Breast Implant Rupture: What Signs to Look Out For


When you decide to undergo breast augmentation, the last thing you want is to think about complications. Unfortunately, complications are always a possibility, regardless of the surgical procedure you decide on.

Breast implant rupture refers to a saline or silicone implant developing a tear or hole. Even though it’s not as common as you might think, it’s still important to recognize the signs. The earlier this problem is treated, the better it is for you. If the implant material leaks out and reaches the surrounding breast tissue, further complications are possible.

Breast implant details state that they need to be replaced every 10 years. However, this is only if the quality of the implant is compromised. Implants are more resilient than people are lead to believe.

Breast implant rupture symptoms vary based on implant age, brand and the insertion method used during surgery. If it’s determined one or both implants have ruptured, there are various solutions to consider.

Breast Implant Rupture: The Usual Causes

In the uncommon instance that your implant rupture, it’s more than likely due to one of these reasons:

  • Certain types of implants wear and tear differently, which can make rupture more likely. A surgeon who positions these implants incorrectly can accelerate the process.
  • While most physical activities won’t affect implants, intense trauma such as a car accident can cause a rupture.
  • It’s possible for an implant to sustain a microscopic perforation during surgery, which can lead to rupture later on. Perforation can also occur when the breast is biopsied.
  • Breasts that are compressed during a mammogram can contribute to the likelihood of rupture but this is uncommon with modern implants.
  • Older implants with softer shells are more likely to rupture than modern implants.

Overall, trauma to the breast needs to be intense in order for the implant to rupture.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Breast Implant Rupture

Symptoms won’t be the same for everyone and vary based on the type of implant. Here are some of the signs that one or both implants have ruptured.

  • Reduction in breast size. This is particularly true with saline implants. A saline implant deflates in 2 to 3 days if it ruptures – the surrounding tissue absorbs the saline solution. Seeing a dramatic difference in breast size is a clear sign that a rupture occurred.
  • Change in breast shape. A ruptured silicone implant will affect the shape of the breast. Since the implant is filled with a gel material, the change is very gradual. If the gel reaches the surrounding breast tissue, granulomas form around it. The hard tissue that forms is what eventually alters the shape of the breast.
  • If you experience an ongoing ache in one of the breasts, it could be a rupture. As the implant material pushes against the breast tissue and muscle, inflammation and skin stretching occurs.
  • Lastly, discovering a new breast lump could also be a sign of breast implant complications.

Diagnosing Breast Implant Rupture

If you suspect that a rupture has occurred, it’s important to contact your surgeon as soon as possible. A consultation is scheduled to fully examine the breasts and make a diagnosis.

In some instances, an MRI is required for a full diagnosis. Unfortunately, this can be costly and very small perforations can’t always be identified. Ultrasound technology can also be used to determine whether an implant as ruptured.

If the signs are obvious enough, your surgeon won’t require any special scans.

Options for Correcting Breast Implant Rupture

Breast implant ruptures require corrective surgery, which can be more complicated than the original procedure.

Patients can remove both breast implants or simply replace the ruptured implant. If both implants have aged, it’s best to replace both at the same time.

During surgery, along with removing the implant, your surgeon will also need to remove any granulomas and scar tissue that’s formed. It may also be necessary to remove the implant capsule.

Prior to surgery, patients can also decide whether they want to insert a new type of implant, which is when both implants are replaced.

In some instances, your surgeon may insist that you remove your implants for several months before replacing them. These specific options are discussed during your consultation along with the cost of each.

Since breast implant rupture is a medical necessity, there’s a good chance the procedure will be covered by your insurer.

Should you choose to use a different surgeon for your corrective surgery, take the time to do some research. While the procedure may be urgent, it’s essential that you find the right surgeon to assist you. The alternative is ending up with unsatisfactory results that may require a third procedure.

Overall, breast implant rupture is not a major concern, especially if you have modern implants. However, it still helps to know what signs to look out for.


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