This Article Has Been Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Jennifer Emmett, M.D.

Home Breast Augmentation What Happens to Breast Implants As We Age?

January 17, 2022

Breast augmentation is a popular choice among younger and older women looking to fill out their breasts’ volume, improve breast lift, and create a more symmetrical appearance.

Generally speaking, there is no age limit restricting older women from getting breast implants. 

There are limits in place restricting women younger than 18 or 22 years of age from getting implants. These are guidelines set in place by the FDA to ensure women don’t receive implants before their breasts are finished developing.

If you are considering breast enhancement but are unsure about aging with breast implants, learn about the safety of breast implants and aging.

How Breast Implants Change Over Time in the Body

As we age, our skin’s collagen production slows, making our skin more prone to loosening and sagging.

Breasts with implants are more prone to sagging caused by the excess weight in the implant and from the natural effects of aging. In this instance, it’s not that different from a naturally large breast sagging from its own weight.

You may find over time that your breasts will begin to droop and lose their shape and fullness.

Sometimes as women get older, they reevaluate their current implant size and elect to receive smaller implants during their revisional surgery. 

Conversely, some women may choose to bump up their implant size to fill out their breasts once their skin has stretched and become more flexible. 

Cosmetic Issues Related to Aging

The most common cosmetic issues related to breast implants in aging women include:

  • Sagging
  • Decreased volume
  • Deflation
  • Asymmetry, where one breast sags lower than the other

Medical Issues Related to Aging

As long as your breasts feel and look fine, they should be okay. Sagging is a normal part of aging, with or without implants. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, contact your plastic surgeon right away:

  • Breast implant pain or hardness in the breast (capsular contracture)
  • Breast deflation, caused by a saline implant rupturing and draining into your breast tissue
  • Silicone gel deflation, which is harder to spot than a saline implant rupture. Requires an MRI to see if the implant has ruptured.

Can You Get a Breast Lift If You Already Have Implants?

Because the main aging effect on breast implants is sagging, many women elect to have a breast lift as part of their revisional surgery.

Typically, a breast lift is performed on breasts that don’t have implants as a way to remove excess skin, reshape the nipple, and improve the breast’s lift so the breast rests above the inframammary fold (the lower breast crease).

However, breast lift surgery can be performed on women who already have existing breast implants. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon may replace the implants with a different size, or replace the implant with a newer implant.

What is a Breast Implants Lifetime? Will I Need Additional Surgeries Later?

It’s important to realize before breast augmentation surgery that implants will require maintenance over time. 

Even though today’s implants are longer lasting than ever, they are still not considered lifetime devices. Often, a woman will need to have revisional surgery at least once, but perhaps twice in her lifetime.

On average, the typical breast implant can last anywhere from 10-20 years. As long as the implant feels and looks fine, there shouldn’t be any need to replace the implant.

The biggest risk associated with older implants is rupturing. Over time, the implants can become weakened and become more prone to rupturing or leaking. 

Luckily, today’s implants are engineered to be as safe as possible in the event of a rupture or leak. Saline implants safely discharge the saline solution into your breast tissue. Silicone implants are self-adhesive, making sure not to leak or travel into the surrounding breast tissue.

A saline rupture will be obvious and be immediately felt, causing a deflated appearance in the breast. Silicone ruptures are harder to spot, with the first symptoms usually being pain or discomfort in the breast. If you suspect your implant has ruptured, contact your plastic surgeon immediately.

Breast Implant Considerations for Older Women

Many women are suggested to get their first mammogram at age 40. If you are worried about getting a mammogram with implants — don’t be. 

Today’s mammogram technicians can use special imaging techniques called “implant displacement views.” Let your mammogram technician know ahead of time so they can properly screen your breasts for cancer or implant ruptures.

The FDA also suggests women get a mammogram screening three years after their initial breast augmentation surgery, and every few years throughout their lifetime to properly scan and make sure implants are not rupturing.

Of the two common implant placement options, submuscular implants (implants that are placed under the breast muscle) are less obstructive during mammograms than subglandular implants (implants placed under the breast tissue but above the muscle).

Speak with your plastic surgeon during your initial consultation about your health history, including family health history and any instances of breast cancer to determine if breast implants are right for you.

Schedule Your Breast Enhancement Consultation at Emmett Plastic Surgery

Emmett Plastic Surgery was founded by Dr. Jennifer Emmett, M.D., a Double-Board certified plastic surgeon.

Her practice is skilled in performing breast enhancement procedures, including breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lifts, and breast lifts and augmentation.

She is also an expert in other plastic surgery procedures, including body lift, Brazilian butt lift, liposuction, tummy tuck, derma fillers, Botox, facelift, rhinoplasty, and neck lift.

Emmett Plastic Surgery services the greater Denver and Centennial areas of Colorado, and hosts patients from all across the country who fly in to be treated by Dr. Emmett.

Are you curious to learn more about aging with breast implants? Schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Emmett to discuss your breast enhancement goals and concerns to see if breast augmentation is right for you.