Can My Breast Implants Rupture?

Can my breast implants rupture? There’s always a chance that a breast implant can leak; here are the signs that you may have a broken implant, and what you should do next.

Breast implant ruptures do occur with both saline and silicone gel breast implants. Ruptures can be the result of damage during implantation, a fall, other trauma or (rarely) the pressure exerted on the breast during a mammogram. More commonly, implants fail over a 10- to 20-year period due to aging of the device. Signs and symptoms can include changes in the shape and/or feel of the breast. Rupture may also be diagnosed by breast imaging such as mammograms or MRI. Here, Vancouver plastic surgeon Eric Pugash explains what breast augmentation patients should know about breast implant rupture.

Saline Implant Ruptures

Saline implant ruptures are relatively easy to detect. The breast rapidly loses volume as the saltwater filling leaks out of the implant shell. The saltwater is safely absorbed into the body and excreted in the urine. Patients presenting with rupture of a saline implant will note loss of volume in the upper pole of the breast and possible visible rippling of the underfilled shell. Dr. Pugash recommends that a ruptured saline implant be removed and, if the patient wishes, replaced with a new implant.

Silicone Implant Ruptures
Ruptures of silicone gel breast implants are often “silent,” meaning there may be no symptoms noticeable to the patient.

In the case of a silicone implant rupture, the breast usually maintains most of its normal size. When the implant shell breaks, the leaking silicone stays in the body, typically within the implant pocket. Rarely, it may spread outside the breast area. It has been shown that this does not result in any increased risk of disease or other complication. Nonetheless, if a silicone implant ruptures, Dr. Pugash recommends removing it and any loose silicone gel — and, if desired by the patient, replacing it with a new implant.

Though premature breast implant ruptures are rare, it is important to be aware of the possible risks when making decisions about breast augmentation. To learn more about the safety of breast implants, please contact Dr. Pugash by calling (604) 522-5199 to book a consultation.