Breast augmentation surgery allows women to enhance their natural appearance and get the breast shape they desire. However, the breast implants used in this procedure do not last forever and will have to be replaced after a certain amount of time.
Most women don’t know exactly when they need to get their implants replaced, though. So, we will be going over this information throughout the rest of the post. In addition, we will talk about other cases in which women might get their implants exchanged.
For instance, in some cases, women might want to exchange their existing breast implants for smaller or larger implants. To do this, and to replace implants in general, an implant exchange procedure will be necessary.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this procedure. We’ll specifically discuss when you should get an implant exchange and what the process of this surgery is like.
What Is A Breast Implant Exchange?
Before we talk about when you should get a breast implant exchange, let’s discuss what this procedure entails. To sum it up briefly, breast implant exchange is a popular cosmetic surgery that allows you to exchange old breast implants for brand new breast implants.
Women get this surgery for all kinds of reasons. In some instances, it is a cosmetic issue. Women who do not like the look of their current implants will get an implant exchange done. In other situations, an exchange is done for medical purposes.
Plastic surgery complications are becoming rarer as surgical techniques become more advanced. But some women do have issues with their implants and need to get an implant exchange done. This way they stay healthy and don’t develop health problems.
We’ll talk more about these issues in detail in a later section of the post, though. This way you know when you might need to have this procedure done.
If you are happy with the results of your breast augmentation surgery and want to keep your implants in, how long will your implants last and when should you get a breast implant exchange done exactly?
Again, most women do not know the answer to this question. Additionally, the answer to this question will vary depending on your situation. Really, most women assume that they will have to replace their implants within a few years after they first get implants.
However, this is not the case at all. For most patients, breast implants should last a decade if not longer. Of course, there is no exact expiration date for an implant, nor is there an exact number of years you should wait to have a breast implant exchange done.
But, ten years is an average estimate for most women. When looking at FDA standards, you will usually see a range of 10 to 20 years of use for implants. Still, you want to consider your body and how the breast implants are holding up after the ten-year mark.
If your implants seem to be doing fine after ten years or even twenty years, you might not have to replace them right away. But, this will depend on the quality of the breast implant as well as other factors.
Really, most women are looking at an average of 1 to 2 breast exchanges during the course of their life. You will learn more about this when you talk to your surgeon, though, as they have more detailed information they can share with you.
In addition, the material of your implant and your body will be the biggest factors in a decision to do an implant exchange. We recommend setting up a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
This way you can discuss your concerns with them, and figure out whether you need a breast implant exchange.
How Will You Know When You Need to Exchange Your Breast Implant?
So, we talked about the average lifespan of breast implants, and when you can expect to replace them and have a breast implant exchange done. But, what if your breast implant lasts beyond the 10 to 20-year span? How will you know if you need to replace your breast implant?
In addition, what if your breast implant seems to have problems before the ten-year mark. We’ll discuss these questions in detail here. This way you know exactly when to schedule an implant exchange procedure.
Again, no breast implant lasts forever. We said that most implants can last ten years if not longer. But, complications can happen at any point with a breast implant, especially if the surgery is not done properly. This is why you need to look out for certain signs and symptoms.
Being vigilant will also help you figure out whether it is time to get your breast implant exchange. To give you a better idea of when you should get your exchange done let’s talk about common complications that occur with breast augmentation:
Hardening of the breasts, also known as capsular contracture, might mean that it is time to change your implants. Breasts can harden when the scar tissue near the implants starts to thicken.
Lumps and hard bumps might also develop near the breast area. Swelling and asymmetry can also occur with this condition. Of course, each person’s body will heal differently. Some women will have no complications, while others might develop capsular contracture.
But, if your breasts start to get hard or painful, you will need to contact a plastic surgeon to talk about breast implant exchange. So, be on the lookout for this type of implant complication.
Another issue that might lead to breast implant exchange is an implant leak or rupture. Nowadays, very few people have implant ruptures. However, if you notice that your implant is starting to deflate, contact a plastic surgeon right away.
A leak in your implant can turn into a serious medical issue, especially if it is not dealt with properly. Saline implants are more likely to leak, and they will lose their shape if they rupture. Saline is not that dangerous, but you will notice some side effects if your implants leak.
