There is no arguing the fact that in the cosmetic industry, as technology advances, patients are benefiting with increased and safer options. Many women who have had breast augmentation 10 to 30 years ago are curious as to whether or not they should take advantage of these new technologies or do they leave well enough alone?
Recently seen on The Doctors, a former patient of Dr. Drew Ordon is turning 40 and she visited the show to discuss her aging breast implants and whether or not she should do something about them. A common concern amongst women of that age who have had breast implants, these women may have not had any complications, no ruptures or leaks but are simply concerned: Are the implants getting old? Do they need to be replaced?
According to Dr. Ordon, breast implants may last forever but some manufacturers recommend swapping them out every 10-15 years. Patients who are concerned about replacing their breast implants should talk to their physicians, during which time, a history of whether or not there has been a change in shape or feel of the breast and the patient may have to undergo a series of tests, which may include a mammogram or an MRI.
Silicone implants that were being used 20+ years were much different from the silicone implants of present day. Silicone implants of the past were made with a more liquid form of silicone that was encapsulated in a thinner outer shell, which increased the risk of rupture and leakage. Today's silicone breast implant is made of a cohesive gel, which is thicker silicone; in case of rupture, the silicone is less apt to leak anywhere else. It is also housed in a thicker shell to lower the risk of puncture.
Women who have older silicone breast implants that are not experiencing any complications have several options:
- Leave Well Enough Alone - As seen on the The Doctors, after the tests, Dr. Drew Ordon's previous patient's breast implants were determined to be in the same place and status as they were 20 years ago, with no ruptures. Since there haven't been any complications so far, Dr. Ordon's first suggestion is leave the breast implants as they are.
- Implant Replacement - With a variety of implants available, such as saline or the newer silicone implants, women can opt to swap out their older implants for newer technology. A different size can be chosen, either smaller or larger.
- Implant Removal + Breast Lift - After removing the breast implants, due to loss of volume, breasts will droop or sag. After the implants are removed, the physician can perform a Breast Lift - using the patient's own breast tissue, breasts can be augmented vertically to remove any signs of droopiness.
However, if there has been a change in the feel of the breast implant, there is a chance of Capsule Contracture. Denver board certified breast augmentation provider Dr. Gregory Buford says, "During Capsule Contracture, the capsule formed around the implant can tighten and actually shrink down to distort the implant which results in what is often a superior elevation of the implant and what you feel a very firm breast."
The scar tissue around the breast implant actually causes the implant to distort and the breast to feel hard. To correct this, Dr. Buford recommends removal of the previous implant and completely replacing it with a brand new implant.
If you are a patient with breast implants and are considering implant replacement, it is very important to tell your physician all your concerns and any changes you've experienced with your implants.