surgery I am often asked “How long will my implants last?” or “Is it true that I have to exchange my breast implants every ten years?”

While the intent of performing this surgery is that you will have a lifelong result that will never require another operation, I always tell my patients that they should go into this endeavor of having breast implants knowing that, in all likelihood, they will have another operation on their breasts at some time in the future.

On the other hand, it is not a foregone conclusion that this will be necessary, and the old wives tale about having to exchange your implants every ten years is simply that…an old wives tale. It would be more correct to follow the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In other words, if you are happy with how your breasts look and feel, and your implants are fine, then you could live with your original set for the rest of your life.

It’s important to remember that breast implants are not designed, nor do they promise, to last forever, and unfortunately, breast augmentation surgery does not stop the natural aging process.

Even with breast implants, as you age, your skin will begin to lose its natural elasticity, which may result in an undesirable sagging of the breasts.

In addition to the skin losing its elasticity, aging also impacts the volume of fat tissue vs. breast tissue, which can change the way augmented breasts look over time. Furthermore, there are other life changes that may affect the shape and size of your breasts, like pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, menopause, etc.

But alas, there are many things that can be done to restore a new and improved enhanced look to your breasts. After all, women have been getting breast implants for more than 40 years now, so it is only natural that there are many women who have wanted or needed some revision surgery.

With regard to breast augmentation revision, women have many options today: Implants can be replaced for newer, improved models. They can be decreased, increased, or kept the same size. They can be removed altogether, they can be removed and the breasts can be enhanced with a mastopexy (breast lift surgery), or if indicated, your old implants can be left in place and the breasts can be lifted without disturbing the implants at all. The options can sometimes seem endless.

While it is always important to choose a well-trained, well-experienced surgeon for your primary breast surgery, it is even more important to seek out a surgeon that has had plenty of experience in dealing with revisions of previous breast augmentation surgery. These are often much more complex than a first time augmentation.

If you are considering a Breast Augmentation revision, I’d be happy to discuss these options with you to determine which would be right for you. I have been in practice for close to 23 years now and I believe that I have seen and operated on every maturation of breast enhancement surgery possible.