Implants Before 2000;They’re Old. Implants By Dr. Sutton Graham on September 28, 2021


What should you and your primary care doctor be aware of during your annual exam regarding your breast implants?  

If you are not noticing any changes, breast symptoms or problems, do you need to be checking anything?

What if your plastic surgeon retired or you now live in a different city or state? 

Does it matter if they are saline or silicone gel?  [Yes, read to the end.]

These are common issues for our patients.  Breast implants typically last many years (15-20 is a common range), but not forever.

Many women are happy with the attractive breast appearance and never consider that there may be hidden gel leakage.  Current gel augmentation patients are instructed that the FDA recommends periodic medical resonance imaging (MRI). Most of the women I see are unaware of this. This may come up during their consultation for tummy tuck or facelift, reviewing past medical history. Or they are ready for a revision breast procedure like breast lift or size change. 
The photos above show 30+ year old gel implants with no MRI or plastic surgeon evaluation. This patient had long-standing capsular contracture (hard scar around implants), silicone leaking into surrounding breast tissue, scar nodules (silicone granuloma), and asymmetry. In the years since her augmentation surgery her breasts had dropped down over the high round implants. She was not aware of any systemic symptoms (BII). Her situation could have been improved years and years earlier. They were carefully removed with the scar intact around the leaking implant ("en-bloc" as some describe it). I opened them after the procedure to evaluate the capsules and implants. 

The situation is different for saline filled implants including IDEALimplants. We only use these types. They do not need MRI or other radiographic evaluation. They will eventually leak the IV fluid they were filled with which your body will absorb. You will notice a softer feel and smaller size, with minimal or no symptoms. Call us to have them replaced as soon as you recognize the change. Capsule removal will not usually be necessary. 

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Dr. Sutton Graham

Aesthetic Center Greenville

Dr. Graham has been performing plastic surgery since 1990. He is dedicated to providing high-quality, personalized treatment, and is affiliated with several prestigious organizations, including:
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons

To learn more, contact us online or call our Greenville, SC, office at (864) 676-1707​.

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