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Orange County Up A Cup™ Breast Enhancement

Saline and Silicone Implant Ruptures: How They Differ, and What to Do In Each Scenario

Plastic surgeon and patient discuss choice of breast implants for breast augmentation.

Breast implants are generally considered safe and effective in enhancing breast size and shape. However, like any medical device, breast implants are not immune to complications. One such complication is implant rupture, which occurs when the implant's outer shell or silicone filling tears or breaks.

There are two main types of breast implants: silicone and saline. Silicone implants are gel-filled, offering a more natural feel and appearance. Saline implants are filled with a sterile saltwater solution and are typically considered safer if they rupture.

Breast implants are not permanent and must be removed or replaced at some point. The risk of implant rupture varies based on the type of implant, its age, and other factors such as the patient's medical history, surgical method, and lifestyle.

If a breast implant ruptures, the silicone or saline solution used to fill it can leak into the surrounding tissue. This can result in breast pain, edema, and changes in form or appearance. Although some ruptures may not cause symptoms, they can still be diagnosed with routine imaging procedures such as an MRI or ultrasound.

Women with breast implants should schedule regular follow-up appointments with their plastic surgeon to minimize the risk of rupture and ensure the implants remain in good condition. Any symptoms or changes in breast appearance should be promptly reported to a medical professional.

What Are The Symptoms of a Ruptured Breast Implant?

Breast implants are classified into two types:

  1. Implants made with saline

  2. Implants made of silicone

The symptoms that may indicate an implant rupture vary dependent on the type of implant. Continue reading to learn more about saline and silicone implant rupture symptoms.

Saline Breast Implant Rupture

A ruptured saline breast implant is usually evident because the body absorbs the saline solution, and the breast deflates, causing a significant change in the form and size of the damaged breast. Typical symptoms of a burst saline implant include:

  1. A rapid change in breast shape or size: If one breast suddenly gets smaller or deflated, this could signal that the implant has ruptured.

  2. Some women may experience pain or discomfort in the damaged breast if the implant ruptures.

  3. Skin wrinkling or rippling: Leakage of the saline solution can cause visible or palpable wrinkling or rippling of the skin.

  4. Breast tissue hardening: A ruptured implant can cause the breast tissue to harden or feel stiff, indicating a problem with the implant.

A saline implant rupture can be diagnosed using imaging tests such as an ultrasound or an MRI in addition to these physical signs. These tests can aid in confirming the diagnosis and provide further information regarding the degree of the rupture.

A burst saline implant must usually be surgically removed or replaced. The patient's unique circumstances will determine the particular treatment, the amount of the rupture, and other criteria, such as the patient's medical history and surgical technique.

Silicone Breast Implant Rupture

Because silicone gel is thick and does not leak out of the implant like the saline solution, discovering a ruptured silicone breast implant can be more difficult than detecting a ruptured saline implant. The following are common symptoms of a ruptured silicone implant:

  1. Changes in breast shape or size: If one breast changes shape or size, this could indicate a ruptured silicone implant. However, changes in breast shape or size may be caused by other factors such as weight loss, aging, or hormonal changes.

  2. Pain or discomfort: If the implant ruptures, some women may experience pain or discomfort in the damaged breast, but this is not always the case.

  3. Breast tissue hardening: A ruptured silicone implant can cause the breast tissue to harden or feel stiff, indicating a problem with the implant.

  4. Breast appearance changes: A ruptured silicone implant may cause the breast to appear deformed or asymmetrical.

Diagnostic techniques such as an MRI or ultrasound can assist in confirming a ruptured silicone implant diagnosis, although these tests may not always detect minor or gradual leaks. 

When a silicone implant ruptures, the implant must usually be medically removed or replaced. The exact treatment will vary depending on the extent of the rupture, the patient's unique circumstances, and other considerations, such as medical history and the surgical approach. Women with silicone implants should be informed of the potential hazards and schedule regular follow-up meetings with their plastic surgeons to monitor the implants and ensure they are in good condition.

Is a Ruptured Breast Implant Considered To Be Dangerous?

The risk of a ruptured breast implant is determined by several factors, including the type of implant, the size of the rupture, and the patient's health and medical history.

When a saline implant ruptures, the saline solution is absorbed by the body and is generally considered safe. Nonetheless, it can still cause pain, swelling, and changes in the contour or look of the breast, and it will almost always need to be surgically removed or replaced.

When a silicone implant ruptures, the thick silicone gel can migrate into the surrounding tissue and, in rare cases, result in breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a form of lymphatic cancer. While BIA-ALCL is curable, early discovery and treatment are critical for a positive outcome. A ruptured silicone implant can also cause pain, swelling, and changes in the contour or look of the breast, and it must usually be surgically removed or replaced.

Treatments for Breast Implant Ruptures

Treatment for breast implant rupture is determined by various factors, including the type of implant, the extent of the rupture, and the patient's anatomy and medical history. The following is a summary of the treatment options for breast implant rupture:

  • Removal of the ruptured implant: If a breast implant ruptures, it must usually be removed. The surgical procedure chosen will be determined by the extent of the rupture and the patient's unique circumstances. In some cases, the implant may be removed with a tiny incision in the breast, while a bigger incision may be required in others.

  • Replacement of the ruptured implant: Following the removal of the implant, the patient may elect to have a replacement implant inserted to restore the appearance of the breast. Depending on the patient's specific circumstances, this may be done at the time of implant removal or later. Another popular option is a fat transfer breast enhancement. 

  • Complication monitoring: Women with breast implants should be aware of the potential hazards associated with the devices and regularly consult their cosmetic surgeons to monitor the implants and ensure they are in excellent condition. If an implant ruptures, the patient should be closely followed for potential problems, such as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a rare lymphatic cancer.

Fat Transfer Correction with AirSculpt® Technologies

Suppose you've had your implants removed but are still interested in restoring the volume your breasts had before the implants ruptured or even regaining the implant's volume naturally. In that case, our AirSculpt® Fat Transfer Correction can suitably help you achieve those aesthetic goals.

We should note that AirSculpt® does not provide implant removal treatments. Instead, our body sculpting experts can re-till the breasts using a patient's fat once the implants have been removed.  

The AirSculpt® Fat Transfer Correction offers the benefit of removing stubborn fat, allowing patients to tackle two issues at once. If needed, patients can easily add more fat to one breast to address previous asymmetrical or uneven results.

All of these changes are delivered without using needles, scalpels, or stitches, with patients fully awake. Breast implants require general anesthesia and lengthy downtime, but with AirSculpt®, patients return to their daily routines as soon as one to two days later. This is a suitable solution for those who want to reduce traditional surgery's notable downsides yet still achieve a dramatic body contouring result.

At our Orange County body sculpting office, we ensure that our patients enjoy a serene and luxurious experience from start to finish. For more information on how we can help, call any of our 25+ AirSculpt® locations to schedule a free consultation.


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