Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibilityHow Long Do Breast Implants Last?

How Long Do Breast Implants Last? The Main Factors You Should Consider in 2024


    Getting breast implants is a major decision that requires careful thought and planning.

    One of the most common questions we get at Burbank Plastic Surgery is, “How long do breast implants last?” Truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer — their lifespan depends on several factors. But with proper care, implants can last upward of 20 years [1].

    Let’s explore the main factors affecting how long breast implants last. Then, we’ll go over tips for keeping them in top shape for as long as possible.

    Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Breast Implants

    Before you undergo breast augmentation with implants, you should understand how these factors impact longevity:

    Type of Implant Material

    Breast implant shells are all made of hard silicone. The filler material inside contains either saline(salt water) or silicone.. If a saline implant ruptures it is obvious because the implant deflates slowly over days or very quickly.  Implants filled with silicone gel may rupture but maintain their size because the silicone stays within the capsule.As a result silicone implants should be imaged periodically to make sure they are not rupturing/leaking. As technology advances the newer style implants continue to improve and have better longevity.Surgical 


    Surgical technique plays an immense role in breast implant safety and longevity. That’s why it’s imperative to trust an experienced plastic surgeon for the procedure. They will use meticulous methods to place and position implants to as best possible avoid potential complications later. Capsular contraction can occur where the body reacts to the implant by creating a glove/capsule around the implant. This “living” glove can shrink or tighten around the implant causing it to become hard and move the implant on the chest wall. A capsular contraction will cause the implant to fold on itself creating a crease that over time will crack and the implant will leak.

    Lifestyle Factors

    Pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations and time all influence the appearance of  breasts/breast implants.   . 

    Aging and Natural Changes in the Body

    As you age, it’s normal for breast tissue to thin out, lose elasticity and sag. Even perfectly placed implants can shift, wrinkle or become more visible over decades as the structure of your breast changes. Breasts continue to change over time. Changes occur faster with weight changes, and pregnancy. Things like menopause, sun exposure, gravity, and hereditary factors influence breast appearance over time [4].

    Average Lifespan of Different Types of Breast Implants

    The average lifespan of breast implants depends on the specific implant type. But generally, they last an average of 10 years (it could be more or less). It’s best to follow up with your surgeon periodically and have them examined.

    Here’s what you should know about each implant type and what can happen over time:

    Saline Implants

    Saline breast implants have a silicone  shell filled with sterile saline (salt water) solution. If the shell ruptures, your surrounding breast tissue can harmlessly absorb the saltwater filler [5].

    Over time, the silicone envelope can weaken, fold, wrinkle, or rupture. Saline implants also have a higher risk of visible rippling or wrinkling issues as they age [6]. While affordable initially, saline implants often require earlier replacement surgery compared to other options.

    Silicone Implants

    Silicone breast implants typically last longer than saline implants. Instead of saltwater, they have a thicker, viscous silicone gel as the filler material inside the silicone shell.

    Cohesive gel implants are less likely to leak out in the event of a rupture. They also provide a more natural feel and shape retention over time as breast tissue thins with aging [7]. But issues like shell rupture, capsular contracture, and implant displacement can still happen over decades.

    Cohesive Gel aka Gummy Bear Implants

    The latest generation of silicone implants is the “gummy bear/cohesive gel” — named for their thick, cohesive gel filling. The cross-linked silicone filler resists leakage, folding, and wrinkling issues seen in older saline or traditional silicone implants [8]. These implants last longer and maintain their shape extremely well.

    Signs of Implant Replacement

    While breast implants don’t “expire,” they don’t last a lifetime.

    Here are some signs you may need to remove or replace them [9]:

    Change in Shape

    Over months and years, implants can shift position or take on abnormal shapes. This usually indicates a tightened surrounding scar capsule or a weakened implant shell. A noticeable shape distortion often signals it’s time for a breast implant replacement.

    Swelling or Tenderness

    Experiencing sudden, unexplained swelling or tenderness in one or both breasts? You may have an implant rupture or leak requiring surgical revision. Infections can also cause similar symptoms warranting implant removal.

    Hardening of the Breasts

    Hardening scar tissue around the implant causes capsular contracture. This makes breasts feel firm, stiff, and painful. Severe capsular contracture may distort the shape as well. To get relief, you’ll need surgery to remove or exchange the implants.

    Pain or Discomfort

    Increasing feelings of heaviness, pain, or discomfort in the breast(s) can happen with implant rupture, capsular contracture, or changes over time. Addressing the underlying cause with replacement surgery often resolves these symptoms.

    Rotation or Displacement

    Implants can sometimes rotate or move out of position with time. You may be more prone to this if you have teardrop-shaped implants. Rotation distorts the breast shape in an unnatural way that replacement surgery can fix.

    Breast Asymmetry

    Uneven breasts, nipple position changes, or distorted breast shapes may hint at a problem with your implant(s). Getting new implants helps restore the symmetry.

    Change in Consistency

    If your breast tissue takes on a very different texture or consistency, it may signal a silent rupture or leak. Getting an exam and possible imaging can confirm whether your implants need replacement.

    Complications Detected in Routine Mammograms

    You may need implant surgery if your doctor finds concerns in your routine mammogram or ultrasound. Mammograms can find ruptures, leaks, or masses, signaling it’s time to replace or remove implants.

    Implant Age

    Implants older than the typical lifespan are likely ready for replacement. Even if you don’t see or feel obvious issues, it’s wise to at least plan for replacement surgery.

