Implants used in breast augmentation do have the possibility of lasting a lifetime, but implant manufacturers do not consider them ‘lifetime devices’ because the possibility exists that over time the outer shell will start to thin and increase chances for rupture. Here in Newport Beach, Dr. Sajjadian rarely sees this happen anymore but it still does happen on occasion. Of the various types of implants used in breast augmentation surgeries, saline breast implant failure is the most obvious. When a saline implant ruptures the saline leaks out of the implant leaving an obviously “deflated” breast. The saline solution is not toxic and is quickly absorbed by the body.
Now when a silicone gel implant has a break in its shell, it’s a totally different issue. Because the filling is like a semi-solid gummy consistency, rupture is not easily detected by looking at or feeling the breast. The gel material is not absorbed by the body, so in essence it stays pretty well in place within the capsule surrounding the implant and the appearance and feel of the breast does not change much following rupture of a silicone implant’s outer shell. Most often, these ruptures are found only incidentally on MRI for other reasons. Because these can go undetected, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), therefore, has recommended that women receiving the recently approved cohesive gel implants obtain breast implant MRI scans at intervals following augmentation.
In general here in Newport Beach and most other places, there is rarely a need to remove and replace either kind of implant simply because a certain amount of time has passed since the augmentation surgery. They are usually replaced only if they rupture, which as mentioned above, is pretty rare.