Breast Implants

Management of Silicone Breast Implants

Breast Implants2022-10-24T22:41:46+00:00

Management of Silicone Breast Implants

Formed silicone breast implants have been in vogue for the past 60 years, however,  the past few years have seen a plethora of concerns in social and print media regarding the safety of breast implants to include implant life span, “ breast implant illness” and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, a tumor commonly associated with textured breast implants.

Reasons Breast Implant Patients Often Call Us

Patients are commonly referred for plastic surgery consultation after an initial visit with their primary care provider  with a concern about a “hard implant” or an imaging study suggesting rupture of an implant.  However it is not necessary to visit an intermediary physician for breast implant problems and I recommend that patients come to see me if they have any issues that might be related to the breast implant.

Breast Implant Rupture

Breast Implants Last About 20 Years

Breast implants of the past two decades appear to have a life span of about 20 years. The implant which we use most commonly is Sientra(c) with a warranty of twenty years. This implant has demonstrated a robust silicone shell which has lasted up to twenty years in many cases. But at some point breast implants should be evaluated for continued life span and then implants can either be left in place, possibly removed and replaced with new implants or be removed without replacement.  Evaluation is by physical exam, and/or using Ultrasound, Mammography or MRI for imaging studies.

When an Examination is Necessary

We would recommend evaluation of breast implants every few years at least by clinical exam, however if a patient notes swelling, firmness or painful hard breast (implants) earlier evaluation is important.

Breast Exam

Breast Implants Issues with Older Patients

In many of our patients in the 6th or 7th decade we will initiate a discussion about the patient concerns and management of the implants, of key importance is whether the patient feels there is continued need for the implants.

  • Removal of an implant is a very logical decision which can obviate future concerns.

  • If there is a rupture or the implants are extremely firm, we usually recommend removal and a period of time to allow for resolution of the inflammation from surgery and possible reaction by the body to implant material.

Saline Filled Implants

Although I have focused on silicone gel filled implants, saline filled implants are also an issue with either deflation or hardening.  Implant removal is similar, and in either case , silicone gel or saline implants, the incisions utilized are usually the old surgical scar from the original wound.

Senior Breast Implant

Downside of Implant Removal

The downside of breast implant removal is the cosmetic appearance.  Frequently there is droop to the breast or significant loss of fullness.  Once swelling and scarring have abated either a lift ( if not performed at the setting of removal) or fat grafting are options to create fullness. Often times the result despite removal is a pleasant appearing mature breast form. We tailor decisions regarding surgery to each patient.

Additional Articles

Breast Implant Illness

Breast Implant Illness (BII) or symptoms that are ascribed to be due to Silicone or Saline breast implants are commonly discussed the in Social Media and  Plastic Surgery articles .  But for myself after a literature review and personal experience, the question arises:  Does Breast Implant Illness truly exist? To the sufferers of the “Illness” the symptoms are real. But is there physical evidence of a somatic disease, or are the symptoms parcel of psychological issues that plague society? Our Experience with Breast Implant Illness My own experience with BII is small despite almost 40 years of implanting and explanting [...]


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Prescott Medical and Dermatology Group
804 Ainsworth Drive, Suite 105, Prescott, AZ 86301

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