Most people who seek breast implants are naturally curious about the possibility of breast implant ruptures. Urban legends and stories seen on television have inspired concerns about such events. Experts at places such as the Mayo Clinic can calm these fears and give potential patients useful information about how to handle these events.

In the 1990s, several people leveled accusations at the manufacturers of silicone breast implants. Some implants had ruptured, and patients suggested that any number of maladies struck them as a result. More than a decade of testing and observation by the FDA showed that breast implant ruptures could cause discomfort but not anything as serious as the accusations suggested.

Given a long enough period of time, any implant is likely to rupture.  Implants are not expected to last a patient’s lifetime.  If a patient chooses to have an implant, she should understand that at some time, she will need to have that implant removed and replaced.

If an implant does rupture, you may be able to tell from a few likely symptoms. Otherwise unexplained breast pain can indicate many different things, but a ruptured implant is one possibility. If it is a rupture, then the breast may change shape or suffer an alteration in contour. In addition, you may see lumps form on the exterior of the breast or even notice a hardening at the surface.

When an implant is put in place, the breast heals, and a fibrous tissue typically forms around the implant. This tissue may be so strong that a rupture will go unnoticed as the fluid or silicone is effectively trapped within this network of fibers. There is little danger associated with such a condition.

If the rupture is noticeable and causes discomfort, the best thing to do is visit a doctor and schedule a procedure to have the implant removed or replaced. Removal may entail a breast lift to preserve some of the previous appearances of the breasts. Replacement would have to happen anyway at some point. In any case, breast implant ruptures should not be ignored. Having your surgeon assess the situation is always the best option.

Dr. Elizabeth Harris is retiring, she will no longer be doing surgeries, but she will be available for existing patients until January 31st, 2023.DIRECTIONS