5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Aging Breast Implants
Posted February 18, 2018
If your implants aren’t feeling or looking their best, you may be experiencing aging breast implants.
While the FDA has stated that approved breast implants have a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness when used as labeled, the agency does emphasize that the breast implants are not lifetime devices. With approximately 300,00 women undergoing breast augmentation each year in the United States, it is thought that more than 4.7 billion women have had breast implants since 1997. The average breast implants made prior to 2006 tend to last about 10-15 years from the time of the original surgery. The topic of aging breast implants is very rarely addressed or discussed during a routine medical exam.
The longer a woman has breast implants, the more likely she is to experience local complications and need a replacement. Quite frequently, the complications exist for many years with the patient not understanding that the changes in the breasts are a sign of complications. The five most common concerns with aging breast implants include:
Your implants are starting to shift.
Shifting can occur because the pocket was created too large during surgery or the implant itself may be too big or too wide for the woman’s breast. As we age, our bodies change, and our weight shifts. Implants may shift as well. A board certified plastic surgeon can determine your implant health upon consultation.
You’ve experienced deflation or rupture.
Deflation occurs with a saline implant and can be caused by a faulty valve or small or small tear in the implant. This deflation of implant can occur rapidly or gradually and should be addressed in a timely manner. A ruptured implant is more likely with a saline implant but can also occur with a silicone implant. This can be the result of trauma or an aging implant. A ruptured silicone may be more difficult to diagnose but is most commonly characterized by a change in the shape or firmness of the breast. Find out how long a saline implant should stay in your body.
Your breasts are losing their lift.
Drooping can occur with a significant weight loss, pregnancy or breastfeeding. An implant that was placed above the muscle rather than below the muscle can also droop. The natural breast may sit lower than that of the implant or hang down from the peak of the implant itself.
You’re starting to see some wrinkling or rippling.
Wrinkling is more common with a saline implant and can be due to capsular contracture or an aging implant. The breast appears to have ridges or waves most commonly in the upper portion of the breast, which worsens when the woman is leaning forward.
Your breasts are hardening.
The cause of a breast hardening is not completely known. There are theories that include a biofilm, or layer of bacteria, that develops around the implant. Implants placed above the muscle have been found to have a higher rate of capsular contracture. The age of the implant can play a role in hardening as well as a gel bleed.
Women with implants that are more than 10 years old should be encouraged to have routine examinations by a board certified plastic surgeon every 1-2 years and report any unusual changes such as pain or change in appearance immediately.
Bellissimo Plastic Surgery & Medi Spa assists clients throughout Pittsburgh with their cosmetic treatments and plastic surgery needs, as well as their Implant Education. Dr. Jeffrey Antimarino is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and was voted one of Pittsburgh’s Best Plastic Surgeons in 2017. If you’re experiencing aging breast implants, set up a consultation with Dr. Antimarino at one of our Pittsburgh locations – Shadyside, Monroeville, Robinson, and Greensburg.