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Breast augmentation with implants is one of the most common aesthetic plastic surgery procedures and breast implants are the most frequently used method of breast reconstruction after the loss of a breast due to cancer. But despite their popularity and high patient satisfaction, not everyone understands that the implants are not a permanent device and that they may need to be replaced at some point.

Based on studies by the two U.S. breast implant manufacturers, the rate of broken or ruptured implants was:

BREAST AUGMENTATION – SALINE FILLED IMPLANTS

  • Mentor 3% at years
  • Allergan 5% at 3 years

BREAST AUGMENTATION – SILICONE GEL IMPLANTS

  • Mentor 1% at years
  • Allergan 9% at 7 years

BREAST RECONSTRUCTION – SALINE FILLED IMPLANTS

  • Mentor 9% at years
  • Allergan 6% at 3 years

BREAST RECONSTRUCTION – SILICONE GEL IMPLANTS

  • Mentor 1% at years
  • Allergan 11% at 7 years

These rates are much lower than what is being reported as the abnormally high rupture rate of the French made PIP (Poly Implant Prothese) silicone gel implants that are currently raising concerns in Europe. However, regardless of the type of implant used, women need to know that breast implants are likely to need long-term care. Breast implants do not last a lifetime, they will need replacing at some point in the future, perhaps 15, 20 or 25 years down the road. Fortunately, most implant replacement procedures have very little discomfort and in some cases, a portion of the replacement cost may be covered by the manufacturer.

  • Source: Mentor and Allergan
  • Copyright: Karol A. Gutowski, M.D., Chicago, IL, 2012
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