Mark Sisco, M.D.
501 Skokie Boulevard
Northbrook, IL 60062
Phone: (847) 504-2333
Monday: 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
Tuesday–Friday: 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Alternatives to Breast Implants, How Long Do Breast Implants Last & Other FAQs (Updated 2023)
When you’re thinking about getting breast implants, you likely have a lot of questions. Beyond basic info about cost and recovery time, there’s a long list of things to think about, including long-term implications, achieving the most natural-looking results possible, and much more.
In this blog post, I’m answering questions I often hear from women interested in breast augmentation—from whether there are good alternatives to breast implants to how long breast implants last. I hope you’ll find the info you need to feel informed and empowered as you consider your breast enhancement options.
Are There Natural Alternatives to Breast Implants?
The most viable alternative to breast implants is breast augmentation via fat transfer or fat grafting. This technique uses fat harvested from elsewhere in your body (often the abdomen, thighs, or hips) to add volume to your breasts.
While this approach can provide a very modest size increase, it’s typically best used as a complement to breast implants rather than a replacement for them. You can learn more about this option and who it may be right for in this blog post.
Do Breast Implants Need To Be Replaced Every 10 Years?
Many people believe that breast implants need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. While this is often the case, it’s not a hard-and-fast rule.
It is true that breast implants are not lifetime devices. You will likely need to exchange them for new models at some point in the future. However, this only has to happen if/when:
- You experience a complication. Over time, implants weaken and become more susceptible to issues. Implant rupture and capsular contracture are two of the most common, and they’re both easily resolved with breast revision surgery to replace the implants.
- You no longer identify with your look. Bodies evolve over time; naturally, implants will need to evolve along with them. The shape you desired a decade or so ago may not be the shape you desire today, and revision surgery can address that.
- Your breasts have begun to droop or sag. As gravity affects your breasts over the years, you may desire revision surgery, potentially combined with a breast lift, to refresh your look.
While these events often do happen along a timeline of 10 to 15 years, everyone’s personal timing is unique.
Can You Breastfeed With Breast Implants?
In most cases, yes, you can breastfeed with implants in place. If you plan on having children in the future, it’s a good idea to let your surgeon know during your consultation. Certain incisions (inframammary) are better for preserving milk duct function than others (periareolar), and your surgeon will account for this while creating your treatment plan.
Which Type of Breast Implant Looks & Feels the Most Natural?
Silicone implants are generally believed to look and feel more like natural breast tissue than saline implants. You can learn more about how these options compare in this blog post.
However, achieving natural-looking results is about more than which implant type you choose. It’s also up to your surgeon to help you select a proportional size that flatters your body. They’ll focus on placing the implants in a way that disguises the implant edges and creating an overall result that doesn’t convey any obvious signs you’ve had “work done.”
What Can You Tell From Breast Implant Before and After Photos?
Looking through a surgeon’s breast augmentation photo gallery can tell you a good deal about the surgeon’s skill, ability to create natural-looking results, and versatility in working with different body shapes and patient goals. This is why it’s essential to look at a surgeon’s breast implant before and after photos during your consultation. Here are a few of my patients’ before and after photos to give you an idea of what to look for.