When Breast Implants Rupture
Posted on September 28, 2020
When a woman chooses breast implant removal, she usually has plenty of time to make her decision. In cases where implants have drifted, lost integrity or have become visible on the surface of the skin, she has space to weigh options and choose an appropriate surgical solution.
But when an implant ruptures, most patients will want to address the issue quickly. Implant rupture can cause pain, swelling and misshapen breasts. And although studies have failed to demonstrate clear health risks, allowing silicone gel to drift through your body is not a prudent choice. Below, experienced South Florida plastic surgeons Dr. David Rankin and Dr. Dev Vibhakar discuss what to expect in the case of an implant rupture.
Causes of Ruptures
A rupture is a tear in the silicone shell that encases the silicone gel or saline. Ruptures can also be caused by failure of a shell’s valve. The longer you’ve had your implants, the greater the chance you will experience a rupture.
The skill of your surgeon has a significant impact on the longevity of your implants. According to a 2013 study, a majority of silicone implant ruptures can be traced to damage to the shell caused by instruments during breast augmentation surgery. That said, even the most expertly placed implant won’t last forever.
Silicone’s Fantastic Voyage
Because saline is readily absorbed by the body, a saline implant rupture will have few, if any, side effects. Silicone will not be absorbed, and may in fact migrate to other areas of the body, invading the lymph system and traveling to the lungs. Scar tissue may form around silicone granules that have lodged in disparate areas of the body.
Sometimes when the outer layer of a silicone implant ruptures, there is little if any seepage of the silicone gel, but the tear can nonetheless distort the shape of the implant and breast. Symptoms can range from severe pain to no discomfort at all. The latter is often referred to as a “silent rupture.” An MRI may be needed to detect this type of tear.
At one time, it was believed that migration of silicone throughout the body was correlated with an increase in connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Several recent studies seem to disprove this theory, however.
The solution for implant rupture is surgery to remove the implant, scar tissue and any silicone gel that is accessible to the surgeon. At this point, some women choose to receive new implants, but an autologous procedure is also an option. This is a reconstruction procedure using your own body’s tissue to restore a natural profile after the removal of an implant.
To find out more about implant benefits and risks, please contact Aqua Plastic Surgery by calling our Jupiter office at (561) 776-2830 or our Ft. Lauderdale office at (954) 564-3832.