You don’t have to dislike your breasts to think about when you should switch your breast implants. Switching implants also doesn’t have to be a bummer, though it might feel that way at first. We spent all this money on a breast augmentation procedure, which means we should enjoy those results for as long as possible, right?
Well, that’s actually where switching our breast implants might come in handy: by performing a breast implant revision procedure, our plastic surgeon could actually help us enjoy those results for a little while longer (or, 15 years longer—whichever). In many ways, breast implant revision procedures are a way to make sure we get what we want out of a breast augmentation—both what we want today and what we want tomorrow.
Why Replace Any Breast Implants?
Replacing or revising a breast implant is actually relatively common. First and foremost, we have to understand that breast implants have a “best by” date. Of course, they don’t actually call it that. Your plastic surgeon might call it a “shelf life” or something like that. Essentially, there comes a point where implants have to be replaced.
In most cases, that shelf life is somewhere around 15 years, depending on the material and style of implant. We basically have two options when that 15 year mark hits:
- Have the implant replaced immediately
- Wait for something to go wrong with the implant (assuming something does, indeed, go wrong—sometimes the implant can last for quite a long while after the “shelf life” expires)
Shelf Life Isn’t the Only Reason to Replace Implants
However, “something going wrong” isn’t the only reason we might decide to replace a pair of otherwise perfectly good breast implants. We might decide to do the ol’ switcheroo for a number of other reasons. According to the website of a Dr. Charles Polsen, a Houston breast implant revision specialist, some of those reasons might include the following:
- A Change in Style: Sometimes our aesthetics change as we age. Bigger might be better when we’re younger—but when we’re a little older we want something more natural and tasteful looking. Much of this comes down to personal preference. But it’s not uncommon for women to feel that they want a more modest bust as the years move on.
- Removal of Implants: In other cases, we simply want to remove our breast implants. This, again, is not uncommon, and it can happen for a wide variety of reasons, including pregnancy or (as noted above) a change in aesthetics.
- Damaged Implants: Sometimes breast implants do become damaged. If saline implants rupture, you’re able to tell right away (they might deflate). A ruptured silicone implant might be harder to detect (and might not even need any changes, depending on the patient’s preference). However, damaged implants are a pretty significant reason why some patients will seek out a breast implant revision procedure.
Large Implants Are Similar to Larger Breasts
Women who are rather well endowed have some common problems develop over the long run. Overly large breasts can contribute to chronic neck and back pain. That’s why many women with overly large breasts will elect to undergo a breast reduction procedure (often with a lift, to get back a little bit of that perkiness of yesteryear).
Breast implants weight close to the same as real breasts, so it shouldn’t be shocking to anyone (least of all us) that over time breast augmentation can lead to neck and back pain if the breasts end up larger than the patient’s frame can handle.
The other thing that happens as we age is we develop some excess skin (and sagging issues). That’s largely because of gravity (thanks gravity). Not everyone is thrilled with these effects, so sometimes patients do like to get breast implants removed before they start contributing to the signs of aging.
Obviously, when it comes to the breasts, there are a lot of personal choices to be made. It’s not just about what works us—it’s about what works for our bodies as individuals. So don’t let anyone else’s notion of what your body should look like sway you. Whether we want to upsize our current breasts or downsize our implants, there’s a procedure that can help us get there.