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Breast Implants Not Lifetime Cause Illness Know the Risk

woman's orange painted nails holding her breast jan-kopriva-aQCClWOS9dY-unsplash breast implants not lifelong

Last updated 03/06/2023

Augmenting the breast was the top cosmetic procedure in 2019 usually among women ages 35-50. The United States was the top country for augmentation surgery. Breast implants not lifetime.

It is a huge decision to make to receive breast implants. You want to enhance your looks, but this can be costly. Further, take into consideration the dangers and the lifetime of the breast implants.

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The Implant Truth Survivors Committee

The National Breast Implant Awareness Month was founded in March of 2018 by the Implant Truth Survivors Committee. They are making a positive impact on women’s lives. Most importantly, assistance is provided with choosing informed decisions about breast implants.

There is also education on the possibility of illness connected with the breast implants. Resources are available that aren’t obtained anywhere else. Furthermore, the committee covers the contents of the breast implants and how they affect you physically and mentally. The committee can also assist you in locating a surgeon for an explant procedure.

What are Breast Implants?

A breast implant is a medical prosthesis (artificial device) placed inside the breast to alter size, shape and contour. The breast implant is put in a pocket under the chest muscles or breast tissue.

Breast implants are placed during certain surgeries:

  • Increasing your breast size (augmentation)
  • To reconstruct after a breast surgery (mastectomy) or injury
  • Correcting defects or deformities (Breast reconstruction surgery)

2 Basic Types

Saline and silicone implants come in different sizes. Breast implants can be either smooth or textured shells (surface).

Saline Breast Implants

Saline-filled (salt water) have silicone shells. They can either be pre-filled or filled during the implant operation. The amounts of saline solution can differ between implants. To sum up, this affects their shape, firmness and feel.

The FDA has approved them to be used for augmentation in women 18 or older. In the case of a saline implant leaking, they will collapse. And this solution is naturally absorbed and expelled through the body.

Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone gel-filled (gel silicone) have silicone shells. Reports are these feel more like normal breast tissue. But silicone implants pose more risk should they leak.

The FDA has approved silicone breast implants for augmentation in women 22 or older. In the case of a silicone gel implant leaking, either the gel will stay in the shell or leak into the breast pocket. Furthermore, the leaking implant will not collapse.

Regular checks should be done with the doctor for those choosing this type of implant versus saline implants. MRI and ultrasound scans are used to check the condition of the implant.

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Injectable Silicone

There is a difference between silicone breast implants versus injectable silicone. The injectable silicone is a type of liquid polymer of Dimethylsiloxane commonly used oil. Thus, this type of industrial-grade silicone is normally acquired in lubricants and caulking materials.

Injectable silicone is not FDA approved for use in breast augmentation, breast reconstruction or use in body contouring.

Silicone injections can cause:

  • Chronic pain
  • Infections
  • Scarring
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Blood clots
  • Stroke

What Should you Know?

Information from the FDA can assist with your decision about breast implants. There is approval for women to get implants for certain situations. For example, to increase the breast size, reconstructing the breast after cancer surgery or trauma and to fix developmental defects. Likewise, the FDA has given approval to use the device to fix or improve the results of earlier surgery.

Caring for Your Breast Implants

Proper care of breast implants could extend the longevity. For example, you were to wear the support garment or surgical bra that your plastic surgeon advised after the augmentation. Without the guidelines, the lack of support can cause sagging breast over time.

In addition, keep your annual checkups and do your regular self-check. The FDA recommends that silicone implants get an MRI three years after the initial surgery. After that, it should be done every two years.

When you do these steps, you will have more time before requiring breast implant replacement.

Breast Implants Not Lifetime Know the Risk

Today breast implants on the average are designed to last over a decade. However, the chance of a rupture increases by 1% each year you have them. So, the older they get the more your risk of rupture or occurring additional complications.

It is difficult to predict the life span of the breast implant from person to person. Every patient is different and how long yours will last depends on your body and how you care for them. That means eventually everyone with breast implants will need more surgeries.

