Breast Implant Replacement

Information Regarding the Replacement or Removal of Silicone or Saline Implants

There are many reasons for women to consider exchanging their current breast implants. It could simply be that a woman desires a change in size, but often the need or want for the exchange is in an effort to avoid problems with aging implants.

Breast implants can last a relatively long time, but not forever. Many women who had implants placed years ago were given the impression that they would never have to exchange them, but that notion has proven dangerous and false. It is often better to be proactive in exchanging implants to avoid implant failure (this occurs on an annual basis in roughly 1-2% cases). Women should consider having their implants exchanged every 10-15 years as complications increase as the implants age. These complications include leakage, capsular contracture (hardening of the breast) and other concerns.

Of the complications, leakage is of highest concern – especially with older silicone implants. With silicone leaks from older implants, the silicone gel is oilier and will leak through the shell of the implant and into the tissues – making it hard to get out and sometimes causing deformity of the tissue and breast(s). For this reason, Dr. Bridgett Moore at Azalea Plastic Surgery urges anyone with the older silicone implants to have the implants exchanged sooner rather than later. Being proactive means an easier replacement and fewer health complications due to leaking over a period of time or other issues.

With saline implants, leaks are more obvious because the breast deflates and the body absorbs the saline. The implant will obviously need to be replaced at the point, but the health risks and complications are minimal as compared to older silicone implants. However, even with saline implants, there have been some concerns about bacteria or infection associated with leaking or deflated implants. It is important to know the saline implants will eventually leak or rupture; people who have had implants for 10 years or more may want to be proactive and schedule an exchange or at least a consultation.

Newer silicone implants offer different options that address the issues of silicone leaking into the system: cohesive gel silicone implants and form-stable gummy bear implants. Both types of these implants have a solid silicone shell and a soft silicone interior – and, when the new implants fail, it is usually from a tear, and the silicone stays together and keeps its shape. While both cohesive gel implants and gummy bear implants are made from medical grade silicone, the most significant difference is the consistency or viscosity of the interior “filling.”

The consistency of cohesive gel implants is in between a liquid and a solid; it does not flow like water and won’t squirt or run freely even if the outer shell is punctured. These implants are, however, much easier to remove if a rupture should occur, than earlier types of silicone implants.

The interior of the gummy bear implants is, as one might assume, similar to the well-known candy it is named after. It is a soft solid; it can be compressed but returns back to its shape. In tests, when these implants are cut in half, the halves retain their intended dome shape. This type of implants offers a significant advantage due to the lack of any leaking.

Dr. Bridgett Moore and the team at Azalea Plastic Surgery hopes this information is helpful if you have implants. We love working with patients to help them achieve the breast shape and size they feel good about or to work with patients who need breast reconstruction surgery. However, we area also concerned about your health and long-term well-being. We do think it is best to be proactive in changing your implants to avoid significant complications so that your surgery will be easier on you and you will be happy with the outcome.

Interested in learning more or scheduling a consultation? Just fill out the form on the Contact Us page and a staff person at Azalea Plastic Surgery will call you; or, give us a ring at 229.259.0019. Our home office, located in Valdosta, Georgia, offers plastic surgery appointments with Dr. Moore, medical aesthetic services and has our onsite outpatient surgery center. Azalea Plastic Surgery and Medical Aesthetics also has an office in Tifton, Georgia for plastic surgery consultations and follow up appointments as well as medical aesthetics treatments and procedures.