A mother of 3 who is now in early 50’s. She was bothered by a deflated look of her breasts after pregnancy and wished to be fuller but still natural in appearance. She is 5’6” and 167 lbs and is now 11 years after bilateral partial sub-pectoral breast augmentation with smooth round moderate profile 375 cc saline implants, She stopped by the office for a quick check and to see if she needed to “do anything” now that her implants are 11 years old. This is a question that comes up frequently. Breast implants in general have about an 8 % rupture rate in 10 years- that means that in 10 years, 8 patients out of 100 will have developed a leak. If she had silicone gel implants it would be reasonable to send her for an ultrasound or an MRI to see if the implants are intact- a “silent” rupture can occur with silicone implants and it may not be possible to tell if the implant is intact without one of these tests. With saline implants its much easier. If the implants are still there when you look in the mirror, then they are intact! So this is the big advantage of saline implants. If the implant leaks, the saline gets absorbed by the body and the implant shell goes flat. The breast “deflates” and it’s obvious. Not a panic situation but time to consider a replacement. But she is doing great, her breasts remain soft, and she can wait until she has a deflation. This could be 20 or more years. I have personally seen patients who are 30 years out from saline implants (before I started my practice) who still have intact implants. I generally recommend that my patients with Silicone gel implants get an ultrasound at 9 years after their surgery-a silent rupture doesn’t cause any immediate problems- there may be some slow thickening of the capsule of scar tissue around the implant over the years, but if it is failed it is better to know before the warranty has expired at 10 years.
This case also illustrates the importance of choosing the proper sized implant. An overly large implant is heavier and may cause more stretching of the tissues with time.
Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Specialist
"I treat my patients like I would treat- Jonathan D. Hall, MD, FACS
members of my own family."