Can a 70 year old woman get breast implants?

Breast implants are a popular cosmetic surgery procedure for women of all ages who want to enhance or reconstruct their breasts. As women get older, factors like pregnancy, breastfeeding, and weight changes can cause their breasts to lose volume and firmness. For some older women, getting breast implants can help restore a youthful breast appearance and improve self-confidence.

However, there are important considerations for older women considering breast augmentation. Health risks and complications increase with age, recovery may take longer, and results may not last as long. Working with an experienced plastic surgeon and having realistic expectations are key for women over 65 looking to get implants.

Quick Answers

– Yes, a 70 year old woman can get breast implants, but there are additional risks and considerations compared to younger patients.

– The main concerns for older women are increased surgical risks, longer recovery times, and shorter duration of results. Implants may need replaced again in 10 years or less.

– Older skin has less elasticity so there is a higher chance of implants rippling or wrinkling. The breasts may look obviously augmented.

– Recovery takes longer due to slower healing. Complications like infections, capsular contracture, and implant rupture are more common in older recipients.

– Older women should be in good overall health to qualify for implants. Chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease increase surgical risks.

– Silicone gel implants tend to look and feel more natural than saline. Round moderate profile implants suit most older women.

Increased Health Risks

Breast augmentation carries risks even for young healthy women. But those risks are increased for women over 65. As the body ages, the ability to recover from surgery decreases. Older patients are at higher risk of complications during and after breast implant surgery:

Anesthesia complications

General anesthesia is typically used during breast augmentation. Older patients are more susceptible to side effects and problems with anesthesia due to decreased organ function and drug interactions.

Bleeding and blood clots

Bleeding risks go up with age due to blood vessel fragility. Older women are also more prone to developing dangerous blood clots after surgery.


The immune system weakens over time, making seniors more vulnerable to surgical site infections following implant placement.

Delayed wound healing

Breast tissue recovery is slower in older women. Incisions may take longer to close and final results take longer to appear.

Capsular contracture

Scar tissue forming around the implant (capsular contracture) happens more often in women over 65. Tightening scar tissue can distort the breast shape or cause pain.

Implant rupture and leakage

The longer implants are in the body, the higher the chances of a rupture. Older women are more likely to need replacement surgeries due to implant failure.

Unsatisfactory results

With increased risks comes an increased chance of a poor outcome. Older patients should understand all aspects of breast implants before surgery.

Recovery Timeline

The recovery period after breast augmentation generally takes longer for older women. Here is what to expect during the healing process:

1-2 weeks

Early recovery involves managing pain and discomfort. Swelling peaks at around 5 days. Bruising is common. Light activity is recommended but strenuous exercise should be avoided.

2-4 weeks

Incisions will close and swelling starts going down. Discomfort gradually subsides over 2-3 weeks. A support bra should be worn to help with healing. Most daily activities can be resumed by the end of the 4th week.

1-3 months

By 6 weeks, exercise can be resumed. Swelling dissipates further between months 2 and 3. Breast sensitivity decreases but numbness may linger for several months. Post-op massage helps with softening.

3-6 months

The breasts continue to settle. More vigorous activity and exercise can be done after 2 months. Scars fade over the next several months. Final results appear around the 6 month mark.

6+ months

After 6 months, the breasts are fully healed. Implants should have settled into their final position. Patients can gradually stop wearing their surgical bra. Results are long-lasting, but implants may need replacing after 10 years.

Choosing the Right Implants

The best choices for a 70 year old woman may differ from implants selected by younger women:

Implant material

Silicone gel implants typically look and feel more natural in older women compared to saline filled. They keep their shape better. Form-stable “gummy bear” silicone may be a good option.

Implant shape

Round or moderate profile implants are preferable for older women. They look natural and minimize rippling or visible edges. Avoid textured implants due to health risks.

Implant size

A moderate increase is ideal. Younger skin can stretch to accommodate larger implants, but overly large implants look unnatural in older women. Listen to your surgeon’s recommendations.


Submuscular placement under the chest muscle is often preferred in older women. It provides more padding to conceal edges of the implant.

Incision site

The periareolar (around the nipple) incision leaves the least visible scarring. Transaxillary (underarm) and inframammary (under the breast) are also common.

