What happens when breast implants get old?

Breast implants have been in use for decades and are primarily made of saline or silicone. As they age, these implants experience wear and tear, leading to a variety of potential complications. Some common issues that arise with aging breast implants include rupture, deflation, capsular contracture, and changes in shape or position. These complications can result in discomfort, changes in appearance, and the need for additional surgery to address the problems.

While breast implants are designed to be long-lasting, they are not meant to last a lifetime. On average, most implants will need to be replaced or removed after about 10-15 years. This means that women who undergo breast augmentation surgery need to be aware of the potential long-term maintenance required to keep their implants in good condition. Regular check-ups with a plastic surgeon are recommended to monitor the condition of the implants and address any issues that may arise.

One of the main concerns with aging breast implants is the risk of rupture. When a saline implant ruptures, the saline solution is harmlessly absorbed by the body. However, if a silicone implant ruptures, it can be more difficult to detect and may require imaging tests to diagnose. Ruptured implants should be removed or replaced to prevent complications such as silicone migration or inflammation.

Capsular contracture is another common complication that can occur with aging breast implants. This occurs when scar tissue forms around the implant, creating a tight or distorted appearance. Severe cases of capsular contracture may cause pain, discomfort, and changes in breast shape. In these instances, surgery may be necessary to remove the scar tissue and replace the implant.

As breast implants age, women may also notice changes in the feel or appearance of their breasts. Implants may shift position, become more visible under the skin, or lose their original shape. These changes can impact a woman’s self-esteem and body image, leading to emotional distress. Regular monitoring and maintenance of aging breast implants can help address these issues and ensure that women feel comfortable and confident in their appearance.

What Really Happens as Breast Implants Age?

Curious about the effects of aging breast implants? As time passes, breast implants may deteriorate or become damaged, leading to a variety of potential complications. Find out more about the changes that occur in aging breast implants and how to address them in the following comprehensive discussion.

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When breast implants get old, several things can happen that may require revision surgery or removal of the implants. Over time, breast implants may rupture or leak, causing changes in breast shape or size. Capsular contracture, a condition where the scar tissue around the implant hardens and tightens, can also occur as implants age. This can lead to discomfort, distortion of the breast shape, and in some cases, pain.

Another common issue with aging breast implants is implant displacement or asymmetry. As the natural aging process affects the skin and tissues, the position of the implants may shift, causing one breast to sit higher or lower than the other. Changes in breast appearance, such as rippling or wrinkling of the implant, may also become more noticeable with older implants.

In some cases, women with older breast implants may also experience health concerns related to the implants. This could include symptoms such as chest pain, swelling, or inflammation around the implant site. It is important for women with breast implants to monitor any changes in their breast health and consult with a healthcare provider if they experience any concerning symptoms.

Regular monitoring and follow-up appointments with a plastic surgeon are essential for women with breast implants to assess the condition of the implants and address any issues that may arise as the implants age. Revision surgery may be necessary to replace or remove old implants and address any complications that develop over time.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, approximately 20,000 women undergo breast implant removal surgery each year in the United States.

Q: How long do breast implants typically last?

A: Breast implants are not considered lifetime devices and may need to be replaced or removed at some point. On average, they last about 10-20 years, but this can vary for each individual.

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Q: What are some signs that breast implants are getting old?

A: Some signs that breast implants may be reaching the end of their lifespan include changes in shape or size, hardening of the implants, or increased risk of rupture. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider if you notice any changes.

Q: Can old breast implants cause health problems?

A: While rare, old breast implants can potentially cause health problems such as rupture, leakage, or capsular contracture. Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider can help catch any issues early on.

Q: Do all breast implants need to be replaced eventually?

A: Not all breast implants will need to be replaced, but it is important to monitor them for any changes or issues as they age. Consult with a healthcare provider to determine if replacement is necessary.

Q: What is involved in replacing old breast implants?

A: The process of replacing old breast implants typically involves removing the old implants and inserting new ones. It is a surgical procedure that should be done by a qualified healthcare provider.

Q: Is there a specific age when breast implants should be replaced?

A: There is not a specific age when breast implants should be replaced, as it varies for each individual. Factors such as the type of implant, lifestyle, and overall health can influence the decision to replace them.

Q: Can old breast implants be removed without replacement?

A: Yes, old breast implants can be removed without replacement if a person no longer wishes to have them. This is a personal decision and should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Q: Are there risks associated with removing old breast implants?

A: Like any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with removing old breast implants. These can include infection, bleeding, or changes in breast appearance. It is important to discuss these risks with a healthcare provider before undergoing the procedure.

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Q: How can I prolong the life of my breast implants?

A: To prolong the life of your breast implants, it is important to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for regular check-ups, avoid activities that could damage the implants, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Proper care and monitoring can help prevent issues with old implants.

Q: What should I do if I notice changes in my breast implants?

A: If you notice any changes in your breast implants, such as pain, swelling, or changes in shape, it is important to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. They can evaluate the implants and recommend any necessary actions to address the changes.


In conclusion, breast implants can deteriorate over time, leading to a variety of potential complications and health risks. As implants age, they may rupture, leak, or become encapsulated, causing changes in the shape, texture, or size of the breasts. These issues can result in pain, discomfort, and aesthetic concerns for individuals with aging breast implants. Additionally, the risk of developing inflammation, infection, or scar tissue around the implants increases over time, requiring regular monitoring and potential revision surgeries to address any issues that arise.

Overall, it is important for individuals with breast implants to be aware of the potential consequences of aging implants and to consult with their healthcare provider if they experience any changes or concerns. Regular screenings and follow-up appointments are essential for maintaining the health and appearance of breast implants over time. By staying proactive and informed about the possible risks associated with aging implants, individuals can take the necessary steps to address any issues that may arise and ensure the long-term success of their breast augmentation procedures.