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A breast implant rupture is a rare condition where an implant shell breaks and leaks saline or silicone solution into the body.  The leading cause is primarily due to the normal aging of the implant; however other reasons, including applied pressure or trauma to the area or underfilling an implant, may also be to blame. It can cause discomfort, irritation, and an uneven breast appearance. Dr. Silvia Rotemberg and the excellent staff at Rotemberg Plastic Surgery are delighted to offer patients relief by removing breast implants altogether or replacing them with a newer model. Together, patients will work through solutions that provide comfort and confidence. Call our Miami office today at (305) 539-7083 to schedule an initial appointment.
- 1 About an Implant Rupture
- 2 About Treatment
- 3 Benefits
- 4 Candidates
- 5 Personal Consultation with Dr. Rotemberg
- 6 Preparation
- 7 Procedure
- 8 Recovery
- 9 Results
- 10 Corresponding & Complementary Procedures
- 11 Cost
- 12 FAQ
- 13 References
About an Implant Rupture
Breast augmentation is a commonly performed, safe procedure that has boosted self-confidence in women worldwide. The highly customizable treatment allows patients to increase breast size with synthetic implants. Their rewarding, long-lasting effects can last ten years, or even longer. But although rare, complications may develop before then.
As soon as an implant is inserted, the body responds by surrounding it with tissue known as a fibrous capsule.  This reaction is entirely normal and ensures the implants are secure in the body and won’t affect the surrounding tissues. When an implant rupture happens within the confines of the fibrous capsule, it is referred to as an intracapsular rupture.  Conversely, leakage outside the fibrous capsule is known as extracapsular rupture. Saline implants usually result in an extracapsular rupture because the body can easily absorb the solution. Silicone is not absorbable and can lead to health complications.
What Causes an Implant to Rupture?
Implants happening within 20 years of insertion are considered premature.  The causes of an early rupture include:
- Normal aging of the implant
- Underfilling a saline implant
- Direct trauma or applied pressure to the breasts
- Damage caused by surgical tools
- Manufacturing defects
- Surgical error
Patients concerned about the integrity of their implants should have an MRI or ultrasound to confirm evidence of rupture so treatment can begin. Once confirmed, patients have two options: remove or revise their implant.
Women who no longer want implants can choose from a removal treatment that restores their original breast contours. Dr. Rotemberg will use the same incision marks from the initial breast surgery to easily remove the implants. However, patients showing evidence of scar tissue that causes the breast to harden (capsular contracture) will have an en bloc capsulectomy to remove both the tissue and capsule simultaneously. 
A revision surgery helps patients keep their enhanced look or upgrade the breast size with a newer implant. At your consultation, Dr. Rotemberg will present different options regarding different implant sizes, textures, and shapes. To perform the procedure, Dr. Rotemberg will make incisions in the same location as your first breast surgery to avoid causing any additional scarring. Then, the implants are removed, and the new ones are secured in place.
Patients opting for either surgery will get the opportunity to achieve their ideal breast profile with or without implants. Patients desiring a complete removal, may reduce pain in the breasts, back, neck, and shoulders caused by overly large, heavy implants. In addition, the absence of implants eliminates the risk of future ruptures, capsular contracture, or other health complications. By comparison, revision patients can keep their results consistent or upgrade their breast size with a simple exchange.
Any patient experiencing implant rupture or leakage should consider surgery. Consulting with Dr. Rotemberg will assess your case and determine which treatment suits you. She’ll explain that prospective patients should:
- Be healthy without concerning breast-related illnesses such as cancer
- Want to eliminate discomfort or the risk of a rupture or leakage
- Be comfortable with undergoing surgery to remove or exchange implants
- Have realistic expectations for the surgery
Personal Consultation with Dr. Rotemberg
A consultation with Dr. Rotemberg will determine which treatment will help your specific case. First, she’ll evaluate your physical health, past surgery, and unique contours during your meeting with her. Then, she’ll examine the breast profile, including any scars. You are encouraged to ask questions and voice your concerns throughout the process. This critical information will help her make a customized medical evaluation for your specific case. Finally, she will explain your customized treatment plan and describe how you can benefit from a removal or exchange treatment.
