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Face-to-face with Dr. Geneviève F-Caron - Breast Implants

1-What is the lifespan of breast implants?
I recommend that my patients have their implants checked after 10 years or sooner if any symptoms appear. If the breasts are flexible with intact implants and in a good position there isno specific date to replace them.However, patients should understand that the risk of rupture and capsular contracture increasesover time.

2-What is the risk of cancer associated with implants and how is it manifested?
The implants, whether with salt water or silicone, all have a silicone envelope, this envelope can be either smooth or textured (similar to sandpaper). A rare cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (LAGC) is associated with implants having a textured envelope. Until this day, 28 cases have been confirmed in Canada.This cancer can manifest itself in different ways and can only be seen in patients with textured implants. Some symptoms related with LAGC are: swelling of a breast, a feeling of fluid aroundthe implant, a lump or discomfort.

3-What to do if I wear these textured implants?
Health Canada's recommendation is to follow-up with a plastic surgeon if symptoms or concerns arise. The decision to have the implants removed with or without partial or total capsulectomy is a decision that patients make with their surgeon after their evaluation and after a discussion of theadvantages and disadvantages of each option.

4-Is the intervention covered by the RAMQ?
According to the spokesperson of the RAMQ here are the cases where the removal of breast implants can be covered by the health insurance card: polyurethane implants (used in the 1970s), silicone implants with demonstrated rupture or when there is a grade 4 contracture documented by imagery. Hence, removal of breast implants for other reasons is done at a private cosmetic surgery clinic and is not reimbursable by the RAMQ.

5-What will be the impact of an implant removal on the shape of the breasts?
It is difficult to predict the shape of the breasts after removal of implants as it depends on several factors. Here are some factors specific to implants: the size of the implant, the position of the implant (under the muscle or above), the number of years since placement or rupture. Patient-specific factors: weight changes, pregnancies, skin quality, breast size before implant and many more.

Your plastic surgeon will be able to advise you regarding a breast lift (mastopexy) if necessary.