Duration and safety of breast prostheses

What is the duration of a breast implant?

Patients often ask us if breast implants are for life, if they can rupture and, ultimately, how long they last. The silicone gel breast implant is a medical device that over time may lose its optimal properties and need to be replaced for the patient’s sake. Its duration will depend on the quality of the implant or on the characteristics of the woman and external factors. As for the quality of the implant, it depends on the number of layers and degree of cohesiveness of the gel. High cohesive silicone gel is more compact and does not deform. Likewise, these implants are manufactured with multiple layers of external cover, which reduce the risk of deterioration of the prosthesis and leakage of this gel. Intrinsic factors of the patient, such as the inflammatory response of the organism to a foreign body, and her lifestyle, make the implant last more or less, as well as external factors, surgical instrumentation, mammography, manipulations, accidents… that can also have a negative influence.

What does it mean that the implants are guaranteed?

The manufacturers of breast implants offer rupture guarantee, some of them for life. But lifetime warranty does not mean that the implants will not rupture. It only means that the manufacturer agrees to replace the ruptured implants with the same or similar implants. Every patient who undergoes a breast augmentation should know exactly what type of warranty and its coverage, which is different according to the commercial houses.

When to change the breast prosthesis?

When to change an implant? When the patient presents repeated capsular contractures, that is, a problem that usually appears when the body exaggerates the scarring around the implant. When we see intra or extra capsular ruptures, in which we have to remove the capsule apart from removing the ruptured implant and replacing it with a new one. Or many times we have to change these implants when there have been important morphological changes in the woman, i.e. exaggerated weight changes, pregnancies, other types of interventions, etcetera.

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What is the cohesiveness of the silicone gel?

At the cohesive gel level, we have two types of silicone gel. A liquid gel, which in case of rupture would migrate through the organism and in this case, as it is a breast implant, it would go to the armpit. And the gel that we put now, which is a high cohesive gel, this gel maintains the shape of the implant, it does not migrate. In the case of a rupture of the membrane, this gel would not escape and would maintain its concentration inside the pocket of the implant. If we observe this cohesive gel implant, and we puncture it, we observe that a little bit of gel can come out, but when we release it, it returns to its natural position, the gel does not migrate. The gel maintains its position. With pressure we can observe that with a lot of pressure something comes out, but when it returns to its natural position the gel recovers its shape. In the same way, if we break this prosthesis with this scalpel, we can see the high cohesiveness of this gel. This gel is a silicone elastomer that with force we deform it but when it returns to its natural position it recovers its true shape. This is the security of the breast implant. This is what ensures that in case of rupture of this cover, the gel does not migrate. Finally, choosing a good professional should also be among the factors that influence the duration of the breast prosthesis. A good qualified plastic surgeon guarantees the use of breast implants of the highest possible quality, as well as their correct handling and follow-up.