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What Should Be Done About A Ruptured Breast Implant?

By: Dr. Christopher Khorsandi


Breast augmentation complications are fairly rare, but they can occur. Furthermore, synthetic breast implants – whether silicone or saline – are not meant to last forever and will likely need replacement at some point in a woman’s lifetime. One possible reason for breast implant replacement or removal is implant rupture. Internationally renowned board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Khorsandi and the award-winning team at VIP Plastic Surgery are committed to patient health, safety, and satisfaction through the most advanced and effective cosmetic breast surgery techniques available in Las Vegas, NV. Use this helpful information to learn more about breast implant rupture, including what options you have should you experience this complication.

What causes a breast implant to rupture?

There are a number of possible causes for breast implant rupture, including:

  • Implant malfunction
  • Surgical error
  • Trauma
  • Excessive pressure
  • Implant aging

Both saline and silicone gel implants have the potential to rupture, though this complication is still fairly rare. However, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of implant rupture and know what to do if you suspect that you have a ruptured breast implant.

How do I know if my breast implant is leaking?

A ruptured or leaking breast implant may cause mild to severe symptoms for some patients, though others may experience a "silent rupture," which produces virtually no apparent signs or symptoms. For this reason, it is important to undergo routine breast examinations with your primary care physician or surgeon to ensure the integrity of your breast implants and identify any possible malfunctions. The signs and symptoms of a ruptured breast implant often differ depending on the type of implant:

  • Saline implants: In the majority of cases, a ruptured saline implant will be immediately obvious. When the saline leaks out of the implant shell, the implant will deflate and result in a visible asymmetry between the breasts. The saline solution can be safely absorbed by the body, though patients typically opt for immediate breast implant replacement to address cosmetic concerns and restore breast symmetry. Furthermore, patients can develop an infection or other complications if a ruptured implant is left untreated. Common signs of a ruptured saline implant include:

  • Asymmetry between the breasts
  • Deflated breast
  • Pain
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Headache

  • Silicone implants: Ruptured silicone implants may be more difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms can be subtle or, in some cases, completely absent. In fact, MRI is often the only way to definitively identify silicone breast implant rupture. Signs and symptoms that may indicate your silicone implant has ruptured include:

  • Firmness in the breast
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Change in size or shape of the breast
  • Lump in the breast
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Nausea or vomiting

What do I do if my breast implant ruptures?

If you suspect that your breast implant has ruptured, it is important to call your surgeon right away to confirm the rupture and discuss your options for implant removal or replacement. For patients who still want implants, it is likely that new implants can be placed at the time of removal. This may depend on the patient’s anatomy, the severity of the case, any additional complications, and other factors. In some cases, patients may opt for a new size or type of implant at the time of removal and replacement. Other women may prefer to have their implants permanently removed after a rupture. In this situation, Dr. Khorsandi may recommend breast lift and/or fat transfer to the breast to remove excess skin and restore a more youthful, natural contour.

Whether you are interested in having your implants removed or replaced, it is important to address a ruptured implant immediately to avoid further complications. Once Dr. Khorsandi has assessed the situation, he will make recommendations about removal vs. replacement, the most appropriate method for removal (capsulotomy, capsulectomy, etc.), and other aspects of the procedure. In many cases, removing or replacing both implants is recommended. Although only one implant may have ruptured, replacing both implants can help to achieve better symmetry. Furthermore, when an implant ruptures due to age or weakness, it is more likely that the other implant will rupture in the near future, making bilateral removal or replacement a beneficial step.

Ensure your health and safety by knowing the signs of breast implant rupture

The chances are good that you may never experience breast implant rupture, though it is a possibility. Make sure you know the signs and symptoms of breast implant rupture so that you can have your implants replaced or removed right away to avoid further complications and restore the feminine figure you desire. If you suspect that your breast implant has ruptured, call the caring team at VIP Plastic Surgery to schedule your face-to-face or online consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Khorsandi today, and learn more about your options for breast implant replacement or removal in Las Vegas, NV.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.