Ruptured breast implants are one of the breast augmentation risks and one of the more common reasons why patients may require breast revision surgery following breast augmentation. The reality is, as with any man-made device, failures can and sometimes do occur.
Our breast augmentation New York offices offer breast revision from our surgeons in New York City and Long Island to fix breast implant ruptures. While implants can rupture for a variety of reasons, it is often simply a matter of the outer shell weakening over time and with age.
In general, breast implants last an average of ten years. Rupture can occur in both saline and silicone gel implants. It can occur early on, for instance with damage from surgical instruments during surgery.
Leakage is also more common when overfilling or underfilling saline implants and with the transumbilical incision location.
Leakage can also occur more gradually, particularly with silicone gel implants or if there is a damaged or unsealed fill valve in a saline implant.
Excessive physical trauma, capsular contracture, closed capsulotomy and excessive compression during mammography can also lead to ruptured breast implants.
The Signs of Ruptured Breast Implants
There are two different types of breast implants: saline and silicone gel. Ruptured breast implants are typically easier to detect in saline than silicone gel. Saline implants deflate much like a balloon deflates and, though deflation may happen suddenly or slowly, it is usually easy to detect within a matter of hours to days.
With slow leaks that occur with a damaged or unsealed fill valve, however, deflation can take a month or so. A saline implant rupture is typically characterized by a loss in breast size and shape. The breast will become smaller and often feels wrinkled as well.
Since saline is simply salt water, any saline that leaks from the implant will be harmlessly absorbed by the body. However, with saline implants that were filled during surgery, mold and bacteria can grow inside the implant. This can potentially make the patient sick as the implant deflates. A suspected ruptured saline implant can usually be confirmed by physical examination by our breast augmentation New York specialists.
Silicone gel implant ruptures are generally harder to detect because these implants tend to hold their shape more and do not deflate like saline implants. While some patients may notice a slight loss of volume over time, many silicone gel implant ruptures often go unnoticed.
This is often referred to as a silent rupture and if the rupture goes unnoticed long enough, the silicone gel can leak from the implant, either remaining inside of the capsule or migrating to other areas of the body. If a leak goes unnoticed long enough, the body may form a thick layer of scar tissue around the leaking silicone.
This can lead to capsular contracture and may be characterized by breast hardening or a change in breast shape. If a silicone implant rupture is suspected, our breast implants surgeon may recommend an MRI.
Ruptured Breast Implants Can Be Fixed
Suspected breast implant ruptures can be confirmed by physical exam in the case of saline implants or by MRI in the case of silicone gel implants. If rupture is confirmed, corrective surgery for breast implant replacement should be considered as soon as reasonably possible.
Correcting ruptured saline implants is a fairly quick procedure with minimal discomfort. The ruptured implant is removed and a new implant is placed in the existing pocket. If the previous incision was placed under the arm, it is easy to swap the implant through the same incision so no additional scarring occurs.
Removing ruptured silicone gel implants are generally a more involve process because excess scar tissue that may have formed must be removed along with the ruptured implant. This typically requires that a new incision be made below the breast in the breast crease.
Depending on the age of your implant, the implant may be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and some of the costs of implant replacement due to deflation may then be covered.
To learn more about revision surgery for ruptured breast implants, schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons today. We have two convenient offices in New York City and Long Island.
Women concerned about breast implant ruptures also read this related post.
*This page does not communicate the full list of complete risks and potential complications from this surgery. To receive a list of post-op risks & complications, please contact our office. The information on this page is not intended to be used as medical advice in any way. Always consult with your doctor for any health related concerns.