Wondering About Replacing Your Breast Implants?

woman kneeling on beach looking out contemplatively

A very common question and concern I hear is … When do I need to remove or replace my breast implants? The answer is not simple and is different for every patient… but here is a list of questions and an infographic (below) you can ask yourself to help you decide:

Question #1: How long have I had the implants?

There is a common misconception that breast implants should be replaced after ten years. This is simply not true.  Breast implants can remain in place safely for up to 20 years or possibly even more. Many women have had breast implants for 20+ years and have no issues whatsoever. So, if you are not having any issues, there is no need to replace them just because they are over ten years old.

Question #2: Am I having any discomfort with my breast implants?

There are several issues that can arise in women with breast implants. The first would be pain or discomfort. It is very common for women to start experiencing discomfort or pain around the implant or in the shoulder and arm area.

Sometimes there can be a tightness or pulling. This pain can be constant or occasional. It could be mild or moderate discomfort. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort with your implants, this is most likely caused by encapsulation or capsular contracture. This is the body’s response to a foreign body (breast implant), and this capsule can be more problematic the longer the breast implant is in the body. Some capsules can get hard and cause a very firm feeling in the breast. Some capsules stay soft… but even soft capsules can sometimes create discomfort. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, it may be time to consider replacing your breast implants.

Question #3: Are my breast implants starting to look different or deformed?

As time goes by, the capsule can start to cause the breast to look and feel different. This may present as rippling, firm lumps, a discrepancy in the height of the implants, or misshapen breasts. If your breasts are looking different or you start to see rippling, it means the capsule is most likely hardening, and it is time to consider replacing them.

Question #4: Am I still happy with the size?

As women age, our breasts change. They can become larger with weight gain and menopause or smaller with weight loss. They can also become more droopy, especially after breastfeeding. As time passes, many women swap out their breast implants for a different size. Many older women want to downsize, and essentially any age woman may want to upsize their breast implants. Getting your implants replaced for a different size is a very common reason women undergo breast revision surgery.

If you are having any concerns about your breast implants and are wondering if it is time to have a breast revision surgery, call our La Jolla office at (858) 452-1981 or contact us online, and we can create a customized breast revision plan to accomplish your goals.