Patients receiving either removal or exchange treatment will receive their own set of personalized instructions to follow before their surgery date. However, completing the following items will make your surgical experience more manageable.
Dr. Rotemberg will tell patients to manage:
- Smoking: Cut off smoking until recovered. Cigarettes and similar products can slow down the blood flow necessary for your recovery.
- Medication: Discontinue medications prescribed by your doctor, including anti-inflammatory and blood thinners. They can cause unnecessary bleeding.
- Prescriptions: Pick up the prescribed antibiotics and pain relievers from your preferred pharmacy.
- Transportation: Select a loving friend or family member to take you home. You may feel groggy from the effects of anesthesia.
- Work: Tell your boss you need to take 1-2 weeks off from work to heal.
Patients curious about the results they can anticipate can look through our before and after pictures of past patients and view our educational video on breast augmentation.
Your surgical experience will start by maximizing your comfort with anesthesia. After that, the following steps will depend on your unique circumstances. Here’s what your pathway to an optimal breast contour may look like:
- Breast Implant Removal: Patients wanting a complete removal of their implants will first have incisions made in the same areas as their initial enhancement surgery to minimize additional scarring. On the other hand, en bloc capsulectomy patients will have longer incisions made around the breast profile. Then, the implant and the surrounding scar tissue , are removed.
- Breast Implant Revision: Patients wishing to continue life with implants will simply have their old ones exchanged with a newer implant.
At the end of your treatment, the surgical incisions are sutured closed, the area is protected with a compression bra, and you will be approved to return home.
Most patients will feel confident to rejoin their regular activities within 1-2 weeks and strenuous movements within 6-8 weeks. However, during the first few days of recovery, you may feel slight discomfort, tenderness, stiffness, and swelling. This is normal and should improve in a few days with the help of antibiotics and pain relievers. In addition, some patients may have drains placed in the surgical area to collect excess fluids. We’ll schedule post-operative appointments to monitor your progress over the next few weeks. During this time, we will remove the drains, the surgical bra, and any non-dissolvable sutures.
Patients of either treatment will see an immediate, long-lasting difference in their contours and comfort level. Removal patients will restore original contours without worrying about discomfort. By comparison, revision patients will keep or boost the size of their breasts.
Corresponding & Complementary Procedures
If you’re looking to make further revisions to the breast profile, you can select from several treatments offered by Rotemberg Plastic Surgery. At your consultation, we may also discuss other treatments, including:
A lift procedure can be performed simultaneously with an implant removal or revision. Once the implants are removed or exchanged, the breast mass is lifted higher on the chest to provide better projection. At the end of the surgery, patients can look forward to a youthful, perkier breast contour.
Fat transfer for the breast provides patients who still want the benefits of larger breasts but prefer to do so without implants. The procedure simply removes fat from targeted areas of your choice and redirects it to your breasts to provide a natural-looking aesthetic.
Paying for your implant removal or revision surgery will depend on your circumstances. We’ll discuss your anticipated out-of-pocket expenses at your consultation and direct you to helpful resources. Patients are encouraged to look out for our deals to maximize their savings.
Can a ruptured implant cause serious illnesses such as cancer?
Ruptured breast implants mainly cause an uneven breast appearance and mild discomfort. However, it is believed a ruptured implant is not enough to cause breast cancer, other health problems, or arthritis. If you suspect a rupture, please schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon. They can perform an MRI or ultrasound and offer treatment options.
- Gossman, W., Shikhman, R., & Moufarrege, R. (2019, November 11). Breast Implant Rupture. Nih.gov; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459308/
- Headon, H., Kasem, A., & Mokbel, K. (2015). Capsular Contracture after Breast Augmentation: An Update for Clinical Practice. Archives of Plastic Surgery, 42(5), 532. https://doi.org/10.5999/aps.2015.42.5.532