You have your new breast implants and are pleased with your new shape and size. But what happens if that shape and size changes? All breast implants, whether silicone or saline, have an outer shell that can potentially rupture. Saline implants can also develop valve issues that can contribute to leaks.
Knowing what to watch for and how to take care of your breast implants will help you reduce the risk of any problems or complications.
Potential Causes of Rupture
Breast implant ruptures can happen for a variety of different reasons. As the implants age, they can deteriorate. Trauma, such as sport-related injuries to the chest or auto accidents can cause ruptures. Needles used in a biopsy or excessive pressure during a mammogram can also contribute to rupture.
Signs Your Implant Has Ruptured
Signs of a breast implant rupture will depend on what type of implant you have. Saline implants that rupture or develop a valve problem will leak saline into the body relatively quickly. And the body will absorb this saline. Your breasts will lose shape and volume, appearing deflated.
Silicone implant ruptures are a little more difficult to notice and many women do not notice a rupture at all. This is because the gel inside of a silicone implant is thicker and not absorbed by the body. With new silicone implants, the outer shell may rupture, changing the shape of the breast, but not reducing the volume. The rupture can cause tissue irritation, resulting in pain and breast tenderness, lumps or hardening in the breast. In many cases, silicone ruptures are only detected using MRIs.
What to Do If You Suspect a Rupture
If you notice changes to the volume or shape of your breasts and suspect a rupture, talk with your plastic surgeon immediately. In most cases the breast implant will require removal, but you can choose to have another implant put in place, often during the same procedure.
Regular Breast Implant Monitoring and Rupture Prevention
Breast implants are not made to last forever, so regular monitoring by your plastic surgeon is essential. In the case of silicone implants, regular MRI monitoring is recommended every two years to look for silent ruptures. Avoid sports or activities that could potentially affect your breast area. When having mammograms, be sure to let the technician know you have implants and what kind they are.