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Summary: The type of implant you select for your breast augmentation has a lot to do with the longevity of your procedure. That said, silicone implants were not available for a long period of time, so many women with saline implants wonder if they should elect to undergo a breast augmentation revision surgery to swap out implants—saline for the more robust, longer lasting silicone. In the end, it depends on many factors.

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Switching the Implants

Breast implants have come a long way in the past decade or so. Since being re-approved by the FDA in 2006, silicone breast implants have become the standard bearer plastic surgery, used across the nation in Los Angeles to New Jersey breast augmentation procedures alike. But there are plenty of women who have had breast augmentation before 2006, have saline implants, and are perfectly happy with the performance of those implants… for now. Many women wonder whether a breast augmentation revision is the right way to go preemptively—before there’s a problem.

Silicone v. Saline

It might be useful to briefly compare saline and silicone breast implants. During the early 1990s, a scare involving the relationship between breast cancer and silicone (which the FDA later found no evidence in support of) caused silicone breast implants to be removed from the market place. Saline became the next best option, mostly because saline is essentially salt water. If the implant ruptured, there would be no ill effects of the saline leaking into the body.

But saline has, over time, proven less durable and robust than silicone. Modern silicone implants have the consistency of gummy bears, which means that even if the case around the implant ruptures, the silicone itself isn’t going anywhere. This makes them an excellent option over the long term, and the FDA projects most of these implants to last 15-30 years. So your desire for a revision might depend on how close to the end of its lifespan your saline implant is, and how many years you want to get out of your new implant.

The Procedure

In many cases, breast augmentation revision procedures can use the original scars as the incision point. This means that you will not have to endure any further scarring. Additionally, your body may recover more quickly, as the muscle pocket into which the breast implant grows has already been established—it doesn’t have to stretch out that tissue (this assumes that you’re sticking with the same size).

Worth it? Up to You

In the end, whether this procedure is worth it is up to you. You should weigh the risks and benefits up against the peace of mind that comes with new silicone implants. And you should also talk to your plastic surgeon, as he or she will have a better idea of your history and how imperative it might be that you revise your implant. A great deal of the decision also depends on how satisfied you are with your breast augmentation. In many cases, if implants aren’t causing problems, they’re safe to leave in.

If you’ve got any questions about your implant, and about the stress and benefits of a breast augmentation revision, talk to your plastic surgeon right away.

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