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What Should You Do if Your Implants Rupture?

Posted January 05, 2021 in Breast Implant Rupture

4 Minute Read:  Breast augmentation surgery remains one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for women worldwide. Cosmetic surgery techniques and research regarding breast augmentation continue to evolve. Many new procedures are now available to offer women options to look and feel their best with minimal risk and optimum safety. Breast enhancement surgeries, including breast implants and fat grafting, are designed to be as safe and long lasting as possible, with many surgeons and researchers making ongoing attempts to improve outcomes and safety.   Close up image of woman's breasts in gray bra.   However, implants are not natural and were never designed to be permanent lifelong devices.   Like anything else, the effects of time can change how breast implants look, feel, or position themselves. Since every woman and every procedure is different, it can be hard to tell if or what changes may occur. Women who underwent breast augmentation surgery with breast implants may find themselves unsatisfied years later due to changes, such as sagging or drooping breasts, increased skin elasticity, changes in breast position, or even a ruptured implant. It can be frightening to think of the possibility that complications from breast implants may arise, especially from a ruptured implant. However, Dr. Strawn’s office is always on hand to help any woman who has experienced a ruptured breast implant get the problem solved while still maintaining her desired cosmetic appearance. 

How Does an Implant Rupture Happen?

Breast implant ruptures can occur after repeated bending, pressure, or other trauma breaks down the outer shell of the implant, causing the material inside the implant to escape. This typically happens several years after the initial surgery when aging and wear can make the outer shell of the implant weaker. Most implant ruptures are not considered to be life-threatening, but immediate attention is warranted.  Patient who has experienced breast implant rupture on right breast.

What Are the Signs of Implant Rupture?

With saline implants, the outer shell of the implant may rupture or “pop” when wear and tear or trauma affects the implant; this causes the saline solution inside the implant to leak out and spill into the breast pocket and is usually subsequently absorbed into the body. A saline rupture is typically not considered dangerous, as the saline water is sterile and can be safely absorbed by the body, but there is no guaranteed absence of contaminants.   Before and after image showing implant rupture. Silicone implants are more likely to leak or ooze rather than just pop like a saline implant, and because of the gel-like nature of the silicone inside the implant, the leak may be much slower than with a saline implant rupture. This means many women may not notice a silicone implant rupture right away.  Signs that a rupture may have happened include:
  • Sudden increase or decrease in breast size, especially with saline implants
  • A drastic change in breast appearance
  • Breasts that feel painful, tender, or swollen
  • Hardening or lumps in breast tissue
Many women with implant ruptures, whether saline or silicone, have little-to-no symptoms. Silicone implant ruptures are often deemed a “silent rupture” because of this, and many women need an MRI scan to diagnose and find a silicone implant rupture.  Ruptures may cause other immune-related health issues as free silicone can be highly immunogenic. They may also be uncomfortable for many women and adversely affect breast appearance. 

How to Treat an Implant Rupture

It’s important that any woman who decides to get breast implants is informed on the lifespan of the implants and the aftercare involved. No surgery is forever, and women who have breast implants should ensure they receive annual checkups, preferably with the same surgeon who performed the breast augmentation. Women with silicone implants are advised to get an MRI scan three years after their initial surgery, then every two years after. Women should also make self-checkups a regular habit. Regular checkups will help women be able to tell if an implant may have ruptured. If a rupture has occurred, Dr. Strawn’s office offers a few different techniques to correct the issue, along with addressing any other issues with breast implants or other cosmetic breast surgery procedures. While an implant exchange may be used to remove and replace the ruptured implant, total en bloc capsulotomies with an implant holiday (a period with no implant) may be warranted for the best results.    And ultimately, a mastopexy (or lift) and fat grafting may be used to replace the need for an implant altogether.   Dr. Strawn will combine various breast revision techniques, such as breast lift surgery and fat grafting, along with implant removal or exchange to get you the appearance you desire. Every surgery will be different based on the patient, the type of incision and implant used, and the type of rupture involved. Scultura Plastic Surgery offers customizable care tailored to each patient’s needs. 

Interested in Learning More?

Worried you might have a breast implant rupture? Call Dr. Strawn’s office at 949-612-7231 to schedule a consultation soon. Dr. Strawn is a breast implant removal specialist with years of experience dealing with ruptured breast implants.

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