Finding an Experienced Surgeon

Choosing a highly experienced board-certified plastic surgeon is crucial for older women considering breast augmentation. Key tips for finding the right surgeon:

– Look for a doctor who specializes in breast surgery and has years of experience operating on older patients. Carefully review their credentials.

– Ask to see many before/after photos of older women with implants. Ensure you like the surgeon’s aesthetic style.

– Schedule in-person consultations with 2-3 surgeons before deciding. Make sure you feel comfortable with your choice.

– Look for red flags like very low pricing, heavy sales pitches, or limited information provided. These indicate a poor quality surgeon.

– A well-qualified surgeon will comprehensively evaluate your health, candidly discuss risks and limitations, and help create realistic expectations.

– Many top surgeons have privileges at certified ambulatory surgery centers and hospitals in case of an emergency during surgery.

Preparing for Surgery

Older women planning for breast augmentation should take these steps prior to surgery:

– Have a full physical exam to identify any health issues that need optimizing first. Follow any medical advice to reduce surgical risks.

– Reach a stable weight since significant fluctuations can impact results. Make positive lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, which impairs healing.

– Review all medications with your doctor. Adjust dosages or stop medications that thin the blood to avoid bleeding risks.

– Make preparations for your recovery period. Stock up on soft foods, arrange for transportation, and line up help at home if you live alone.

– Follow the surgeon’s pre-op instructions closely. This includes fasting, avoiding certain supplements/medications, washing with antibacterial soap, and other directives.

– Make arrangements for post-surgery care and attend all follow-up visits to support optimal healing. Report any concerning symptoms promptly.

Pros and Cons of Implants at 70

There are advantages and disadvantages to getting breast implants in the later decades of life:

Potential Pros

– Increase breast fullness after volume loss from aging and breastfeeding
– Improve breast symmetry if one breast is smaller than the other
– Replace breast tissue lost after mastectomy for cancer treatment
– Boost self-confidence and feminine identity
– Feel better in clothes and more youthful overall

Potential Cons

– Health risks like bleeding, infection, and capsular contracture increase
– Possibility of needing replacement surgery in 5-10 years
– Implants may look or feel too artificial in thinner older skin
– Changes to nipple sensation, including permanent loss of feeling
– Dissatisfaction with results or shape over time
– Higher costs due to more complex surgery and revisions

Maintaining Breast Implants Long-Term

Implants typically don’t last a lifetime, so older women need to be prepared for maintenance:

Follow-up exams

See your plastic surgeon annually for implant check-ups. Notify them of any changes. Periodic MRIs help detect silent ruptures.

Avoid capsule contracture

Massage treated breasts daily. Use vitamin E or other oils to keep surrounding tissue soft. Schedule preventative capsulectomies if hardening occurs.

Monitor for deflation

Look for signs of leakage like breast changes, numbness, or pain. Report symptoms to your doctor, since ruptured implants require removal.

Consider implant replacement

Implants don’t last forever in the body. Every 10 years, consider a swap for new implants if you want to maintain your augmented breast size.

Weigh removal options

If you experience complications or feel implants are no longer right for you, discuss explant surgery to remove them. This may include a breast lift.

Can Implants Obstruct Mammograms?

Routine screening mammograms help detect early breast cancers. But implants can interfere with these x-rays and mammogram quality, making cancer more difficult to diagnose.

What causes problems?

The implant itself can block some breast tissue from being visible on a mammogram. Implants may also obscure any tumors present. Ruptured implants must be removed because they obscure the most tissue.

Extra views and ultrasounds

Women with implants need extra x-ray views and ultrasound scans to visualize as much tissue as possible around implant edges. 3D mammography provides a better view.

MRI scans

Breast MRIs are sometimes recommended for those with implants, since they use magnets rather than x-rays to image the breast. MRIs are the most sensitive for detecting ruptured implants.

Know the signs

Carefully check your breasts monthly so you recognize any abnormal changes. Report changes to your doctor promptly. Don’t delay mammograms or MRIs since early detection is still vital.

Removal considerations

Some women opt to have implants removed later in life to allow easier breast exams and unobscured mammograms. Discuss risks versus benefits with your doctor.

Can Implants Affect Breast Cancer Treatment?

