Do I Have To Remove A Ruptured Breast Implant?

Approximately 3.5 million people in the United States have breast implants. Often placed for cosmetic purposes, implants are positioned either above or below the pectoralis muscle. Implants can be saline or silicone. A possible complication of breast augmentation is implant rupture or leakage. The question often asked is whether a leaking implant must be removed.

Saline or Silicone?

The first issue to determine when answering this question, is whether the implant is saline or silicone. All implants will have a fibrous capsule that develops around them, which is called the capsule. It is the human body’s reaction to a foreign body. Implant rupture that is contained within the capsule is referred to as an intracapsular rupture. If the leakage extravasates outside the capsule, then it is referred to as extracapsular leakage.

Saline Implants

If a saline implant leaks, the saline solution is harmless and becomes absorbed by the body. The shell of the implant remains though. Although not necessarily dangerous, the collapsed implant can become uncomfortable if the edges press against the overlying skin. A ruptured saline implant will always be intracapsular as the saline solution is absorbed. The sign of a ruptured saline implant is deflation of the breast resulting in it looking smaller and more wrinkled compared to the breast within an intact implant.

Silicone Implants

When evaluating a leaking silicone implant, it is important to determine whether the rupture is intracapsular or extracapsular. An intracapsular leakage can form capsular contracture which is where the fibrous capsule around the implant becomes thicker and harder. This makes the implant feel very firm and unnatural. Capsular contracture can also cause implant malposition, shifting the implant to an unnatural superior position within the breast. Breast asymmetry then occurs. Extracapsular leakage has the added complication of silicone gel leaking into the breast tissue. This causes scar tissue to form in the breast and manifests as a breast lump. Older silicone implants are less cohesive than newer ones and tend to have more extravasation. Silicone from a leaking implant can also travel to the lymph nodes.  Therefore, removing a ruptured silicone implant is important and should be done if the operation is safe for the patient. Obtaining mammograms with a leaking implant can be more difficult due to capsular contracture which causes firmness. Also, the compression during mammography can cause further extravasation of an already leaking implant.

Get A Consultation

The best thing a woman can do if she suspects or wonders whether her breast implants are leaking is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon. The appropriate testing can then be obtained to determine whether removal should be performed.

What Happens If You Don’t Replace Breast Implants?

If you are considering undergoing either a breast augmentation or reconstruction surgery, you are probably wondering whether breast implants are lasting. You may wonder whether they can rip, decompress, or maybe even cause health complications. These are all questions that you should definitely ask your surgeon prior to surgery.

One simple answer is that it varies on a case to case basis. The sustainability of your breast implants depends largely on your lifestyle and the patient’s body. In some cases, the implant type as well as how carefully the surgery was done may also have an effect. Most women typically have the wrong idea of how long breast implants last.

Debunking the Myth

One common myth is that breast implants have to be replaced every 10 years. The idea of possibly having to spend a large sum, as well as make time for recovery, again in the somewhat near future leads many women to reconsider their procedure. However, the idea that breast implants must be replaced every 10 years is false.

How long your implants last depends on your body and the type of implant. Each implant has its own life span and it is important to note that these are only estimates. It is not guaranteed to last for, for example, 20 years. However, it is not uncommon for women to choose to replace or remove their implants in order to achieve an updated look.

It is estimated that the average life span of your typical breast implant will last 10-20 years without having any complications. The FDA reports that only a mere 20% of women had complications before reaching the 10-year mark.

Why Would I Need to Replace My Implant?

Leaks and Ruptures

There are risks for all surgeries and procedures. With breast augmentation or reconstruction comes the risk of implant ruptures and leaks. However, if this does occur, surgery is not needed right away for medicinal reasons. These leaks are potentially harmless, however, you may want to have your implant replaced for cosmetic purposes.

The most common reason for the implant to rupture is time, although mammograms and trauma to the breasts have been known causes as well. With saline implants, any leaking fluids are automatically absorbed by the body, however, silicone implants have more durability. Even if the silicone implants rupture, the silicone will stay inside the implant.

If your saline implant has ruptured, you may notice an obvious change in the appearance of your breasts. With silicone implants, this may be trickier and it is recommended to undergo an MRI every few years. This will show if your silicone implants have ruptured.

Capsular Contracture

Capsular contracture is another common reason for having your implants replaced. Because your implants are a foreign body, your body may form scar tissues around them. If the scar tissue becomes extremely thick, the implant may become painful.

The case of this condition depends on your body. For instance, one case of capsular contracture could have a slight effect on the implants, whereas the other could result in swollen, painful breasts.

This is treated by removing the implants and scar tissue and possibly replacing them if you still wish to have implants. Your surgeon will place the implants into a new pocket of your breasts.


The last reason for undergoing an implant replacement is age. Aging has natural effects onn the breasts. They may sag and the implant may become noticeable. This is due to hormonal changes within the body.

In addition, pregnancy and breastfeeding can also alter the appearance of the breasts. These reasons may have women undergoing the procedure in order to restore their breasts.

