As one of the most common cosmetic surgeries within the United States, silicone breast implants are continuously growing in popularity.
For those who are considering this procedure themselves — or for those who are simply curious about implants — this post will discuss what silicone breast implants are made of, how long they last, and how to know when they need to be replaced.
What Are Silicone Breast Implants?
In short, silicone breast implants are pouches that have been uniquely formed to mimic the consistency and shape of natural breasts.
While both saline and silicone breast implants have silicone shells, the big difference between the two lies in how the actual implant is formed. Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water, whereas silicone breast implants are pre-filled with silicone. This thick gel closely mimics the consistency of natural fatty tissue.
Thus, many women opt for silicone breast implants rather than saline, as silicone tends to feel more natural.
History of Silicone Breast Implants
The very first silicone breast implant surgery was performed in 1962, amidst a significant time of reform and autonomy. During the 90s, silicone breast implants suffered a short period of unpopularity, due to a string of complications.
Now, however, with increased awareness and the evolution of modern medicine, these fifth generation silicone breast implants are perfectly safe — and incredibly popular.
In fact, nearly 300,000 American women get breast implants each year, solidifying their spot as the most popular form of cosmetic surgery.
How Long Do They Last?
This is probably one of the most common questions people inquire about when it comes to breast augmentation surgery – how long will the results last? The answer is, while it is possible for silicone breast implants to last for a lifetime, they may need to be replaced at some point. The older 2nd generation implants typically were all ruptured or leaking by 10 years post-surgery, but the current 5th generation gel implants remain mostly intact at 10 or even 20 years.
According to the FDA, it’s important that women continuously monitor their implants throughout their lifetime. Silicone implant ruptures are difficult to detect; they cannot be detected simply by looking at or feeling the augmented breast. The gel material is inert, so if a rupture does occur, the gel will not be absorbed by the body, so the appearance will not change.
For this reason, some patients will schedule MRIs or ultrasounds to look for any changes or ruptures in the outer shell, which are two determining factors in implant replacement.
Implants must be replaced if a rupture does occur, however. Without replacement, a ruptured silicone breast implant can cause breast pain, tenderness, or changes in the shape of the breast.
Whether you’re considering breast augmentation or simply curious about the process, understanding the basics of silicone breast implants, including how long they last, is important.
If you’d like to know more about breast augmentation surgery, contact Dr. Adams today to schedule a consultation or to ask any questions you may have.