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Life Cycle of Breast Implants Difficult to Predict

Life Cycle of Breast Implants Difficult to Predict


Most women considering breast implants want to know how long they can be expected to last. There is no simple answer. It could be as little as five years, or as long as 20 years or more. The important thing, say doctors, is to have them checked periodically.

Although they can do wonders for a woman's appearance, breast implants are essentially fluid in a thick plastic bag. The bag, though made of extremely tough material, is subject to stresses as a woman moves and may eventually develop a hole or a tear, causing the fluid to leak out. Because corrective surgery will be required, the life cycle of the implant is an important consideration.

Implant Life Cycle Averages 10 Years

Their manufacturers estimate the average life cycle of breast implants to be about 10 years. Cosmetic surgeons have reported some patients whose implants have lasted 20 and even 25 years. A few may fail after as little as five years.

A saline-filled breast implant that ruptures can drain within hours or days, causing very obvious changes to the shape of the breast. Since the silicone used in some implants is a gel, it can drain very slowly; a woman may not be aware of it for some time.

Experts Recommend Regular Checks

Given the uncertainty of the implant life cycle, it is recommend that they be checked at regular intervals. The length of the interval depends upon the source of the recommendation. One manufacturer suggests annual checks. Some doctors say every two or three years is sufficient. Either a sonogram or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used.

If you are considering breast implantation surgery, your best source of information is an experienced board-certified cosmetic surgeon. There are many important issues to include in your decision, including how long implants last and what options you have if they develop a hole or tear. Your surgeon can help you make the right choice.

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