There have been several studies that looked at the potential risks that might be associated with ruptured silicone implants. Researchers concluded that an implant rupture is a “relatively harmless condition.” The main risk arises from the potential of the silicone to spread to other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes where it can cause serious medical complications if not removed.
Previous generation implants lasted only 10 years; however, current generation implants last much longer and there is no timepoint when they should be replaced. Patients are recommended to have annual follow-up on breast implants.
What are silicone breast implants?
Silicone implants are filled with a silicone gel substance and are generally considered to be more life-like than saline implants. They were developed in 1962, mainly for breast reconstructive surgery patients who have had a mastectomy. It wasn’t until the 1980’s did breast implants explode in popularity for cosmetic purposes.
During this period, several people claimed that implants were unsafe due to the alleged risks of silicone implants rupturing. Despite the scientific community being unable to correlate diseases that were brought on by ruptured silicone implants, the FDA restricted their use to women having reconstructive surgery in the early 1990’s.
Silicone vs. Saline – Which is better?
Both silicone and saline implants have their pros and cons. Some women feel that saline implants are inferior, and don’t look or feel as natural as silicone ones. They also claim that saline implants are more likely to cause rippling of the skin – a dead giveaway of an implant.
Saline implants are only filled once they’re inside the breast pocket, so a much smaller incision is required than a silicone implant would need.
What Causes Silicone Implants to Rupture?
From time to time, silicone implants can fail. Most people call this a rupture, but it is not really a rupture but a tear in the shell of the implant. The vast majority of ruptured implants are due to mammograms. The FDA has reported that around 62% of ruptured implants are thought to have occurred during a mammogram.
Other causes could include:
- End of the lifespan of the implant
- Damage was done accidentally to the implant during initial or secondary surgery
- Wrinkling or folding of the implant shell which weakens structural integrity
- Blunt force trauma to the chest area
Saline implants can rupture just as easily as a silicone one can, however, the saline solution that leaks out will be harmlessly absorbed by the body. The primary cause for concern with a ruptured silicone implant is the potential spread of the silicone gel to other parts of the body where the potential for complications can occur.
How to Tell If Your Implants Have Ruptured
The older the breast implant, the higher the risk of it rupturing. In some cases, it is easy to tell that your silicone implant has ruptured. There will be a visible deformity of the breast, and it won’t look or feel right.
In other cases, the only way for a patient or doctor to tell if an implant has ruptured is to have an MRI or ultrasound performed. Sometimes an implant will burst on its own without any noticeable signs or symptoms. This is why it’s recommended that women who have silicone implants get checked every few years – to be on the safe side.
Some other symptoms of a ruptured implant could include:
- Slow implant deflation over time
- Loss of breast size or shrinking of the implant
- Burning, numbness, swelling, or tingling of the breast
- Breast suddenly seems to “harden” and feel very unnatural
- Lumps or knots around the implant or armpit area
What to Do If a Rupture Occurs?
If only one breast implant has ruptured, it’s usually more cost effective to have them both replaced or removed. The cost of replacing or removing one implant is very similar to having both done. If one implant ruptured due to it nearing the end of its lifespan, it’s very likely that the other implant will rupture soon after.
The best thing to do is to see a surgeon and explain any out of the ordinary symptoms you might be experiencing. During surgery, the doctor will try to remove as much of the leaking silicone material as possible.
Ruptured Breast Implant Solutions in Dallas
If you have had or suspect a breast implant rupture, give our offices a call at (214) 965-9885 or schedule an appointment. Dr. Adams is a nationally-renowned breast implant expert and can help answer any additional questions you might have regarding saline or silicone implants rupturing. We accept patients from all over the country and are conveniently located within a 15-minute drive of Dallas Love Field Airport.