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FYI’s to Know About Breast Implant Removal

As surgeons we’ve seen it many times before; you’ve finally made the decision to to a breast augmentation – how exciting! Numerous discussions with your surgeon and the one point that is still unclear is how to deal with the long-term care of implants. 

First things first: breast augmentation is one of the safest aesthetic surgery operations with one of the highest satisfaction rates. As with any surgery there are risk factors and pros and cons that need to be weighed on before going under the knife. That being said there is a difference between worry and awareness. 

It’s important to know – no implant lasts forever.

Published failure rates by the major implant manufactures range from:

  • 10-13% for silicone implants
  • 5-10% for saline implants at 10 years

The bottom line is your should expect, at some point, your implants will need to be replaced. 

To aware, MANY implants don’t fail. Though there are those that can rupture or leak because of a tear or hole. This can be from injury to the shell (such as trama to your chest) or fatgue of the shell (creases can form from wrinkling and the shell weakens). You may ask, “How do you know if my implant has failed?” or “What can be done when my implant has leaked?”

This is where the different between saline and silicone implants is noticeable.

If you have a saline implant, the implant will appear deflated. Thus the appearance of your breast will have lost volume. Dependent on the leak itself and its size, it may takes a few days or weeks but you will eventually be able to tell. 

If you have a silicone implant, it may be difficult to determine a leak. This is because the silicone gel will be captured within the capsule and may even stay inside the implant shell due to its cohesive nature. This is what’s called a silent rupture. A ruptured silicone implant usually changes shape and gets firmer, so they are not often truly “silent ruptures”. If the silicone is contained by the capsule, there is no emergency to replace it. However, if the silicone gel is ever found to have migrated beyond the capsule, it should be removed and may require removal of tissue it has scarred or adhered to. 

In these cases a mammogram and/or ultrasound of the breast and implants can help to determine leakage, unless the silicone is outside the capsule those options might not be definitive. At that point an MRI would give the best evaluation, but they of course tend to be costly and not covered by insurance. 


“If an implant isn’t leaking, why would I get it replaced?”

Many women decide, as they get older, that they no longer want an implant. Some women want smaller implants, as their breasts have gotten larger with perimenopausal changes. The larger augmented breast, just like ones without implants, can cause neck and shoulder pain, and women feel like they look heavy. Many women feel their breasts are too saggy as they age; gravity and weight of the implant also contribute to this, so they opt to go to a smaller size and/or have a lift.

Implants that have become encapsulated are almost always uncomfortable. They are hard and hurt, so women feel self-conscious hugging friends due to the unnatural firmness.

Some women change their mind about saline implants if they wrinkle, and want to switch to silicone. Some with silicone would like to exchange an intact implant before it ruptures. When you do this, it is just as simple an operation as exchanging a saline implant.

So when you consider breast augmentation, also consider that replacement of the implant is going to be necessary in your lifetime. You may decide that you are more comfortable with saline, as you will know it has deflated. Or you might want a silicone, but opt to exchange at a set date rather than take a wait and see approach. No matter which implant you choose, think carefully about the long range differences and what risks you can tolerate.


Would you like to discuss your implants with Dr. Schwartz? You can submit a consultation request here on our Contact Us page or go directly here: 


Dr. Richard G Schwartz has been serving Palm Beach Country in aesthetic plastic surgery for over 25 years and is renowned for his surgical artistry and natural results.


20, June, 2017admin

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