06 Mar How Often Should Women Replace Their Implants? Switching From Saline To Silicone
The Lifespan Of Breast Implants
Known as breast augmentation surgery, breast implants are one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries women undergo. Recent statistics show that over 313,000 augmentations were performed in the US in a single year. When opting for breast implants, women initially choose saline or silicone. Breast augmentation provides long-term results, but many people are surprised to learn that implants should be replaced periodically.
Why replace implants?
Unlike some devices that can be inserted in the body, breast implants aren’t intended to be placed indefinitely. Depending on the materials used, implant breakdown is a real possibility. A recent report noted that 1 in every 5 patients might need a revision procedure around the 10-year mark, especially when silicone is used. With about 20% of women requiring a follow-up procedure after the initial surgery, knowing when to replace implants is important.
Monitoring the breasts
In most cases, routine monitoring is the best proactive solution for detecting a problem. Self-breast exams performed at home are the best way to determine if further review is needed. An annual breast exam at the doctor’s office can also catch problems with implants early on. If a physician thinks a problem might be present, patients may undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look for a leak.
Silicone vs saline
When undergoing breast augmentation, a patient has 2 options to choose from. Saline implants are composed of sterile water, while silicone versions are filled with gel. While saline options are authorized in people 18 and older, silicone is restricted to 22 and up for augmentation but can be used for any age when undergoing breast reconstruction. Both materials share similar risks regarding scar tissue growth as well as leaking and tearing.
Choosing saline versus silicone for breast implants depends on patient preference and surgeon recommendations. Silicone is a popular choice because the material feels more natural and is less susceptible to visual disturbances like rippling. However, modern saline implants are now created to prevent the liquid from moving or the encasement from rippling. While silicone implants are generally safe, more risks are present if a rupture occurs.
Maintaining implants over time
Opting to replace implants can occur for a variety of reasons. For example, a woman can decide to reduce the size of the breasts or switch from saline to silicone material. If enough time has passed, the implant may start to break down, and a replacement may be necessary. However, replacement surgeries aren’t without risks. Individuals interested in making the switch should work with a plastic surgeon to decide when to replace the implants.