These risks still remain:

  • More surgeries
  • Breast implant associated-anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) a disease of the immune symptom
  • Capsular contracture (scar tissue squeezing the implant)
  • Breast pain
  • Infections
  • Rupture (tear or hole in the shell) of saline and silicone gel filled implants
  • Deflation (difference in breast size) with saline filled implants
  • Silent (no symptoms) rupture of silicone gel filled implants

Know your Long-Term Risks with Breast Implants

The FDA identifies a connection between breast implants and the occurrence of breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Further, this is a kind of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

If you have breast implants, you may increase your risk of developing this cancer. As a result, it occurs in the fluid or scar tissue around the implant.

Breast implants have textured surfaces (shell) or smooth. BIA-ALCL is usually seen more often in those with textured implants versus smooth-surfaced implants. BIA-ALCL similar to other lymphomas is a cancer affecting the immune system and not actual breast tissue.

What is Explant Surgery?

Breast implant removal or explant is a surgical procedure. The breast implant (silicone or saline) is being taken out of the breast pockets the surgeon created to place them.

Candidates for Explant surgery:

  • Not happy with the current look of the breasts
  • Complications like Capsular Contracture (scar tissue around the implant), Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), and other infections
  • Implant shifts
  • There is a rupture/deflation and wrinkling
  • Been diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Calcium deposits have developed in the breast
  • Muscle-flex deformity
  • Jumping breast implants
  • Illness related to the breast implant

You could experience brain fog, lethargy, pain, rashes, and hair loss as well.

This is a costly procedure, and your health insurance may not cover it. There are final cost and other miscellaneous medical expenses. And prices can change depending on the complexity and length of your surgery.

Breast Explant Procedures

Scar tissue naturally forms around your breast implant after your procedure. So, it is normal and expected for every patient to have this capsule around the breast implants. But, if you experience a complication the plastic surgeon could recommend a capsulectomy, to remove them.


This surgical procedure is performed to alter the scar capsule. A portion of the capsule is taken around the implant to provide space for the implant. In other words, this is not the best surgery used for breast explant.

Total Capsulectomy

Total capsulectomy is a surgical procedure for breast explant that involves removing the complete capsule. This includes the scar tissue surrounding the implant. Further, your surgeon could take out the breast implant before the capsule.

Subtotal Capsulectomy

A subtotal capsulectomy removes just the area of the capsule that is thickened or hard. After that scar tissue is taken out, your breast implant could be replaced.

En Bloc Capsulectomy

This breast explant procedure removes the entire capsule. That is to say, the breast implant is taken out as one piece. Therefore, the capsule including scar tissue should not be punctured during the procedure.

After the explant surgery, patient’s benefits are:

  • Feeling of normalcy regarding the breast
  • Natural softness to the breasts returns
  • Can sleep in a prone position again
  • Exercising without pain and discomfort
  • Wearing smaller and more comfortable bras
black and white photo of woman's hands crossed over her bare breast ivan-stern-k_lzqO_Yl4Y-unsplash breast implants not lifelong

Explant Aftercare

The majority of women feel symptoms subside after the implant is removed. There is usually an experience of general wellness during post-operative healing phase.

You are instructed to avoid strenuous upper body movement for about three weeks because of the muscle repair and swelling. A post-operative Ace wrap is put on you and removed the next morning. Likewise, a post-surgical bra is provided for you to wear home for compression.

Most importantly, drains are taken out once your output is less than 30ccs over a 24-hour period. Typically, this is about one week after surgery.

In addition, to encourage the healing process with lower risks for complications other aftercare instructions are:

  • Not doing any strenuous movements that increase pulse and blood pressure
  • Limiting the use of the chest and arms for at least 2 – 6 weeks
  • Getting plenty of sleep and rest to avoid experiencing fatigue and soreness
  • Taking time off of work to recover
  • Drinking the medications prescribed for pain and nausea

If your chest and breasts are still swollen and sore past two weeks consult with your explant surgeon.

Wrapping it up

Above all, it is important to stay in contact with your surgeons to monitor your breast implants. This is often not discussed. Breast implants are not meant to be for your lifetime. In conclusion, consider the time and cost to remove or replace.


Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.

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