There are many myths floating around the internet about silicone breast implants. One of the top ones is that women think that their breast implants need to be changed routinely or they go bad – every 10 years in fact. This is not the case – really, implants only need to be removed and replaced if there is a problem. In most cases, the problem involves implant leaks or scar tissue forming around the implant, known as “capsular contracture”. This scar tissue makes the breast feel firm, distorted, or uncomfortable. In the surgery, the scar tissue, or capsule, will be removed.
Leaks are another reason to replace implants. If a woman has saline implants, it will be obvious if there is a leak. The implant slowly deflates as the saline solution leaks out. If a woman has silicone implants, she may not detect a leak since the gel is highly cohesive – meaning that is sticks to itself and doesn’t run loose like liquid. This is why the FDA recommends screening for silicone leaks 3 years after implant placement and then every 2 years. Sometimes there are symptoms such as hard lumps, distortion of the breast or implant, swelling, burning, or hardening of the breast. If that happens, the implant should be removed.
That being said – silicone implants are very strong and can sustain a lot of pressure. They do not explode on airplanes (another myth) and you can lie on them. This fun video we recently filmed demonstrates the durability of silicone implants.