Breast Implants After 50: What You Should Know

Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on June 06, 2024
4 min read

If you are over 50, you have probably noticed changes to your body, including your breasts. Age, weight changes, and pregnancy can make your breasts look different at 50 than when you were younger. You may be considering surgery to restore the look of your breasts. 

There is no age limit for breast surgery. People can get breast implant surgery or surgery to lift breasts at any age. You may choose breast implants to improve your appearance. Perhaps you want implants to reconstruct your breasts after cancer treatment. 

Learn more about the benefits as well as the risks of breast implants after age 50. 

Sometimes called a "boob job," breast augmentation surgery is an operation where a doctor inserts a soft implant under the skin to make your breast look fuller or larger. 

There are several kinds of implants, so you and your doctor can choose the best type for you:

  • Saline implants: These implants have a soft silicone shell and are filled with sterile saltwater.
  • Structured saline implants: This type of implant has more layers to the shell and an internal structure to make the implant look and feel more natural.
  • Silicone implants: Silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel that may feel more like natural breast tissue.
  • Gummy bear implants: Also called form-stable implants, these contain a thicker type of silicone gel. The thicker gel won't leak if the shell of the implant breaks.

Breasts are susceptible to changes that come from pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, weight gain, and sagging over time because of the effects of gravity. Past surgeries may have changed the way your breasts look as well, such as a mastectomy or lumpectomy for breast cancer. The surgery to remove the affected tissue can change the shape of your breasts.

Breast implants can have a dramatic effect on your appearance. The implants can make your breasts larger and fuller, which can even change your bra size. Your doctor may suggest a breast lift along with implants. This will bring your breasts higher up on your chest and reduce any sagging you have.

Breast augmentation is a surgery, and any surgery comes with risks. You will need general anesthesia during the operation. If you have health issues that prevent you from being able to use anesthesia, you should discuss them with your doctor.

You will also need to consider who will take care of you after the operation. Many doctors send patients home the same day as the surgery, so you will need someone to drive you back to where you live. You will probably need someone to stay with you for the first few days to help you recover. You may have significant pain, and moving around might be a challenge.

After the surgery, there are risks of complications from your implants. Some of the common issues people have after getting breast implants include: 

  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation
  • Wrinkling of the skin over the implant
  • Scar tissue around the implant (capsular contracture)
  • Implant leaking or rupture
  • Poor positioning of the implant
  • Persistent pain
  • A cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
  • Fatigue or brain fog called breast implant illness (BIL)
  • Noticeable scarring around the incision area

It is important that you have regular screenings like an MRI or an ultrasound to screen for implant rupture in addition to your regular mammogram.

Breast implants don't change your risk for breast cancer, and you should continue to have screenings such as mammograms to check for cancer. You can safely get mammograms with breast implants, and they are still effective at finding cancer. Make sure to share that you have implants with your doctor so they can adjust how they do the mammogram. It’s possible they may choose to do an MRI or ultrasound for that screening as well.

Unless you are getting implants as reconstruction after cancer treatment, your medical insurance probably won't cover any of the costs of the surgery. The price of surgery is $4,000 or higher, plus the cost of anesthesia, facility fees, and other related expenses.

If you need any more surgeries to correct problems with your implants, this will be another out-of-pocket cost for you. Implants are only designed to last for ten years, so you may need to have them replaced or removed later in life. You may be healthy enough for plastic surgery now, but you might not be able to have breast augmentation surgery again in 10 years.

If you are considering breast implants, you should talk to a plastic surgeon about whether they are a good choice for you.