One of the most notable risks of breast implants is rupture/deflation.
What is a Rupture?
A breast implant rupture refers to a process where the outer shell of the implant is broken, creating a hole or tear that allows the substance inside the implant (either saline or silicone gel) to release. After a rupture, different types of breast implants react differently. A saline-filled implant will deflate and the solution will either partially remain in the shell or move into the scar tissue that surrounds the implant. The filling of silicone implants, on the other hand, typically stays within the shell and are harder to detect.
See why the new silicone implants are safe and do not leak if punctured
Ruptures are a risk that come with the breast augmentation procedure. They can be caused by a number of different factors. Some of these include surgical mistakes (like improper placement, over handling during treatment, under- or overfilling saline implants or accidental damage from surgical tools), natural causes (such as physical trauma, general wear and tear, or by capsular contracture) and complications from medical procedures like mammogram compression or biopsy and fluid drainage affecting the breast.
Removal of breast implants is necessary following a rupture.
SALINE-FILLED BREAST IMPLANT RUPTURE
Saline-filled breast implants are capable of rupturing or deflating. The patient or doctor is able to identify a ruptured saline breast implant due to the loss of the breast’s size and shape. Following rupture a saline-filled implant will leak saline solution into the body over a period of several days.
Certain procedures can interfere with saline implants, causing rupture and deflation. The FDA advises against surgical procedures that involve implant alteration, stacking (placing more than one implant in a single breast pocket), injections that penetrate the implant, closed capsulotomy (manual squeezing of the breast — a technique used in addressing capsular contracture) and allowing drugs or substances (other than sterile saline) to be inserted or come into contact with the implant. Any of these factors can cause the implant to rupture and deflate.
SILICONE-FILLED BREAST IMPLANT RUPTURE
A patient and their surgeon are less likely to notice the rupture of a silicone gel breast implants due to the gel being much thicker than saline and often remaining within the implant or leaking into scar tissue following rupture. Silicone ruptures become noticeable due to the breast changing size or becoming uneven, hard lumps appearing and changes in sensation (like tenderness, pain, swelling, burning, numbness or tingling) developing.
When these symptoms aren’t present it generally means the silicone gel hasn’t leaked outside of the implant. These cases are referred to as “silent ruptures” and are difficult to notice because the implant looks and feels almost completely normal. Most patients discover silent ruptures after their physician has conducted a physical examination or used an MRI scan to screen the breasts. These tests are recommended every few years because a ruptured silicone implant can leak gel that migrates to tissue in the arms, armpit or chest wall and becomes extremely difficult or impossible to properly remove.
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