Having breast implants should not prevent or delay breast cancer treatment. But there are some unique considerations:

Detecting cancer

As noted above, implants can interfere with mammogram imaging and breast exams. This makes early diagnosis more challenging. Women with implants must stay vigilant about self-exams.

Breast conservation therapy

Women with implants may not be candidates for lumpectomy breast conservation since the implant could become distorted. Full mastectomy may be required.

Removing implants

Before radiation, implants usually need removed. The radiation can damage the implant shell over time. Implants can be replaced after cancer therapy.

Reconstruction options

After mastectomy, implants can still be used in reconstruction for women without recurrence. Autologous tissue flap reconstruction is also an option if a more natural result is desired.

Inform your doctors

Always tell cancer doctors if you have implants so appropriate imaging and treatment steps can be taken. Closely adhere to monitoring recommendations after treatment.

How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

Implants are not lifetime devices. On average, breast implants last:

– Saline implants: 10-15 years
– Silicone gel implants: 10-20 years

But many factors affect implant longevity:

Implant placement

Subglandular implants placed over the muscle degrade faster than submuscular implants placed under the muscle. More tissue coverage helps slow wear.

Your age at surgery

Younger women at time of implantation need their implants replaced sooner on average than more mature women.

Implant material

Saline-filled implants tend to rupture earlier than the more durable silicone gel type. Their average replacement is within 10-12 years.

Subsequent pregnancies

Pregnancy and breast changes after augmentation can accelerate implant wear and tear. Each pregnancy speeds up the replacement timing.


Any significant trauma like a car accident or impact to the chest can damage breast implants and shorten their lifespan.

Your health and lifestyle

Factors like smoking, certain medications, weight changes, and capsular contracture also impact long-term implant integrity.

Replacing Old Breast Implants

Implant replacement involves removing the old implants and inserting new ones during revision surgery. Here’s what to expect:

During your initial consultation

Your surgeon will examine your breasts and implant position. Expect imaging tests to check the inner condition of your implants. Discuss new size and type options.

Incision options

The old scar can usually be reopened instead of making new incisions. But if you want a different placement, new incisions will be needed.

Removing the old implants

The surgeon will gently free the implants from surrounding scar tissue and lift them out. This takes patience and skill to avoid damaging tissues.

Inserting new implants

After preparing the implant pockets, your new silicone or saline implants will be inserted using surgical techniques designed to minimize risks of complications.


Downtime after replacement surgery is similar to initial augmentation, around 2-4 weeks. Discomfort, swelling, and tenderness subside as you heal. Physical activity is restricted at first.

What Happens if You Don’t Replace Old Implants?

It’s understandable to want to avoid another surgery. But not replacing aging implants can negatively impact your breasts’ appearance and health:


If an old saline implant ruptures, it will deflate causing an instant loss of breast size. Silicone gel implants can slowly leak without deflating.


If one implant ruptures sooner than the other, it will lead to a significant difference in breast size and shape.

Rippling and wrinkling

Implants lose their shape and structural integrity over time. Without the breast tissue support of younger years, wrinkling and folds become noticeable.


Breasts begin to sag more quickly after implants start to fail. Replacing them can restore perkiness versus allowing them to fully deflate.


Scar tissue can continue building up around old implants, sometimes causing visible distortion in breast shape.

Health risks

Deflated or ruptured implants might leak silicone gel or saline into breast tissue, causing pain, hardness, and other concerns. Infection risk goes up if implants are left ruptured.

Options If You Decide Against Implant Replacement

If you opt not to replace implants due to age, health status or personal preference, two options remain:

Removal without replacement

The surgeon will remove your implants leaving you with your natural breast tissue. This may include a breast lift for more youthful shaping.

Fat grafting

Your own fat can be injected into breasts after implant removal to help restore some volume and fullness. This non-surgical option may be done annually.

For many women, living implant-free later in life brings advantages like easier imaging for breast cancer screening. Your plastic surgeon can advise on best options.


Breast augmentation can successfully help restore breast fullness for women in their later decades. But significant risks and limitations exist that must be carefully weighed against expected benefits. Thoroughly researching surgeons, ensuring you are a good candidate, reviewing implant options that work with older skin, and maintaining realistic expectations can lead to long-lasting results women remain happy with as they age. With the right precautions, breast implants can still boost confidence at any stage of life.

Leave a Comment