In this article, we provide answers to some of the most common questions regarding breast implant rupture. We discuss the lifespan of most breast implants, what happens during implant deflation or leak, and the signs of a ruptured implant. We also explore how to minimize the risk of such occurrences and what to expect during breast augmentation revision surgery in case you do need to replace a ruptured implant.
It is hard to predict how long breast implants will last. Some implants will last a lifetime, while others will require replacement in as little as five years. The general lifetime of breast implants is somewhere between ten and twenty years.
Saline Implant Deflation – If your saline implant ruptures, you or your physician should be able to tell within a few hours or days. It will deflate and the saline solution will be naturally absorbed by your body. During this process, your breast will revert to its original size, though the skin might be considerably more loose and potentially droopy from being stretched by the implant.
Silicone Implant Rupture – If your silicone implant ruptures, it will be harder to detect. Because silicone is so cohesive (a consistency similar to Jell-O), meaning that it sticks together, the leakage is more likely to be minimal. It can take several weeks to months before you experience symptoms of leakage. For this reason, the FDA has recommended that an MRI be performed three years after the initial surgery, and then every two years after that to screen for leaks.
Recent advancements in the science of breast implants have made them safer and more durable than ever, but it’s still possible that you will have to replace or remove your implants eventually due to leakage or deflation. Saline implants have a failure rate of 2% per year, while silicone implants have a lower failure rate of 0.5% per year. If this happens, you may require a revision surgery.
There are a few safety measures you can take to reduce your risk of implant rupture. Avoiding certain activities may reduce some of your risk.
The best way to protect your implants is to avoid high-contact sports or other activities that may result in physical trauma to your chest. It’s also recommended that you have an MRI every two to three years if you have silicone implants to screen for possible leaks.
If you experience a rupture or leak in the months or years following surgery, you will need revision surgery to correct the problem. The details of surgery will likely be similar to your original procedure. Anesthesia will be required, and your surgeon will make an incision (typically in the same place as your original surgery) to remove and replace the implant.