A lot of patients have been coming in lately with a dilemma – they had breast implants placed 25 years or so ago – they know that the implants are aging, and they want to know their options.
Basically, it comes down to what is right for each patient.
Yes, older implants probably should be replaced, because their life-span is not unlimited. At some point, the implant shell is going to be weak enough to cause a leak to develop. This may result in a change in shape of the implant, or in the case of saline implants, the implant will completely flatten over time.
For many, the passing years have meant an additional 20 or 30 pounds of weight gain, and they may now have a lot more breast tissue than when the implants were first put in. In that case, they may opt for removal of the implants and reshaping and lifting the natural breast. Then they will no longer have to worry about their aging implants.
Sometimes, removal and replacement of the implants can be done, and it can be a very simple procedure if there is not a lot of drooping of the breasts.
However, if there is a lot of breast droop (ptosis), then they may need to have both new implants placed and a simultaneous breast lift.
The first step for any of the above would be to get an updated mammogram or MRI of the breasts to assess the status of the implants.