When should you replace your implants?
Worried about implant removal and replacement and when’s the right time? Read on.
Hello, my name’s Adrian Richards. I’m a Plastic Surgeon and the Surgical Director of Aurora Clinics.
Today I’m going to be talking about replacement of breast implants. This is an increasing problem and I’m seeing more and more patients who come to me to ask should I have my implants exchanged, what are the pros, what are the cons.
So basically, implants, the current ones we estimate they last about 15 years so you’ll probably need them replaced after 15 years. But what I tell my patients is if there isn’t a problem with the implants, you don’t necessarily need to change them.
So if you had breast implants 20 years ago, your breasts are nice and soft, you’ve had an ultrasound which shows that the implants are intact, there’s not a problem, you don’t need to change them because in fact an operation has risks in itself.
If you’re happy with them, you haven’t got any problem, it’s probably best to leave them alone. If you have got problems, what could these problems be?
These problems can be capsulisation which is basically where the implants go firm. Normally when they go firm, this is the body forming a capsule around the lining around the implant which compresses, makes them go firm and often high. So the implants are slightly higher and the breasts slightly lower.
Another one is if there’s any indication that the implant may have ruptured, so if you feel there’s been a recent change, we’d normally arrange an ultrasound or an MRI to look at the integrity of the breast implant and if there is any rupture. That is a good reason to have them removed and replaced.
Another reason might be what’s called a silicone granuloma. Sometimes you can get lumps in your armpits, you have lymph glands which act as sieves under your armpit and they would drain any silicone. So if there is any silicone bleed which is a slight ooze from the implant, that can cause a lumpiness under the armpit. Again, thats a reason to remove them.
The final main reason is you’re not happy with the aesthetic results of the implant. They may have been fine but they’ve changed, maybe you’ve had pregnancies or your breast shape has changed. So that is an indication if aesthetically you’re not pleased with the appearance of the breast.
In particular, I’ve seen a lot of patients who’ve had the implants put in a sub-muscular position, that’s under the pectoralis muscle, where the implants lie high because the pectoralis muscle tends to hold the implants high and with time, breast tissue itself goes down and this leads to a phenomenon called the double bubble effect.
So essentially, if your breasts are okay and you haven’t got a problem, it’s probably best to leave them alone. If you’ve got any of the problems that I’ve just talked about, you could consider having them removed but you need to think long and carefully about the pros and cons of doing this.
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