Replacing Breast Implants: A Few Things to Think About

Replacing your breast implants someday may not be the first thing on your mind when you see us for breast augmentation here in Louisville, Kentucky, but it does give many prospective patients some pause. It’s certainly a valid discussion topic: While breast implants are designed to last longer than ever, they are still not meant to last a lifetime.

Let’s take a closer look at why patients do eventually decide to exchange them.


You might have heard of a 10- or 15-year “expiration date” for breast implants. This used to be previously a pretty accurate rule of thumb, but today’s implants can go much longer without losing their shape or structurally weakening.

There’s no rule that says you must exchange your implants on a given date. We recommend that women think about it in terms of whether they are still satisfied with the results. If the answer is yes after 10 or 15 years, then there’s no reason to exchange them.


A torn, ruptured, or leaking implant is rare, but when it happens, it is immediate cause for replacement. Thanks to their liquid fill material, damage to a saline implant is almost immediately apparent, as it loses its shape quickly. On the other hand, silicone implants — especially today’s cohesive silicone gel implants — are better at concealing damage because they’ve been designed to keep their shape. Imaging such as an MRI or mammogram can help you determine if your silicone implants are damaged.

It’s important to note that, even if an implant does rupture, there is no major health risk whatsoever to your body (barring an extremely rare allergic reaction to silicone). Saline is a salt water solution that the body readily absorbs; silicone gel will remain in place without being absorbed.

A Change of Heart

Sometimes, the reason to get a new pair of implants is simply because a patient’s tastes have changed. Some women want to increase or decrease the size of their implants; others wish to switch out older implants for more advanced models, such as textured or anatomically-shaped implants.

Again, even the most advanced breast implants on the market aren’t meant to last a lifetime. Depending on how old you are when you have your primary breast augmentation, it’s quite likely that you’ll need to exchange your implants eventually.

Nonethless, by going into your breast augmentation with both your short- and long-term goals in mind, you can get a great result that you’ll enjoy for years — even decades — to come.

About Dr. Bradley Calobrace

M. Bradley Calobrace, MD, FACS is a board-certified, Los Angeles-trained plastic surgeon who established Calobrace Plastic Surgery Center in an effort to bring the latest technology and techniques in plastic surgery to the Louisville area. He has established himself as a leader in cosmetic surgery and received recognition in Louisville Magazine as one of Louisville's "Top Docs" and "Best of Louisville." Dr. Calobrace is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Kentucky Society of Plastic Surgeons, and American College of Surgeons. View all posts by Dr. Bradley Calobrace

2 Responses to Replacing Breast Implants: A Few Things to Think About

  • Lesley France says:

    I had implants July 1999 and today June 2017 I am stilll overly happy with mine. Dr Calobrace did mine as well as my sisters and we are both still pleased after 18 years !!!! Thanks Dr Calobrace

    • Jacqueline Grimm says:

      We are so happy to hear that you love your results as much today as you did back in 1999. Thank you for sharing 🙂

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