Breast Implants – The Reality

The reality of breast implants

Most women are thrilled with their new look after having breast implants. But some can end up disappointed down the track if they don’t realise that implants may not last forever and may need to be replaced, says cosmetic plastic surgeon Dr Darryl Hodgkinson.

‘There is potential for all implants to fail and it comes as a shock to some patients,’ Dr Hodgkinson says. Also, many women don’t realise how their breasts and the implants will change as they age.

The key to avoiding disappointment is understanding before you have the surgery that having breast implants is a lifelong commitment and ongoing maintenance will be required.

‘Some studies say 12 per cent of silicone and saline implants will fail within 10 years,’ Dr Hodgkinson says. ‘But you can also outlive your implants. However, usually within 10 to 20 years after their implantation, the ageing process can affect how they look. Breast tissue heads south, the nipples point down and the patient is not happy with how the implants look.’ Once women pass menopause and their breast tissue begins to turn to fat the implants may not fit as well either.

The solution for most people is to replace the implants at some point and possibly have surgery to lift the breasts.

‘You need to be prepared to update again later in life,’ Dr Hodgkinson says. ‘Once you submit to an implant you need to realise it’s a commitment that will continue for the rest of your life.’

The best way to monitor the quality of breast implants and the ageing process is with regular check-ups with your surgeon.

‘You need to be prepared to do this maintenance,’ Dr Hodgkinson says. ‘I recommend a yearly check-up to see their progress, and this gives you the security that any changes are normal.’