Breast Implant Replacement – when’s the right time?

Aurora Clinics: Photo showing Breast Implant Replacement

Aurora is now part of The Private Clinic, a nationwide group of clinics with over 35 years of experience specialising in Cosmetic Surgery and Skin and a Trust Pilot 5 star rating. For comprehensive information, before and after photos and costs on Implant removal and replacement procedures click here

Our expert Plastic Surgeon Adrian Richards is the Medical Director for The Private Clinic. Clinics are located in BirminghamBristolBuckinghamshireGlasgowLondon Harley StreetLeedsManchester and Northampton.

If you’ve got breast implants, you’ve probably considered the prospect of having them replaced. But when’s the right time to change your implants?

Well, mostly due to conflicting or outdated advice, there’s a lot of confusion about how long breast implants actually last.

There’s a common misconception that they’re only good for 10 years, almost like they’re a food item with an expiry date. Keep them any longer and you’re asking for trouble!

Well, great news – this simply isn’t true.

If you’ve had your implants a good few years, but are experiencing no problems with them, nothing needs to be done. Really. The only reason you need to change an implant is if there’s a problem.

Now, of course there may be reasons why you want to change your implants – perhaps trying out a different size or shape.

But as far as needing to change them, it’s only if and when you realise there’s something up. Which begs the question – how do you tell tell when there’s a problem?

How to tell if you need breast implant replacement – Silicone vs Saline

As we’ve said, you only need to exchange your breast implants is if you’re having a problem. And that can take a few different forms.

Potential complications include rupture/deflation, capsular contracture and ‘bottoming out’ (when the implants sink below the natural breast crease).

If your implants are saline, it’s easy to tell if they’ve failed. When a saline implant leaks, the thin saline solution is quickly absorbed by the body, and the implant immediately looks smaller.

Silicone implants are trickier. When the shell of a silicone implant ruptures, you can’t tell by looking at or feeling the breast. The silicone gel isn’t absorbed by the body, so the affected breast doesn’t suddenly and obviously change.

The only reliable way to diagnose a gel implant rupture is to have an MRI scan. This will pick it up easily, and many plastic surgeons actually recommend having a scan every 3-4 years to check on silicone implants.

Some plastic surgeons will also recommend replacing silicone implants after 10-15 years as a precaution. But most agree that if your implants seem to be intact, with no problems picked up in any scan, and no issues with capsular contracture, there’s no need to remove implants you’re happy with.

Breast implant manufacturers don’t market their implants as ‘lifetime devices’ because of the possibility that they’ll eventually fail. But that doesn’t change the fact that some implants can – and do – last a lifetime. Some women live out their whole lives with their original implants and never need additional surgery.

There’s no way to predict how long breast implants will last. What we do know is that today’s silicone implants are more durable than in the past as manufacturing techniques have become more sophisticated.

And that’s only likely to improve over time. So one day the need for breast implant replacement may be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Until then, if your breast implants are still soft, with a good shape, and haven’t deflated or ruptured, there’s no need to have breast implant replacement just because a certain amount of time has passed.

Your body – and your bank balance – will thank you for it!

Find out more about breast implant replacement

Aurora Clinics is a nationwide plastic and cosmetic surgery group with a number of BAAPS registered specialist breast surgeons. For information on breast implant replacement, or to book a free consultation, please call the team on 01324 578290 or email