ruptured breast implant


The world of cosmetic surgery has experienced great leaps in technology over the years, leading to an increased safety record and fewer complications. One area where plastic surgery excels, especially, is in body enhancements – more specifically, breast augmentation using saline and silicone implants. However, there could still be complications even with the most precise techniques and well-executed procedures. One such associated risk is ruptured breast implants.

Understanding Breast Implant Ruptures

Breast implant rupture is a condition that occurs when the outer silicone shell of the implant tears or ruptures. When this happens, the material inside can leak, causing changes in the breast's look and feel. Implant ruptures could be a result of natural aging of the implant, damage during surgical placement, capsular contracture, or mechanical forces such as severe compression. It's important to note that these causes may vary depending on individual circumstances and the specific type of implant used.

1. Age of the implant: The risk of rupture increases over time. Most manufacturers suggest that implants may need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.

2. Trauma: Accidents or injuries to the chest area can cause an implant to rupture. However, it would take significant force to rupture an implant, such as in a car accident.

3. Surgical error: During the breast augmentation procedure, the surgeon might inadvertently damage the implant, leading to a rupture.

4. Defective implant: Occasionally, an implant may have a defect that leads to a rupture.

5. Capsular Contracture: This is the immune system's response to foreign materials in the body. In the case of breast implants, it involves a hardening of tissue around the implant. The hardened capsule can squeeze the implant, causing it to rupture.

The severity of capsular contracture is graded on the Baker scale and ranges from I to IV. Grade I is normally soft and not palpable, Grade II is a little firm but appears normal, Grade III is firm and appears abnormal, and Grade IV is hard, painful, and looks abnormal.

Medical Statistics on Implant Rupture

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the risk of a saline implant rupturing is about 3% within the first three years, increasing to 7-10% at ten years. For silicone implants, the risk is slightly lower, with a rupture rate of about 2% within the first three years, increasing to 5-10% at ten years.

The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons suggests that the rupture rate for saline implants is around 3% to 5%, while the rate for silicone gel implants is 10% to 14% over a 10-year period.

Saline Implant Ruptures

Saline implants are filled with sterile saline, which your body can safely absorb in case of a rupture. When a saline implant rupture occurs, it deflates, typically causing noticeable changes in size and shape within just a few days. The saline solution leaks directly into the body and is naturally expelled. However, due to the deflation, surgical removal of the deflated implant shell is often required, and most patients opt for replacement.

Silicone Implant Ruptures

Unlike saline implants, silicone breast implant ruptures can be much harder to detect at first glance. This is because silicone implants are filled with a thick, sticky gel that tends to remain within the capsule of scar tissue formed around the implant or accumulate in the breast tissue instead of being absorbed by the body. This type of rupture is often termed a "silent rupture," as there may be no visible signs or symptoms. This is why women with silicone implants are advised to undergo regular MRI or ultrasound examinations to ensure that their implants are functioning correctly. A silicone implant rupture may cause breast shape changes, discomfort, or swelling over time, and the implant and any leaked silicone will need to be surgically removed.

To Sum Up

Despite the complications, it's essential to note that breast implants are not lifetime devices; the likelihood of rupture or other complications increases as they age. Therefore, patients with breast implants should be prepared for possible future surgeries related to their implants.

As always, patient safety is a paramount concern in any cosmetic procedure. So, remember to conduct a regular self-examination and schedule an annual check-up with your doctor. This ensures your implants are in good condition, providing early detection if a possible rupture or other complications were to occur.

Having breast implants requires a lifelong commitment to implant maintenance, so make sure you understand the potential risks and complications that can occur, like ruptures. Consider your decision carefully, be vigilant about monitoring your implants, and always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to ensure your bustline's continued health and beauty.