Breast augmentation can be a tremendous confidence booster and a great way to add symmetry to the figure. If you are thinking about having this procedure done, you are probably also wondering how long the results will last. At Nuance Cosmetic Surgery in Folsom, CA, Dr. Kenneth Sumida performs many breast enhancement surgeries every year and sees consistently positive, long-lasting results.
The Expected Lifespan of Breast Implants
The results achieved with breast augmentation are considered to be very long-lasting compared to many other cosmetic procedures. The implants themselves are safer and more resilient than ever before. However, breast implants are not meant to last forever. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons states that while implants are very safe, they are not rated as “lifetime devices.”
The implants used today are designed to last up to 20 years, however, some women choose to replace them sooner either to adjust the size or to change to a different type of implant. While it is likely that most women will eventually wish to have a follow-up procedure, especially if their first surgery took place when they were young, it is important to note that implants are considered to be very safe and durable devices that will last for many years.
How Durable are Implants?
Whether you opt for saline or silicone implants, these devices come with a thick, flexible outer shell that is highly resistant to normal wear. Vigorous exercise and occasional light impact (such as being hit by a ball, or a child jumping on your chest), should pose no danger to an FDA-approved breast implant.
Having said this, implants are not invincible. A more intense impact, such as that received in a car accident, could potentially cause a rupture. It is also true that the older the implant, the more likely it may be to tear. An implant that is more than 10 years old will certainly be more vulnerable to damage than one that is brand new.
What About Sagging?
A breast augmentation will of course create a full, lifted, and symmetrical appearance to the breasts. How long this appearance lasts can depend on a variety of factors, such as genetics, personal care habits, and lifestyle. A person who takes care of themself with diet and exercise can expect to see positive results that last longer. Wearing a supportive sports bra during exercise can also help the breasts maintain a youthful, lifted appearance.
However, even breasts that have been beautifully enhanced are not immune to the effects of age and gravity, which is why some women choose to eventually come back in for a follow-up procedure.
Saline vs Silicone
Saline and silicone implants should last an equally long time. Some patients ask for silicone implants because they believe them to have a more natural look and feel, while other patients prefer saline implants because, in the rare event of a leak, the saltwater solution they contain is harmlessly absorbed by the body.
Either type of implant will create a full, symmetrical appearance to the breasts that should last for many years. There is no one type of implant that is more or less likely to result in eventual sagging or asymmetry.
The Manufacturer’s Warranty
Some people think that implants are only good for 10 years because this is the length of some manufacturer warranties. All this means is that the manufacturer will not replace the implants free of charge after 10 years have passed – it certainly does not mean that the implants themselves are only expected to last this long. The reality is that there is no set time to replace implants, especially if you are still happy with the way your breasts look.
How to Extend the Results of a Breast Augmentation
If you are very happy with how your breasts look following an enhancement, you no doubt want to know how to keep them looking this way for as long as possible. Our number one recommendation is to avoid extreme weight gain and weight loss, which can cause the chest (and the rest of the body) to lose skin elasticity. There are also some other common-sense steps that can be taken to keep your breasts looking youthful, which we will examine below.
Smoking cigarettes is known to reduce the flow of blood and oxygen to the skin, and can also damage fragile collagen and elastin. This creates a chain reaction of negative effects that cause the skin to wrinkle and sag. There are of course many reasons to quit smoking, but if you wish to look your best, cigarettes have to go.
Be Careful About Sun Exposure
A woman’s décolletage is very prone to sun damage, so extending your sunscreen from your face all the way down to the top of your bathing suit or bra is a good idea. Covering up when in direct sunlight is an even better idea. The skin in this part of the body is thin and less resilient to the effects of UV damage.
Mind Your Diet
A healthy, nutrient-rich diet will not only help you avoid weight gain, but will also help to maintain your skin’s elasticity. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol is also key to having strong skin. As with any other cosmetic procedure, you will enjoy much longer-lasting results if your skin is in good shape.
Be Active but Always Wear a Good Bra
Maintaining a high level of physical activity is of course essential to your overall health and wellbeing, but it can also put some wear and tear on the breasts. Frequent bouncing up and down without proper support will not do your breasts any favors! Wearing a good bra every day, and a properly fitted sports bra when exercising, is a must.
Watch Your Posture
While bad posture will not harm your implants, it can contribute to a sagging appearance, especially as a person gets older. To maintain an attractive, lifted appearance in the chest area, pulling the shoulders back can make a huge difference.
How to Know if Implants Should be Replaced
While a good breast augmentation performed by a skilled plastic surgeon should look great for many years, most women will eventually get to a point where they wish to have a revision performed. Follow-up surgeries are never as involved as the initial procedure and normally have a quicker recovery time, but choosing to have surgery is still a big decision. Below we will look at some of the reasons why a patient might wish to replace their breast implants.
Hardening or Rupture
Of course, if there is any change in one or both implants, you will want to see your plastic surgeon right away to have them removed. While complications are not common, they should not be ignored and can always be remedied by a follow-up procedure.
If your implants have been in place for quite some time, and you are no longer happy with how they look, you might wish to consider having another procedure. New implants combined with a breast lift can restore your breasts to how they looked when you were much younger – perhaps even better!
Increasing or Decreasing Size
Perhaps you were happy with the size of your implants when they were new, but over time you realized that you should have gone a bit bigger, or a bit smaller. If you are thinking of making a change, this can be discussed with your plastic surgeon.
Changing Implant Types
Some patients start with round implants, and later decide that they want teardrop-shaped ones. In some cases, they wish to switch to newer model implants that were not available when they first had their procedure done (for example, the new “gummy bear” implants are becoming quite popular). In other cases, a patient feels that saline implants might be safer than the silicone ones they currently have in place.
Whatever a patient’s reason might be, scheduling a consultation to review one’s options is always a good idea. If you are no longer completely happy with how your implants look but are on the fence about making a change, your doctor can provide some clarity on what your next steps could be.
Working With the Best Plastic Surgeon in Folsom, CA
If you are thinking about having a breast augmentation, or have already had breast implants for years but wish to schedule a follow-up procedure, contact us today at Nuance Cosmetic Surgery. Dr. Kenneth Sumida and our team will ensure you have the best care and the longest-lasting results possible.