How to Spot a Ruptured Silicone Breast Implant

Silicone Breast Implant

A silicone breast implant is a prosthetic device used to enhance the size, shape, and appearance of breasts in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. There are two main types of breast implants: saline and silicone. While breast implants can provide patients with increased confidence and a more desirable appearance, complications can occur, with one of the most concerning being a ruptured silicone breast implant.

The possibility of complications arising from breast implant surgery should always be considered and discussed with a qualified plastic surgeon. Patients should understand the risks associated with their chosen implant type, as well as the potential for complications to arise. In this article, we will discuss the causes, signs, and symptoms of a ruptured silicone breast implant.

Understanding Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone breast implants are filled with silicone gel, a substance that closely mimics the feel of natural breast tissue. This type of implant has become increasingly popular due to its natural look and feel when compared to saline implants. However, silicone breast implants can rupture, causing the silicone gel to leak into the surrounding tissue and potentially causing complications.

When a silicone implant ruptures, it can be more difficult to detect than a rupture in a saline implant. A ruptured saline implant will typically deflate quickly, making the issue immediately apparent. In contrast, a silicone implant rupture may not be as noticeable, as the silicone gel can remain within the fibrous scar tissue (capsule) that forms around the implant, a condition known as a «silent rupture.»

Causes of Silicone Implant Rupture

There are several factors that can contribute to a silicone implant rupture, including:

  1. Implant age: The older an implant is, the higher the risk of rupture. Most silicone implants have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years.
  2. Trauma: Accidents, falls, or any forceful impact to the chest can cause the implant to rupture.
  3. Surgical error: Incorrect handling or placement of the implant during surgery can lead to rupture.
  4. Manufacturer defect: Although rare, defects in the implant’s shell can cause it to weaken and eventually rupture.
  5. Capsular contracture: This is a complication in which the scar tissue around the implant tightens, leading to increased pressure on the implant and potentially causing it to rupture.
Silicone Breast Implant, Causes of Silicone Implant Rupture

Signs and Symptoms of a Ruptured Breast Implant

Signs and Symptoms of a Ruptured Breast Implant

Detecting a ruptured silicone breast implant can be challenging, as the symptoms may not be immediately apparent. Some common signs of a ruptured silicone implant include:

  1. Changes in breast shape or size: A rupture may cause the affected breast to appear smaller, uneven, or misshapen.
  2. Pain or discomfort: Some women may experience pain, tenderness, or swelling in the affected breast.
  3. Lumps: Formation of lumps in or around the breast can be a sign of silicone gel leakage.
  4. Changes in breast sensation: Some women may notice a change in the sensation of their breast or nipple after a rupture.

It is important to note that not all women will experience these symptoms, and some may have no noticeable signs of a ruptured implant at all.

How Long Can You Leave a Ruptured Silicone Implant?

There is no definitive answer to how long a ruptured silicone implant can be left in place, as the risks and complications associated with a rupture can vary from patient to patient. Some women may experience no issues with a ruptured implant, while others may develop more severe complications.

It is generally recommended that patients with a known or suspected ruptured silicone implant consult with their plastic surgeon as soon as possible to discuss their options. In some cases, the surgeon may recommend immediate removal and replacement of the ruptured implant, while in others, they may suggest careful monitoring of the situation.

Breast Implant Removal and Replacement Options

If a silicone implant rupture is identified, your plastic surgery specialist might suggest one of the following courses of action:

1- Extraction of the implant: The damaged implant can be surgically excised, permitting the breast to recover without an implant replacement.

2- Implant extraction with a capsulectomy: Alongside the removal of the ruptured implant, the surgeon could also undertake a capsulectomy. This procedure consists of eradicating the fibrous tissue (capsule) that has developed around the implant.

3- Implant extraction and substitution: The compromised implant can be taken out and supplanted with a new implant, either silicone or saline-based.

Dr David Delgado Talk about, Implant Removal Technical.

The selection of the appropriate treatment will hinge on the patient’s unique circumstances, the intensity of the rupture, and the patient’s personal preferences and objectives.

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Silicone Breast Implantn Breast Implant Removal and Replacement Options

Preventing Complications and Maintaining Breast Implant Health

While it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of complications associated with breast implants, there are steps that can be taken to minimize these risks and maintain the health of your implants:

  1. Choose a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon: Selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in breast implant surgery can help reduce the risk of complications.
  2. Follow post-operative care instructions: Adhering to your surgeon’s recommendations for post-operative care can help promote proper healing and reduce the risk of complications.
  3. Attend regular follow-up appointments: Regular check-ups withyour plastic surgeon can help detect and address any potential issues before they become more serious.
  4. Be aware of changes in your breasts: Regular self-examinations and awareness of any changes in your breast size, shape, or sensation can help detect any potential issues early on.

It is also important to note that breast implants are not lifetime devices and will eventually need to be replaced. Patients should discuss the lifespan of their chosen implant type with their plastic surgeon and plan for potential replacement surgery in the future.

Preventing Complications and Maintaining Breast Implant Health

Know the 10 Reasons to have Plastic Surgery in Colombia.

Dr. David Ricardo Delgado Plastic Surgeon in Colombia

Dr David Delgado Plastic Surgeon


Dr. David Ricardo Delgado Anaya is a surgeon who graduated from the Industrial University of Santander, Colombia as a maxillofacial surgeon and from the University of Antioquia as a postgraduate professor. He has worked at some of the best places in the country, such as the San Vicente Hospital Foundation, the IPS University Clinic Leon XIII, the Pablo Tobon Uribe Hospital, the Noel Clinic, the Clinic La Americas, the CES Clinic, and the Hospital San Rafael.

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While breast implants can provide patients with increased confidence and a more desirable appearance, they do come with the potential for complications. A ruptured silicone breast implant is a serious issue that can lead to discomfort, pain, and potentially more severe complications.

Patients should be aware of the signs and symptoms of a ruptured implant and seek medical attention if they suspect an issue. Regular check-ups with a qualified plastic surgeon and adherence to post-operative care instructions can help minimize the risk of complications and maintain the health of your breast implants.

If you suspect a ruptured silicone implant, do not hesitate to consult with your plastic surgeon to discuss your options. Remember that early detection and treatment can help prevent more serious complications down the line.

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