    Prolonging the Lifespan of Breast Implants

    Taking the following steps will help you extend the longevity of breast implants:

    Regular Monitoring and Follow-Ups

    Staying on top of routine exams and imaging helps catch potential problems early. Follow your surgeon’s recommendations for periodic office visits to check implant integrity. Report any unusual symptoms or changes right away.

    Proper Care and Maintenance

    Vigorous activity without proper breast support can stress implants over time. This is especially the case for larger busts. Consider wearing high-impact sports bras and avoiding intense cardio or weightlifting. The more you can minimize excessive implant movement, the better. Gentle stretches and yoga can help prevent capsular contracture.

    What Happens if Breast Implants Are Not Replaced?

    If you don’t replace aging or damaged implants, potential complications include:


    The implants may rupture, causing breast distortion, asymmetry, and silicone leakage into the breast tissue. This can result in pain, hardening, and changes in breast shape that may be difficult to correct [10].

    Severe Capsular Contracture

    The chances of getting capsular contracture are low. But if you get it, it may continue worsening. Capsular contracture warps your breasts’ shape, and you’ll feel pain and tenderness with a firm, abnormal texture. You may also lose your natural breast contour [11].

    Increased Infection Risk

    Infection risk increases over time, which could call for antibiotics or urgent implant removal [12]. If allowed to progress, breast implant infection can be difficult to treat.

    Aesthetic Problems

    Implant malposition, wrinkling, and asymmetry may continue to progress and become more prominent. As a result, revision surgery will likely be more extensive.

    Interference with Mammogram Imaging

    Silicone from ruptured implants obscures mammogram imaging. This makes cancer detection more challenging [13].

    Waiting too long for preventative replacement increases complications. Most surgeons recommend implant removal or exchange within 10-20 years even without issues. Get a customized timeline from yours to avoid emergencies.

    When to Consider Implant Replacement or Removal

    We recommend consulting your plastic surgeon about implant replacement or removal in these scenarios:

    Medical Reasons

    Don’t delay addressing medical issues. If you have a confirmed or suspected implant rupture, infection, or other medical complications, your surgeon will advise on timely removal. You may explore potential replacement options as well.

    Personal Preferences and Aesthetic Goals

    Over decades, it’s natural for breasts to look different — with or without implants. But implants may need replacement to restore a youthful contour and appearance. If sagging, wrinkling, asymmetry, or other undesirable changes occur, discuss repair options with your plastic surgeon.

    Consulting With a Plastic Surgeon

    Your board-certified plastic surgeon is the best judge of implant integrity and expected lifespan based on the devices used and your health profile. Schedule regular consults for assessment starting 10-15 years after your initial breast augmentation.

    Considerations After Key Milestones With Breast Implants

    It’s smart to check on your breast implants at certain time milestones. Pay close attention to subtle changes in your breasts. Are their shapes changing? Are they symmetrical? How do they feel when you press on the edges? Schedule regular consults as preventative care.

    10 years

    Schedule an appointment with your plastic surgeon. Have him look at your implants, even if you notice no problems. Imaging tests can check internal integrity. Together, you can decide between elective replacement or continued monitoring.

    15 years

    Despite improving implant technology, most plastic surgeons recommend preventative replacement at this point. The peace of mind is worthwhile — you don’t want to deal with emergency rupture or failure later on.

    20 years

    Very few breast implants remain intact for 25 years. While possible, it’s rare. Be mindful of your breast health and prepare for potential major revision surgery.

    Your doctor knows your anatomy and health profile well. Use their guidance on optimal timing for exchange procedures. With advanced new options available, replacement surgery can provide beautiful, youthful results. Taking a proactive approach gives you greater control over maintaining stellar long-term outcomes.

    Your Breast Implant Lifespan Will Vary

    In short, various factors determine the lifespan of your breast implants. But you can expect to need replacement surgery every 10 years. Keep an eye out for any signs of breast changes. Finally, work with your surgeon to maximize the safety and shelf life of your implants.

    Considering breast implant surgery in Greater Los Angeles? With over 12,000 procedures performed, Dr. Orloff and his staff at Burbank Plastic Surgery are committed to excellence and your safety. We look forward to answering any questions you have about cosmetic breast surgery. Get in touch today.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

    Do some breast implants last forever?

    No, breast implants don’t last forever. All implants will eventually need to be replaced or removed. But with routine care and newer implant technology, some can remain intact for more than 20 years.

    When should I talk to my doctor about a breast replacement procedure?

    Schedule a consultation if your implants are older than 10 years to establish a proactive monitoring plan. Discuss implant exchange if you notice any changes in breast shape, texture, or appearance. Let your surgeon evaluate implant integrity and advise you on replacement timing.


    1. Breast Augmentation, National Library of Medicine

    2. Breast Implants: Common Questions and Answers, American Family Physician

    3. Will Your Breast Implants Last a Lifetime?, American Society of Plastic Surgeons

    4. Breast Augmentation Surgery (Breast Implants), Better Health Channel

    5. Breast Implant Safety, WebMD

    6. Prospective Study of Saline versus Silicone Gel Implants for Subpectoral Breast Augmentation, National Library of Medicine

    7. Breast Implants: Saline vs. Silicone, Mayo Clinic

    8. Everything You Need to Know About Gummy Bear Breast Implants, Healthline

    9. Seven Signs You Need a Breast Implant Revision, American Society of Plastic Surgeons

    10. If Silicone Breast Implants Rupture, What Are the Possible Complications?, Mayo Clinic

    11. Six Reasons to Get Your Breast Implants Replaced, American Society of Plastic Surgeons

    12. Can Breast Implants Make You Sick?, Healthline

    13. Breast Implant Adverse Events During Mammography, FDA