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If you have been researching breast implants, you have likely come across the statement that breast implants need to be replaced every 10 years. This statement is false. Breast implants are designed to be lifetime devices, although this goal has not yet been realized. Breast implants tend to be replaced after 11-15 years, although the more common cause is not the implants themselves, but your preferences or your breast tissue.

Everyone is different. Although this page gives some basic information on breast implants, it can’t predict what your experience is going to be like. During a consultation, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bryan Gawley can listen to your cosmetic goals, evaluate your breast tissue, and help you understand what your experience may be like. To talk to Dr. Gawley, please schedule a consultation today.

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Silicone breast implants were invented in the early 60s, and have been in continuous use for cosmetic breast augmentation worldwide since then (the temporary suspension from 1992-2006 only affected the US). They have also been under constant scrutiny and re-engineering, which means they have improved considerably since their first introduction. The shells have been improved as well as the fill material. The new fill material is a cohesive gel that does not flow the way older breast implants’ silicone gel did. This means that even if the implant ruptures, the gel will remain inside the shell. The lifespan of these new breast implants is projected to be considerably longer than previous models (likely 20 years or more), although since they are relatively new there is not yet actual experience to show the lifespan of the implants.

What we do know is that breast implant manufacturers have great confidence in their implants and back them with comprehensive warranties, whose terms we can discuss during your consultation.

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More often than implant failure, breast implants are removed for other reasons. Sometimes, women decide that they desire larger or smaller implants. Other times, breast implants are removed because they no longer look as good as they did when first placed. Gravity takes its toll on the skin and other tissues, causing the breast implant to sag or descend and may require a revision combined with a breast lift. Finally, surgical complications, such as capsular contracture, may require the implants be removed.

All of these factors contribute to the average breast implant lifetime of 11-15 years.


If you have questions about breast implants, at Gawley Plastic Surgery we can help you get the answers you are looking for so you can make an informed decision. Please call or email us today to schedule your consultation.

Meet Dr. Gawley

Phoenix Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Bryan W. Gawley specializes in both cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery in the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas. As one of the premiere plastic and cosmetic surgeons in the Phoenix area, Dr. Gawley is not only a caring physician but also an artist whose goal is to provide beautiful results that suit each individual’s unique look, shape, and lifestyle.

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