Women who receive breast implants or plan to get them soon should know that each type comes with a unique design, made to last for many years. Modern innovations and improvements in medical science have made breast implants extremely flexible and durable to withstand the activities and stress of everyday life over the past years.
When compared to the first generation of breast implants, back in the 1960’s, women now feel more confident that their implants will stay in place for a good number of years. However, in some rare cases, breast implants have the tendency to rupture. A rare scenario, this may happen unexpectedly, even before the implants reach their complete life.
A rupture of a breast implant after breast augmentation surgery means that a small tear or hole forms on the outside of the implant shell. Remember that all breast implants have a scar tissue layer (capsule) that surrounds the implant. This capsule is permeable to saline, but not silicone. Thus, the saline could leak through and absorbs into the body. If this happens, one implant may go flat just over a couple of days or sometimes, weeks. However, if a silicone implant ruptures, the size of the breast does not shrink because the scar tissue layer contains the silicone.
What Is the Cause of a Breast Implant Rupture?
While there is no particular way to actually know the cause of a breast implant rupture, most board certified plastic surgeons believe that the common reason is wear and tear. The average lifespan of an implant depends on the type of implant used, but usually, they can last for about 12 to 15 years.
Furthermore, an implant may rupture for a variety of other reasons, including:
- Trauma or stress to the breast implant from intense physical activity
- Severe scar tissue around the implant (capsular contracture)
- Underfilling or overfilling of the implant
- Excessive handing at the time of the implantation
Will You Know If There Is a Rupture?
With a saline breast implant, it is easy to detect a rupture, as the breast appears smaller and deflates. Depending on the rupture size, whether it is a large break or a small leak, saline leaks out and you will notice a sudden change in the shape and size of your breast. This process is fast, where the saline leaks and absorbs into the body.
Silicone implant ruptures, however, are hard to see and diagnose. The breast capsule traps the silicone layer inside, so there is no actual change in the size of your breast. Often, this goes by the term “silent rupture.” Patients who experience silicone implant rupture develop capsular contracture. The silicone exposed then irritates the scar tissue and hardens the implant, soon changing the shape of the breasts. In advanced stages of capsular contracture, pain or tenderness may develop in the chest.
If you fear a silent rupture, rest assured that an MRI is the best test, since it helps to evaluate the implant. You should also know that the FDA recommends MRIs every year for women with silicone implants, after three years of their cosmetic procedure.
The Best Approach for Ruptured Implants
With advancements over the years with implants, a ruptured implant does not put you at any level of risk or cause major health issues. If you feel something is not right with the implant, it is important that you consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform a breast revisionary surgery.
Depending on your desires and your figure or anatomy, there are many options when it comes to picking the perfect breast implant size. During breast revision surgery, your plastic surgeon can perform a breast lift, or replace the implant with a new one.
Implant revision surgery comes with a positive aspect, and you can feel free to ask your plastic surgeon (choose a board certified, well-experienced one) for any changes you desire. Before you decide to remove or replace your breast implants, make sure that you ask your surgeon for more information on the possible risks, the recovery phase and the care tips you need to follow for the best outcome.