Summary: No matter how long you’ve had them, you might at some point wonder if you should keep your breast implants. There are plenty of reasons to change them out or to get rid of them. That’s done in a procedure called a breast augmentation revision. Some wonder what the reasons are one might decide to go back to a natural look—or to change the size of the implants in question.
How Long Should You Keep Your Breast Implants?
In the years after your breast augmentation, you might occasionally think to yourself: should you keep your breast implants? Indeed, these questions–about how long, precisely, you should keep your implants for and what a revision procedure might entail—often come up during a breast augmentation consultation.
Unfortunately, the answers are difficult to predict. The shelf life for silicone implants generally runs for roughly fifteen years. Of course, most shelf life estimates are recommendations, meaning the actual implant may last significantly longer. This makes the decision to replace or remove the implants a little more subjective.
And that subjectivity can be a blessing and a curse. It’s great because the patient can expect flexibility. But it’s stressful because it means the patient needs to make yet another decision: should you keep your breast implants or remove them?
A Celebrity Case Study
Chantel Jeffries, the Instagram star and model, has recently decided to “undo” her breast augmentation procedure. As Jeffries describes the process, it becomes clear that the results were not ideal. (Additionally it seemed that communication between Jeffires and her surgeon was likewise not ideal.) It’s worth noting that Jeffries’s body went through some changes post-surgery that may have helped make her results less than idea.
In any case, Jeffries decided to remove her implants and then opted to undergo a breast reduction and breast lift. That’s not entirely uncommon. Women that remove implants often desire a breast lift and breast augmentation. There are two major reasons why:
- Breast implants mean more mass. That’s the whole point. Your body might develop some extra skin in order to accommodate that new mass. But when the mass is removed, the excess skin remains unless a breast lift and reduction are performed.
- Breast implants can also change the natural orientation of your breasts. Likely, the orientation of your breasts will look great when the implants are in, but will need some adjustment once the implants are removed.
These procedures can usually be performed at the same time as the breast implant revision, which is nice for patients.
Other Options For a Breast Implant Revision
It’s also possible, of course, to simply change out your breast implants. This isn’t quite as uncommon as you might think, and there are plenty of reasons why patients might consider such a swap.
Changing Aesthetic Tastes
In many cases, the aesthetic tastes of a patient change with age. What looked good on you when you’re 20 might not represent how you want to be seen when you’re 40. In those cases, some patients will elect to move to a smaller (or, less often, a larger) implant size.
Change in Type
As the “shelf life” of your implant draws to a close, you may be tempted to change the type of implant you currently have. This most often happens with patients who are changing from an out-of-date option to something more current, such as a “gummy bear” implant. Modern implants have a significant number of advantages—including a more natural look and feel.
Problems With Implants
Occasionally—and it is relatively rare—something can happen with an implant that requires a change. For example, if an implant ruptures (especially a saline implant), then a patient would want to have a replacement inserted as quickly as possible in order to maintain the look they desire. In most cases, any problem with specific implants are mitigated by removing and, when appropriate, replacing the implant.
Patients with Decisions
As always, this leaves many of the decisions up to the patient. In her own struggle to determine what’s best for her body, Jeffries makes a solid and important point: you know your body better than anyone. After all, that’s why these decisions, ultimately, fall to you.
Plastic surgery is not universal in its application. A breast augmentation in Maine is going to be different form a breast augmentation in Houston, if only because of the change in weather. And that’s not even getting into the changes between individual bodies.
That’s why patients need to advocate for themselves. That’s true in almost all medical settings, of course. In the case of plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures, it means that you’re going to tend to get the best results when you do a significant amount of research—when you know as well as your surgeon what is best for your body. And when your goals are as crystal clear as possible.
When it comes to your body, only you can know if you should keep your breast implants or if you should replace them. The answer will depend on your own individual needs.