Your breast size might get smaller, there could be hard lumps or knots, unevenness could occur too. Look out for these signs and schedule an implant exchange if your implants are leaking.
Malposition of Implants
If your implant has dropped out of its normal position, then you will need to consult with a doctor and get an implant exchange performed. Malposition happens when your implant moves and goes out of alignment.
Implants can move over time or shift when you lose or gain weight. In some cases, if the implant is not placed correctly during the initial surgery, then it will become malpositioned.
So, if you notice that your implant is moving or out of position, it is probably time to get an implant exchange.
The Shape of Your Breasts Is Displeasing
Finally, you might simply want to change the look of your breasts. Your breast either didn’t turn out how you wanted, or they are starting to show signs of age and you want them to look better.
Again, breast implants can last for years and years, sometimes, even for decades. But if you do not like how your breasts look, it might be time to schedule a breast implant exchange with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Implant Exchange Frequently Asked Questions:
Why Do Women Get Breast Implant Exchanges?
So, you know when you should get a breast implant exchange. But what other reasons might cause women to get this surgery, and why do so many women get this surgery done before their breast implants expire? We’ll discuss the answers to these questions here.
There are many reasons someone might decide to get a breast implant exchange done. In many cases, women decide to get an exchange when they don’t like the look and shape of their implant. But, there are other possible reasons to consider, as well. We’ll talk about those here:
Want to Change The Texture of The Implant
Another popular reason someone might want an implant is to change the texture of their breast implant. Smooth implants are becoming more and more popular. So, more women are switching from textured to smooth breast implants.
Want to Change The Type of Implant
Women might also want to change the type of breast implant they have. Saline implants can result in more complications. This can lead to some women switching to silicone implants.
Other issues that we talked about such as capsular contracture, implant rupture, and breast swelling and pain could also cause women to get an implant exchange.
Complications with breast implants need to be dealt with promptly. So, contact your surgeon if you are experiencing any issues with your implants.
The Size or Look of The Implant Is Not Right
Some women are not happy with the results of their implants. Whether the surgery was not done well, or they want to change the size and look of the breast, an implant exchange might be performed.
For instance, a plastic surgeon can help change the look of implants and reduce or increase the implant size. Better symmetry can also be achieved with a more appropriately sized implant.
Changing Aesthetic of The Breast
As you can imagine, breast implants change with age. We talked about this throughout the post, but as you get older, your breast implants start to look different, and you might want to revamp the look of your breasts with an implant exchange.
Breast Sagging and Asymmetry
Finally, breast sagging, also known as ptosis of the breast, could also lead women to get this procedure done. Pregnancy, weight loss or gain, and even age can cause the breasts to sag, and the nipples to become asymmetrical. This is another popular reason to get an implant exchange done.
Who Is A Good Candidate For This Surgery?
If you have had breast augmentation surgery done in the past, you are a good candidate for this procedure. In fact, most women should be able to get a breast implant exchange done with very few issues.
However, if you are currently pregnant, nursing a child, or have other serious medical conditions, you should talk with your surgeon and have the procedure done at a later date.
How Can You Improve The Look of A Breast Implant Exchange?
As we mentioned throughout the post, breast implants change as you age. You want to ensure that you get the best results with this procedure. But how can you improve the look of a breast implant exchange, especially if you have noticeable sagging?
The skin and tissue around your breast stretch out and sag with age. This is why we recommend getting a breast lift along with your breast implant exchange.
In particular, women who have gained weight or lost weight, have undergone pregnancy, or are going through menopause should consider this option. Breast lifts help to reposition the nipple and lift up sagging skin, this way your new implant looks fresh and perky.
So, definitely consider combining these two procedures for the best possible results!
Contact Dr. Vitenas Today
If you are thinking about getting a breast implant exchange, contact our office today. Dr. Vitenas is a board-certified plastic surgeon that has performed countless breast augmentations and breast implant exchanges.
He can help you achieve the results you want with your breast implants, by replacing your old implants and realigning them in the best position. In addition, if your implants are starting to show signs of age please contact our office.
You want to consult with a medical professional if you think you need to replace your old implants. Any medical complications with your breast implants can also be discussed with Dr. Vitenas. We can be contacted at this phone number: 281-484-0088. You can also reach us on our contact page which is linked here. Just fill out our digital form with your information and we will get back to you.