When you choose a breast augmentation surgery, you likely think of it as a permanent procedure. You spend time deliberating over whether it is the right option, you carefully choose your implants and you eagerly anticipate the day of your surgery — you are not planning your augmentation as though it will wear off after a few months or as if you might change your mind. And while it is true that breast augmentation surgery is a long-lasting option, you should always work with your plastic surgeon to familiarize yourself with exactly how long you might expect your results to last. Breast implants, in particular, can often have more risks as they age, so we encourage our clients to learn more about how they can make sure their new breasts stay healthy even many years after their breast augmentation surgery. These are a few factors to consider as you think about the long-term outcomes of your procedure and the lifespan of your breast implants.
Natural Changes in Your Breasts
A breast augmentation will alter the appearance of your current breasts just the way that you want, but it cannot prevent your breasts from changing shape over time. As you continue to grow older, gravity and changes in your skin and breast tissue will likely cause your breasts to look different. For some women, this means drooping or sagging; for others, it means splaying or tissue migration. When you have implants, too, the added weight can cause your breasts to appear heavier than they really are, or changes in tissue placement can result in your implants looking less natural.
As these differences start to become evident, many women choose to have a second breast surgery — a lift or an augmentation revision — to restore their breasts to a more appealing shape. The length of time after your breast augmentation before you may consider having your implants removed or exchanged due to changes in your body will depend on very personal factors like your physique, skin type and age when you had your first augmentation.
Lifestyle or Preference Changes
Although your decision to have a breast augmentation is carefully considered and your surgeon will work with you to help you create your ideal new breasts, you can never be sure how your life may change in the years following your surgery. In these cases, it is often a relief to know that your implants do not need to last forever — you can schedule a revision surgery to redo your breast augmentation if you find that your results are no longer in line with your aesthetic preferences.
Perhaps you have become more active and have found that your implants are getting in the way of some of your workouts or hobbies, or you started with smaller implants and now feel comfortable choosing a larger size. You can also choose to change the type or placement of your implants to achieve a different look for your breasts. Whatever your new preference, you can schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon — preferably the same one who performed your original surgery — to discuss what you would like to do and how a revision surgery might be able to accomplish your new goals.
Risks of Aging Implants
Research shows that risks associated with breast implants — especially leaks or ruptures — increase drastically the older your implants become. Between five and ten years post-surgery, your risk of a complication from your implants becomes more likely, and after ten years it continues to rise. A Danish study published in the journal Archives of Surgery in 2003 estimated that while 98 percent of breast implants remain intact for the first five years, that rate drops to 83-85 percent at ten years. While many women find that their implants last 15 years or more — they are technically designed to last a lifetime — it is always a good idea to keep in touch with your plastic surgeon and have regular physical exams to make sure that your implants are still intact.
This advice is particularly true if you have silicone implants. When a saline implant ruptures, your body absorbs the saline solution and your breast will usually appear noticeably smaller. With silicone implants, the gel filling is not absorbed, making rupture harder to detect. The good news is that replacing your implants for any reason will reset this timeline — if you choose a revision surgery within ten years after your original augmentation, you can expect your new implants to last several more years with low risks.
New Breast Implant Technologies
As modern plastic surgery techniques are growing by leaps and bounds, so are the ways that breast implants are created and constructed. Already, studies show that implants made in the last decade last longer and have fewer associated risks than older implant designs. As we look to the future of breast augmentations, we can certainly expect this trend to continue. This is a benefit not only for women who will have breast augmentations in the years to come, but also for women who currently have breast implants and may need or choose to have them replaced. When you have a breast augmentation today, any changes you make later in life are likely to be performed using the next generation of breast implants.
If you are interested in a breast augmentation or augmentation revision surgery in Atlanta, let the Advanced Aesthetics Plastic Surgery Center team guide you seamlessly through the process. Our staff members and surgeons are always available to be your resource for more information and high-quality client care. Our expert plastic surgeons come with years of experience performing a variety of breast surgeries and other cosmetic procedures, ensuring your complete satisfaction and results that exceed your expectations. Our convenient locations in the Atlanta, Georgia area include offices in Fayetteville, LaGrange, Newnan and McDonough. Call us today at 770-461-4000 to schedule your complimentary consultation.