Your Breast Implant Broke: Now What?!

Current Trends in Breast Augmentation
Dr. Phillip Chang

Dr. Phillip Chang

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

Implant rupture is not entirely a bad thing.  The silver lining is that the situation allows for the opportunity to revise the breast appearance that you might have been putting off.  You may wish to get smaller or larger implants, you can change from saline to silicone implants, or you can take the opportunity to get a breast lift.

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Why Do Breast Implants Break?

There is a real potential for your breast implant to break if you keep your breast implants long enough. The research on how commonly a breast implant might rupture is very confusing because of the inability to accurately track the large variety of implant types since the last several years. 

In the United States, there are presently only 2 FDA approved implant manufacturers, but 30 years ago, there were at least a half dozen manufacturers.  And around the world, there still are many manufacturers. 

In addition, the quality of implants continue to improve. The older silicone implants were made of liquid silicone. Today, the newest generation of silicone implants are “semi-cohesive” or semi-solid gels that aren’t supposed to leak. The consequence of leakage of this new generation of semi-cohesive implants is not known.

Get Those Perfect Breasts Back

Think your implant has ruptured? Give us a call right away.

What Happens To You When They Break?

Saline Implants

Saline implants, as the name implies, is filled with saline (salt water). The shell of the implant is made of a hard silicone. Implants are mechanical devices that can break down over time.  The shell breaks down and may eventually crack.  

Patients with a saline rupture will often report that their breasts got smaller in a matter of hours. This is because the water that fills the implant will flow out like a water balloon. 

Fortunately, this process is quick, obvious, and safe…. it’s just water. The body will harmlessly absorb the water. The breast pocket will contract over the next 2 weeks so replacement or removal should not be delayed too long for more definitive treatment.

Silicone Implants

The newest generation of silicone implants are made of a thick cohesive-gel inside of a hard silicone shell. The older generations of silicone implants were made of liquid silicone. Regardless of their make-up, the implant needs to be removed.  

The benefit of the new thick cohesive-gel implants is that they were created to keep their shape and form if the shell were to break; this is in contrast with the liquid silicone which acted like water to leak into the surrounding tissue. This is, however, a mixed blessing; it also implies that you might not know that you have a rupture. 

For this reason, any suspected rupture should be investigated by ultrasound or MRI to check for a potential leakage.  The FDA recommends that women with silicone breast implants have a screening MRI every 2-3 years for peace of mind.

What Happens To The Implants When They Break?

Regardless of your type of breast implant, they need to be removed. Explanation is the medical term for breast implant removal. In general, implant removal can be more complicated than your initial surgery. It is important to ensure that you select a highly qualified surgeon who is experienced removing ruptured implants.

Saline Implants

As previously mentioned, if you have a saline implant rupture, you will easily know as you will often be able to observe that your breast gets smaller over a few hours. There is no need for extra studies. Saline implant removal is relatively straight forward. An incision is made in your old incision. The implant is found by finding and identifying the implant capsule. The implant is removed. A new implant can be replaced. 

 

Silicone Implants

Explantation of a  liquid silicone-filled breast implant can be very complex.  The rupture can be confirmed by ultrasound or MRI.  If the ruptures implant and its contents remain inside the breast capsule, an attempt is made to remove the entire capsule without breaking it.  If the implant capsule breaks or is entered, it is imperative to remove all of the liquid silicone.  This is the equivalent of removing “slime”.  Any remaining silicone that cannot be removed can turn into granulomas and crystals which may or may not have any consequence.  A new implant can be replaced.

Implant Replacement Is Normal!

Implant rupture is not entirely a bad thing.  The silver lining is that the situation allows for the opportunity to revise the breast appearance that you might have been putting off.  You may wish to get smaller or larger implants, you can change from saline to silicone implants, or you can take the opportunity to get a breast lift.

The Three Easy Steps Of Dealing With An Implant Rupture

GOOD NEWS: No studies are needed if you have an uncomplicated saline rupture.

#1: You will need an Ultrasound or MRI if you have a “suspected” silicone implant rupture.

#2: Remove the ruptured implant as soon as possible (but don’t freak out, it’s not an emergency!) regardless of implant type. 

#3: Replace implant if you want, or choose another surgical option. That’s it! 

The Ruptured Implant Is Removed... Now What?

You now have four real options for the breast which had its implant removed. 

#1: Leave the implants out with no replacement. 

#2: Change out your implants. Replace with a smaller or larger implant, or a different type of implant (saline or silicone). 

#3: Keep the status quo. Replace with the same type of implant you had before. 

#4: Have a breast lift with or without replacement of the breast implant.

 

Get Those Perfect Breasts Back

Think your implant has ruptured? Give us a call right away.

Conclusion

Breast implant breakage is an unfortunate potential given enough time. Dealing with an implant rupture requires a highly qualified surgeon experience with removing ruptured implants and highly complex breast revision surgeries. 

Dr. Phillip Chang in Virginia has a strong reputation with revision breast surgery that brings patients from all around the country. 

We encourage you to look on this unfortunate situation in the best possible light. Make lemons into lemonade. The silver lining is that the situation allows for the opportunity to revise the breast appearance that you might have been putting off. You may wish to get smaller or larger implants, you can change from saline to silicone implants, or you can take the opportunity to get a breast lift. 

Take this opportunity to continue to become your best self! 

 

FAQs about Implant Ruptures

Breast implant ruptures are unfortunate but it is not an emergency. We recommend, however, that you get in as soon as possible to deal with the situation. For saline implant ruptures, it is only water that leaks. But because the implant capsule will collapse, the longer you wait, the higher the potential that the scar tissue will form between the walls of the capsule making it more difficult to remove the implant or replace the ruptured implant with a new one.

For silicone implant ruptures, the silicone can potentially leak outside of the implant shell and into the breast tissue. And although there is theoretically no system risks from the leaked silicone, local silicone can cause granulomas that may be hard to remove if you wait too long.

Hopefully, you have purchased the extended warranty that can be purchased at the same time as your your original breast augmenation surgery.  If this is the case, the manufacturer will usually cover the new implant cost at no charge; the surgeons’s fee is usually the same as the initial placement; and if you hve a siicone implant, there will be an implant removal fee. You will need to have a consult for further information

Patients come from all over the United States to address their breast revision surgeries as will as dealing with a potential implant rupture.  These procedures can be extremely complicated and include specific techniques to deal with the leaked silicone as well as to reconstruct or perform a breast lift as necessary. In addition, many patients will have some fom of capsular contrature if it is a long-standing rupture.  Dr. Chang is known as an expert top doctor in dealing with complications due to breast implants and its reconstruction.

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Finding The Best Plastic Surgeon in Virginia

dr. chang is surrounded by the seven young ladies who work in his office

Dr. Phillip Chang is a leading plastic surgeon in Loudoun County who specializes in surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures for the breast, body, face, and skin. He is board certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is the founder of Aesthetica Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center in Leesburg, VA. Dr. Chang believes combining attentive care and minimally invasive techniques is the best avenue for achieving beautiful, natural-looking results.

Visit his office in Leesburg, Virginia in Loudoun County or fill out the contact form below for more information on how we can help you with your plastic surgery plans.

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Our office can provide you will helpful information, schedule a free consultation, and walk you through the process of having the procedure covered by your insurance.

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