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Do I need to change my breast implants every 10 years?


The short answer is probably not. So if it's not really necessary, why is it that every patient that researches breast augmentation has come across the magic number of 10? The need to replace breast implants (saline or silicone) every 10 years is based on factual data that has since been slightly misrepresented.

Replacing breast implants every 10 years?

In 2011, the FDA released this report on the safety of silicone breast implants. Rather than reading the 63-page report, here's the bottom line. After 10 years of an initial breast augmentation, 1 out of 5 patients need some sort of revision procedure. That means 20% of patients need another operation due to excess scarring inside the breast (capsular contracture), broken implant etc. That also means that 80% of the patients are doing fine at 10 years.

So if you're having an issue, sure, you may need to change out your implants. But with proper monitoring (self-exams, physician exams), you don't need to automatically replace your implants every 10 years.

Also, keep in mind that this study was released in 2011. Since 2011, there are newer fifth generation gummy bear implants. These implants appear sturdier than the implants studied in 2011. So maybe updated 10-year data with newer implants will show a less frequent need for revision, in the sub-20% range.

The numbers above reference data for cosmetic breast augmentation. Implants used for breast reconstruction differ. Because of radiation and thinner breast skin after mastectomy, implants for breast reconstruction tend to have a higher percentage that require exchanging every 10 years. Check with your doctor to be sure.

The best data sometimes takes many years to be collected. Keep researching for the latest data.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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