Top Tips: When To Remove or Replace Your Breast Surgery Implants?

Posted on the 12 April 2012 at 11:24

How can you tell when it’s time to replace your breast surgery implants? Increasingly, patients want to know whether they should have their implants exchanged, what are the pros, what are the cons.
 
Here is a Top Tips guide to put your mind at rest:

  1. If your breasts feel OK and you don’t have any actual problems (which we will discuss further in a minute), you are probably best to leave your implants well alone!
  2. The current brands of implants (like Nagor and Natrelle which we use at Aurora Clinics) are estimated to last about 15 years so you’ll probably need them replaced after this. BUT we tell patients: if there isn’t a problem with the implants, you don’t necessarily need to change them. 
  3. 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 still intact then you don’t need to change them because an operation actually has just as many risks as keeping your implants. 
  4. If you have got problems, what could these problems be?
    • Capsulisation (basically where the implants go firm). Normally when this happens it is the body forming a capsule (lining) around the implant which compresses, makes them go firm and often high. So the implants become slightly higher and the breasts slightly lower. 
    • Rupture 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. If there is any rupture, you really should have them removed and replaced. 
    • Silicone granuloma (Lumps in your armpits). You have lymph glands which act as sieves under your armpit and they drain any silicone. If there is any silicone leakage from the implant, that can cause a lumpiness under the armpit. Again, that’s a reason to remove them. 
    • 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. In particular, we’ve seen a lot of patients who’ve had the implants put in a sub muscular position, (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”.
  5. 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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