Should I Get a Breast Implant Exchange?

Most women get their breast implant exchange because they want to change the type of implant they have, modify the cup size, or correct problems resulting from a previous breast augmentation procedure. Generally, Silicone and saline implants are FDA approved for up to 10 years, but this doesn’t mean that they have to be replaced in that specific time frame. Some patients don’t need to replace their implants in that time frame, it could take a lot longer, or shorter time, some patients may only need to have their implants replaced only one or two times in their lifetime.  

Whenever concern for breast exchange is brought up by patients, they wonder about exchanging their implants for newer ones once every certain amount of time. Somehow whenever a patient investigates the subject, they come across information stating that they should be changing their breast implants every 10 years. This is not that far off, but the information has been slightly misrepresented. As there are very mixed messages from various sources on the internet.

For instance, if you’re having an issue with your breast implants then sure, there may need to be a change. On the other hand with proper monitoring, which includes exams both from a physician and by yourself, you won’t need to automatically replace your breast implants exactly every decade. 

It’s just a common misconception that you have to get your breast implant replacement every decade or so. It does hold some truth, however typically you’d want to replace the implant between 10 to 15 years but if any problem arises like a rupture or a contracture, there is only a need for replacement when the implant is worn out. When this type of concern arises, most surgeons say it’s confusing because it’s their own opinion of their patients, and their progress, so they might differ from other surgeons. 

After a decade, a patient’s initial breast augmentation might need to be revised in some way. Sometimes a saline implant will present some damage or leakage over the years, but it could easily happen that an implant is still in good condition, even after a decade later. 

Once you have healed from your breast augmentation procedure, your breasts will be healed, and any swelling will have subsided. Your breasts will be soft, perky, and have their natural contour. This is the ideal result that will give you years of delight and satisfaction. However, changes to your body can occur, some of which can lead to breast implant problems. 

What is capsular contracture?

Capsular contracture is a response from the immune system to foreign materials in the human body. As your body responds to the implant, it forms a thin layer of scar tissue to seal off the implant. This in itself does not cause any problems, but over the years, the capsule can thicken and tighten around the implant. This is what is known as capsule contracture, and if it has tightened and thickened enough, it can cause shape change, make the implant feel firmer than normal, and can cause discomfort.

What is a breast implant failure? 

There are different sizes, shells and fills, shapes and sizes of breast implants. Typically implants are filled with saline or silicone gel, the shells for the silicone implant can be textured or smooth on the surface, they are robust enough that they can deal with significant force or movement. However, the shells can fail and start to leak, in cases where the implant is filled with saline, the breast implant can deflate as the saline is absorbed by the body. The silicone gel leaking can be contained within the capsule and may make it difficult to see any obvious changes in the breast.

Reasons for a breast augmentation revision:

Medical devices are subject to age and wear over time. The integrity of the implants decreases the longer they are in use, if they are older, more outdated implants, ruptures and leaks are possible. The implant could be silicone or saline, yet the issues don’t affect your body contour but can become a medical concern if not treated. 

Medical issues, complications, and other health concerns can develop over time. In these cases, a breast implant exchange may be necessary. For example in the case of cell lymphoma, the implant needs to be removed to ensure a successful treatment and recovery. Implant options nowadays are much more varied and have greatly improved. Women who have older implants will find that they can exchange them for safer and more reliable ones that will feel better and look natural. 

What should I expect with an implant replacement?

There’s a wide range of reasons as to why a woman would want to or need to have her breast implants removed. Or have a revision, one reason would be to check for an implant rupture. If your implant is older, there is a greater chance of it leaking or breaking over time. When this happens the patient must remove their breast implants. In this case, the patient can choose if they want to remove the breast implants completely or have another breast augmentation or combine it with another procedure such as a breast lift. 


Although implant exchange can be more complicated than traditional breast augmentation for a variety of reasons. The recovery process from an implant exchange is much like the recovery from an initial breast augmentation. It’s recommended to take a full week to stay at home and heal, also you must try to avoid doing any strenuous activities for at least three weeks and wear a compression garment to support the implants and incisions. In short, your doctor will provide detailed instructions on how to take care of yourself to ensure you heal properly, quickly, and with the best results. 

Having other procedures in conjunction with a breast implant exchange: 

Your doctor will switch out your old implants for newer ones. Whether you continue to use the same size, shape, and type of implant, is up to you. A breast lift can be performed in conjunction with a breast implant exchange surgery, the type of incisions that will be made will largely depend on if you have sagging skin, which will need to be removed, and how much of the lift will be needed. Having a breast implant exchange with a second procedure to compliment your breasts, usually involves replacing the saline or silicone implants and correcting complications or changing their size.  

Whatever the reason for a breast enhancement, some patients will just want to improve their breast’s appearance because of changes to their body, this can affect how their implants look. For example, events such as having children, hormonal changes that may make them feel they are uncomfortable with the shape of their breasts, a ruptured implant, or even a lifestyle change, whatever the reason, a replacement implant is necessary. Here at VIDA we can help you reach your body goals, whatever your reason for a breast revision. Our team of certified and experienced specialists will provide you with the treatment and aftercare you need. 

Dr. Alejandro Quiroz

Dr. Quiroz is our board-certified Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Neck lift, Buttock Augmentation, Breast Augmentation, Body Contouring and more. He is member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, the Mexican Society of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and the Mexican Council of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, to mention a few.