A rupture of a breast implant means that a small hole or tear has formed on the outside or shell of the implant. Remember, all implants have scar tissue layer surrounding the implant. This scar tissue layer, called a capsule, is permeable to saline, but not silicone. Therefore, the saline would leak through and be absorbed by the body. One side would go flat over a couple days or week. If a silicone implant is ruptured, the breast size won’t shrink because the breast capsule contains the silicone.
Why do breast implant ruptures occur?
The most common reason is wear and tear. Depending on the implant used, the average lifespan for an implant is 12-15 years. An implant might rupture for a variety of reasons, including capsular contracture, underfilling of a saline implant, impact, trauma or extreme pressure.
How do I know if my implant ruptured?
You will notice that the breast looks smaller and is deflating. Your breasts become asymmetrical. The process is fairly fast. The saline leaks out of the implant and into the body. With saline, the water is absorbed back into the body.
A silicon rupture or leak is harder to diagnose. The breast capsule traps the inner silicone layer, so there is no change in the breast size. This is often called a “silent rupture.” Many patients with a ruptured silicone implant will develop capsular contracture. The exposed silicone irritates the scar tissue inducing a hardening of the implant, which will change the shape of the breasts. Less commonly, tenderness or pain will develop in advanced stages of capsular contracture.
If there is fear of a “silent rupture” an MRI is the best test to evaluate the implant. It should be mentioned that the FDA recommends MRIs every other year for all patients with silicone implants starting three years after surgery.
My implant is ruptured, now what?
1. If you feel your implant is ruptured, it is important to find a qualified plastic surgeon to perform the revisionary surgery. Depending on the patient’s desires and their anatomy, there are several options. Simply remove the breast implant and scar tissue.
2. Remove the implant and tighten the skin (breast lift).
3. Remove the implant and replace with a new implant.
There is also silver lining to revisionary surgery; you can now make changes to anything you weren’t happy with in your old implants.
Do you have a ruptured implant? Dr. Hubbard is experienced with the removal of older implants and implant revisionary surgeries.
If you believe that larger, fuller, or perkier breasts would improve your quality of life, call Dr. Hubbard’s office for a consultation. He and all the staff of the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute are friendly and professional, and will walk you through every step of the process.