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Expectations for Breast Implant Rupture or Deflation

Though breast implants, particularly silicone breast implants, can be very durable they should not necessarily be expected to last “forever”. That is, given a long enough period of time, they will need to either be replaced or removed.

How long can one’s breast implants be expected to last?

That is a good question that does not have a specific answer.


Because there are several factors that can play a role in affecting the life span of a breast implant and, of course, that will vary from patient to patient.

Some of the factors that can affect the durability of breast implants are:

1. Whether the implants are filled with silicone or saline. On average, silicone breast implants last substantially longer compared to the saline ones.
2. Thickness of the implant shell
3. Whether or not the shell is smooth or textured
4. Manufacturer of the breast implant
5. Manufacturing quality for that particular implant
6. Generation of the implant (earlier versus later) – not only affected by shell thickness (see #2) but also the technological advancements
7. For silicone breast implants – the cohesiveness and firmness of the gel
8. History of significant trauma
9. Whether capsular contracture was present and the doctor tried to tear the scar tissue by squeezing the implant
10. Forces that the implant was subjected to at the time of surgical insertion

Even with all of these factors, it is extremely common for me to see an individual whose two implants in surgery appear completely different in terms of their visual or wear age.

So what do I tell my patients contemplating breast implants?

I let them know that implants should not be expected to last forever. They are given a range extending from less than one year to 30 or more years with the silicone ones generally lasting longer than the saline ones. Their durability probably follows a bell curve distribution.

The following 32 year old patient, who had smooth surfaced saline breast implants placed eleven years previously, experienced an acute spontaneous (no history of trauma) deflation of her left breast implant two weeks previously (photos A, C and E). She underwent bilateral implant exchange, replacing both of her saline implants with larger smooth surfaced silicone breast implants (photos B, D and F). The procedure was quick, straightforward and resulted in no significant discomfort or need for pain medication.

A. Deflation of left breast saline implant

A. Deflation of left breast saline implant

B. After replacement with silicone breast implant

B. After replacement with silicone breast implant

C. Oblique view after deflation

C. before- oblique view after deflation

D. postoperative - oblique view

D. postoperative – oblique view

E. before - oblique view

E. before – oblique view after deflation

F. postoperative - oblique view

F. postoperative – oblique view

For more information on deflated or ruptured breast implants, breast revision surgery or for any plastic surgery procedure that I perform, or to schedule your consultation, please call my office at 480-451-3000.

Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona