Caring for Your Breast Implants
August 7, 2015
In a perfect world, the results of plastic surgery would last forever, and with no effort from patients after the initial surgery. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case, and breast implants are often not lifetime devices. However, you can set yourself up for successful, long-lasting results by caring for yourself properly and knowing what to look for in order to monitor your implants’ condition as the years go by. So what do you need to know about caring for your breast implants as time goes on?
Beyond RecoveryCaring for your new breasts doesn’t just last as long as it takes the scars to heal. You will need to be aware of how your implants are holding up and keep an eye out for potential complications for as long as you have the implants. While implants are sturdy, and designed to hold up through whatever life throws at them, they can become damaged, and it is important to prevent damage to the implants as much as possible. Obviously, the most important protection you can give your implants is to prevent strong pressure against them for fear of rupture, though this should not affect normal activity.
The Lifespan of Breast ImplantsIn the past (the 80s and 90s), breast implants were made with a fairly thin shell, which caused a lot of problems, including increased risk for implant rupture. In those days, the “lifespan” of an implant could be about 10-15 years. While implants are not lifetime devices even today, they are now more durable and should last longer than a decade for most women. The most common problem with aging implants is still rupture, but there are other complications that can occur less frequently.
Maintaining VigilanceStaying aware of your body’s normal behavior is key to spotting any potential problems with your breast implants over time. Just as all women do, former breast implant patients need to stay on top of breast cancer detection and prevention. Regular self-exams and mammograms are key to catching breast cancer early, should it occur. This is especially important for women with implants, as the devices can make it harder to detect cancer. Monitoring for rupture is another important part of caring for breast implants, especially as the devices begin to age. While saline (salt water) implants will not cause any harm if they leak, as the solution will simply be absorbed by the body, silicone can cause complications if a leak occurs. It can be difficult to detect a leak, so it is best to err on the side of caution and get checked out if you have any suspicion of implant rupture. You will need to make sure all of your healthcare advisors are aware that you have breast implants, as this is an important part of your health history, regardless of why you are seeing your doctor. If you do not let your doctors know you have implants, they may not know to be careful around them.
Choosing Your ImplantsToday, there are several different options for implant types, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. The biggest differences in implant types are feel, look, and durability. Today, there are three types of breast implants available:
- Saline (salt water solution)
- Silicone gel
- Stable silicone (“gummy bear” implants)