What Do I Do If My Breast Implant Ruptures?
Written by Megan Apa
21 October 2022
Most patients think that all they need to know about their breast implants is whether they’re choosing silicone or saline. But it is important to prepare for all of the possibilities when it comes to implants, even the unlikely and unfortunate ones. Like ruptured breast implants!
Whether you are choosing saline or silicone breast implants, ruptures are a possibility that needs to be considered. Both implants can rupture but in very different ways…
What Happens If a Silicone Breast Implant Ruptures?
A silicone implant is a silicone shell, filled with a thick silicone gel. These implants are also known as “gummy bear” implants or “cohesive gel” implants. This is because the silicone inside the implant is the same consistency as the inside of a gummy bear. Contrary to popular belief, if a silicone implant ruptures it does not leak or ooze out of the shell and into the breast pocket. Instead, it will mostly hold its shape until it can be removed and replaced.
A small amount of silicone may be released, but it will only leak into the implant capsule, which is the scar tissue that forms around the implant. Because the breast shape remains unchanged it is difficult to detect a ruptured silicone implant, this is known as a “silent rupture”. If left untreated for a long period of time, the breast may become firm or misshapen feelings of pain, tenderness, tingling, numbness, or burning may occur.
Don’t fret, a rupture of a modern silicone implant is very rare. In the small chance that your implant does rupture, it can be easily detected in an ultrasound or MRI. These tests are recommended every few years. It is important to note that all cohesive gel breast implants are covered by a manufacturer warranty and lifetime replacement policy free of charge. This ensures that patients love their results long-term without needing to worry about a rupture.
What Happens If a Saline Breast Implant Ruptures?
A saline implant is a silicone shell filled with saline, also known as salt water. The implant is inserted into the breast pocket and filled once inside, resulting in the smallest possible scars. One of the best parts about saline implants is that in the rare case that you have a ruptured implant you will know right away.
The saline will simply be released and absorbed into the body and the implant will deflate. The implant could deflate slowly over time with a small leak, or all at once with a larger leak. Although this may sound scary, saline is not harmful to the body at all. It's just salt water! If you choose a saline implant, you do not need to go for frequent MRIs because you will be able to see a ruptured implant almost immediately.
If you are concerned that your implant has ruptured you should make an appointment to see your plastic surgeon right away. Although there is no health risk when it comes to a ruptured saline implant, it is important to replace the implant as soon as possible. This will ensure that the breast pocket does not fully collapse, resulting in the shrinkage of the implant capsule of scar tissue that forms around the implant. If this does happen, the surgeon will need to create a new space for the replacement implant.
So, What Do You Do If Your Breast Implant Ruptures?
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that ruptured breast implants are very rare. The silicone shells of modern implants are very durable and can withstand most activity. If a rupture does occur, contact your plastic surgeon immediately. Although your health is not at serious risk from a ruptured implant, whether it is saline or silicone, you should have your implant replaced as soon as possible. Your surgical team can assess whether or not you are dealing with a rupture, and provide you with all of your options for implant replacement.