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Allen M. Doezie MD - Mission Plastic Surgery

Breast implant rupture can occur when the implant shell has been compromised by a puncture or tear. It can cause visible changes in the breasts, discomfort, and complications, or it may not cause any symptoms at all. The age and type of ruptured implant, as well as the patient’s desires, will determine whether a breast revision is necessary.

The risk of implant rupture has decreased over the years with the use of highly cohesive silicone gel implants and more advanced surgical techniques. Rupture is not considered an emergency, but it should be evaluated by your doctor or surgeon to ensure prevention of possible future complications.

Detecting Implant Rupture

Breast implant rupture can be detected by an MRI scan, a mammogram, your own observations, or your doctor. You may have a ruptured implant if you can relate to the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Tingling sensation
  • Visible deflation

A rupture that occurs without symptoms is contained within the implant pocket and is known as a silent rupture. This typically causes no harm to the body, and removal or replacement is up to the patient.

Detection of implant rupture with saline implants is easier because the implant will visibly deflate. It is also considered safer because the liquid saline solution is a more natural solution to be absorbed by the body. Newer versions of silicone implants contain a semi-solid (cohesive) material that does not migrate if the implant shell is damaged or punctured. Over time, the contents of the implant can leak into the capsule that surrounds the implant. The solution can also leak outside of the capsule and become absorbed into the lymphatic system. Currently, there is no scientific evidence linking ruptured implants with serious diseases, autoimmune disease, reproductive harm, connective tissue disorders, or breast cancer.

Causes of Breast Implant Rupture

Breast implants are not lifetime devices and can deflate up to three percent after three years. Deflation or rupture most often occurs for no apparent reason; implants simply become weaker over time. Weakness in one area of an implant often occurs near a fold. Trauma is another reason for rupture, along with accidental rupture due to poor or careless surgical techniques during breast augmentation surgery.

Preventing a Ruptured Implant

Silicone implants manufactured after 2009 that are highly cohesive have a lower rate of rupture due to their strong composition. If rupture does occur with a highly cohesive silicone type implant, it is more difficult to detect than with saline implants but is not considered harmful to the body. Patients can lower the risk of rupture by choosing this type of implant.

The FDA recommends an MRI scan three years after breast augmentation surgery and then subsequent MRI scans every two years thereafter to help detect silent ruptures in silicone gel implants.

Correcting a Ruptured Implant With Breast Revision

Correcting a ruptured implant involves breast implant exchange or removal. A capsulectomy is often performed to remove the scar tissue that surrounds the implant. Recovery from breast revision is about two weeks, after which patients can expect to have the larger, more youthful breasts they had after their initial procedure.

If you are interested in breast revision surgery with Dr. Allen M. Doezie, please schedule a consultation by calling 949.481.9850 or by filling out our online contact form.

Allen M. Doezie MD - Plastic Surgery Associations