Get the 411 on the Expiration Dates of Cosmetic Surgery Results
I have a tendency to get nervous during virtually any medical procedure, and one of the ways I calm myself down is by talking… a lot. So, when I was recently getting my annual mammogram, I was yammering away with the technician, who was squashing my breast like a pancake in a vise-like contraption to get a decent picture of what was going on in there. Somehow, talking makes me feel less uncomfortable – or at least mentally anyway.
As the tech was placing my rather large breast on the machine for the second time, (and I was about to squeal in agony), I wondered what women who have breast implants do when undergoing their own mammograms, and of course, I asked. She told me that she has seen many patients with breast implants, most of who didn’t happen to realize that their additions may make the test slightly more uncomfortable, (as they need to be moved around a bit to get a clear picture of the breast itself). She also happened to mention that those same patients weren’t aware that the implants aren’t necessarily permanent. This was news to me. I had always thought that once you had implants, you’d be buried with them. To get the real deal, I decided to ask a board-certified plastic surgeon - not only about the shelf life of breast implants – but numerous cosmetic procedures, so that I could bring that information straight to you!
Bruce W. Van Natta, MD, offered some insight into the expiration dates of procedures like breast implants to more routine procedures like Botox injections.
- Are breast implants a permanent solution?
No— breast implants are not lifetime devices. Really, no artificial device placed into the human body is guaranteed for life. The longer you have breast implants, the more likely it is that you will eventually need to have them removed or replaced. Depending on the type of implant, the lifespan of the device can be anywhere from 10 – 30 years. Current implant warranties cover implant replacement in the event of implant failure, and also cover some of the replacement costs for the first 10 years.
- Why do breast implants need to sometimes be removed?
Implants may need to be removed for two primary reasons:
1. A woman may simply want to change the size of her implant or…
2. Because there is a leak or rupture, or due to the development of capsular (surrounding scar) contracture.
- How long do results from Botox injections last and how does the injectable work?
Botox acts on the muscles that create frown lines around the mouth and wrinkles in other areas like the forehead. It weakens them so that the creases don’t form. The results typically last about 3 months for most patients.
- Will repetitive use of Botox make the results last longer or less time?
Anecdotally, it does seem that weakening of the muscles repeatedly results in the lines coming back less intensely than they were initially.
- How long will dermal fillers last, can they be permanent?
Depending on the type of filler, they may last anywhere from a few months to 2 years. There is one filler that is touted as lasting 3-5 years (Sculptra) and another that is supposed to be very long lasting (ArteFill). Sculptra lasts up to 2 years, Artefill (now called Bellafill) is approved to last 2 years but appears to last 5 years (or more).
- Will facelift results last forever or in time will you regain the wrinkles?
Not much in life lasts forever and so it is with a facelift results. The benefits of a well performed facelift will push back the clock but not arrest the progression of aging. If a facelift “takes 10 years away”, that benefit will be maintained so that patient will typically always look younger than they would have otherwise.
- Are liposuction results permanent if weight is not regained?
The changes in volume of fat deposits removed by liposuction do seem to be long lasting if weight is maintained postoperatively, with the exception of a few rare medical conditions.
So, needless to say, I had to get schooled on this subject myself. Apparently certain procedural results do in fact have expiration dates and very little, if anything, is completely permanent.