Schedule a Consultation

Dr. Lorraine Golosow, MD is located in Florida and specializes in female plastic surgery. Whether you are looking to undergo breast augmentation or implant replacement surgery, contact us today for a consultation. We will go over your options and discuss the best plan for you.

Your Breast Surgery Options Explained

A woman’s breasts can impact her self-esteem and self-confidence significantly. There can be changes in the breasts from aging, weight fluctuation, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and even diseases such as cancer. Thankfully, there are numerous surgical options available for women that can give them the breast look they want and improve their quality of life. 

Breast Surgery Options

Every woman’s body and goals are different. There are options for any need. Some surgeries can be combined, as well. Here are breast surgery options that you and your surgeon can choose from:

  1. Breast Augmentation: When your breasts are not the size you want or are asymmetrical, breast augmentation can help. This is one of the most popular surgeries performed because it helps women feel more confident and can give better shape, volume, and contours to the breasts.
  2.  Breast Implant Exchange: After a woman has had augmentation, she may eventually decide on a breast implant exchange, also called a revision. This procedure entails removing the current implant and putting in a new one. Some reasons this surgery is done are due to capsular contracture, rupture, wanting to change the size or shape of the implant, or wanting to change the type of implant.
  3. Breast Implant Removal: Sometimes, a woman may decide to remove the implants permanently. It can be because she experienced problems with her implants, or sometimes she just wants to go back to the natural size and shape of the breasts instead of the current augmented one.
  4. Breast Reduction: When a woman’s breasts become excessively large, they can cause great discomfort to her. The weight can cause back and postural issues that impact the quality of life. If a woman is faced with these problems, she may decide to reduce the size of her breasts surgically to help. This surgery can reduce and eliminate pain and other issues caused by large breasts such as sell-consciousness or the inability to do activities she loves.
  5. Breast Lift: Aging, pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and breastfeeding can impact the firmness and volume of the breasts. They may begin to sag and droop. A breast lift can help them sit higher on the chest and look more youthful and firmer. Sometimes breast lifts are combined with augmentations or reductions to give the best results.
  6. Breast Reconstruction: Breast cancer can sometimes cause a woman to lose her breasts via mastectomy. This is a necessary surgery, but the loss of one or both breasts can impact a woman emotionally. There are methods to reconstruct breasts after mastectomy. The two main options surgeons have are implants or using the patient’s tissues to rebuild and give them a new breast or breasts. Having this surgery can help a woman celebrate survival and also help her heal emotionally at the same time. She will feel more feminine and like her old self again.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are interested in one or more of these procedures, call Lorraine Golosow, MD. and her staff today to book your consultation.

Help! My Breast Implant Ruptured!

breast implant fort myers

Every kind of breast implant is constructed with an outer shell made from silicone. The silicone can develop a hole or tear, which is called a rupture. As time goes on, the chances of your implants leaking or rupturing becomes higher. What do you do if an implant ruptures?

Recognizing a Ruptured Breast Implant

There are a surprising number of circumstances that can cause an implant to rupture. Ruptures aren’t always caused by a hard impact or trauma. As the implant ages, it naturally becomes less sturdy and more susceptible to rupturing. At that point, any number of things can cause damage. You might experience trauma in a car accident, have a needle inserted through the implant during a biopsy, or have a rupture caused by damage to the implant caused during the first surgery.

Saline Ruptures

Saline and silicone ruptures are different in their presentation. Saline ruptures and leaks can occur due to damage or a failing valve. The leak causes the saline to exit the implant over a few days, which then leads the breast to appear deflated. The deflated appearance immediately indicates that it’s ruptured. Because the body absorbs the saltwater, there aren’t immediate consequences from the leak itself.

Silicone Ruptures

A silicone rupture involves gel instead of liquid saline. Since the gel solution is thicker, it leaks much more slowly. Some people don’t notice their silicone implants have ruptured for a while because they don’t cause the same rapid deflation as a saline rupture. The body is not capable of absorbing silicone gel.

The signs might be more subtle than an obvious deflation. Your breasts might gradually change in size and shape. You might also experience tenderness that escalates into increasing pain, swelling, and firmness as the gel continues to leak. The rupture can lead to capsular contracture. If your rupture doesn’t present with symptoms, it’s called a “silent rupture.”

Implant Rupture Screening

Since silent ruptures are a possibility, the FDA has screening guidelines to check for rupture problems. The first screening should occur three years following the original implant surgery, and then every two years following that. Having health insurance cover the screenings might be difficult, so you will need to discuss options with your doctor’s office.

Correcting an Implant Rupture

Unfortunately, yes, a ruptured implant is a cause for corrective surgery. This remains true whether the rupture involves gel or saline. During the surgery, the implant will be removed. Depending on the circumstances, your surgeon might remove the scar tissue capsule that surrounds the implant, or they may opt to cut through the capsule by creating small incisions. Even if only one implant is ruptured, most surgeons will remove both implants during the surgery. Any silicone that’s leaked beyond its capsule will also be removed by your plastic surgeon during the surgery. You can get breast implant replacement surgery in order to keep the look that you gained with the implants before they ruptured. Speak with Dr. Golosow about your options during a consultation appointment today!