When Should I Replace My Breast Implants?
Breast augmentation with implants is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures for women. This procedure has changed hundreds of thousands of lives since the 1960s. While undergoing breast augmentation is a big decision, there is always the option of implant removal or replacement. With the latest generation of implants, there is no hard and fast rule about when replacement is necessary.
About modern breast augmentation
Today, breast augmentation is the procedure in which implants are inserted beneath the natural breast tissue or the chest muscles to create a more attractive figure, or resolve asymmetry. Breast augmentation helps women with smaller breasts achieve a more curvy look. Augmentation can restore the breasts after childbirth, weight loss, or restore breast shape after a lumpectomy.
Types of implants for augmentation
There are two main types of breast implants to choose from, saline and silicone. Several variations are available, including structured saline, round silicone, and “gummy bear,” or anatomically-shaped implants, each in an array of sizes and levels of projection. In a breast augmentation procedure, your surgeon will either place the implants beneath the skin through an incision, which may be in the crease beneath the breast, the armpit, or through an incision around the areola. The type of implants and incision placement is selected based upon your current breast size, anatomy, and the type of implants you want.
How long do breast implants last?
Breast implants should last for years. They are guaranteed for ten years by the manufacturer, but most last far longer. There is no reason to replace implants that are in good shape and have not led to any complications.
Statistics reveal that one in five breast implant patients will need adjustment or replacement within ten years. Implants last more than ten years for eighty percent of women. It is essential to monitor the condition of your breasts and watch for any changes in shape or softness. A small percentage of implants rupture and require replacement. While a rupture is visible with saline implants as the harmless saline solution releases into the body and the breast deflates, with silicone, a rupture may not be apparent. You can be tested to ensure silicone implants are intact.
Should I replace recalled textured breast implants?
Recently, Allergan, the makers of BIOCELL implants, issued a voluntary recall for their line of textured implants and tissue expanders due to a higher risk of the woman developing rare cancer, “breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma” or BIA-ALCL. While this sounds frightening, BIA-ALCL is extremely rare, and the risk of developing this cancer is low. BIA-ALCL does not appear in women with smooth shell implants. When BIA-ALCL is caught early, it is very treatable. BIA-ALCL is not a cancer of the breast tissue, but an immune system cancer that develops in the capsule surrounding the implant.
Which implants were recalled?
The implants recalled have textured silicone shells:
- Natrelle saline implants
- Natrelle silicone implants
- Natrelle tissue expanders
While textured implants from Allergan are no longer available for breast augmentation, experts say there is no need for women with these textured implants to have them removed or replaced. Whether you have smooth or textured implants, keeping an eye on your breasts and being alert to any changes, along with regular check-ups, is always advised. If you are considering having your textured implants removed out of an excess of caution, Dr. Andres can speak with you about replacement surgery.
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