All implants tend to wear out sooner or later. Your surgeon will definitely let you know about it before carrying out the surgery. So be ready that one day your implants may leak, and you may need another surgery to correct it. Some implants don’t leak (read about the pros and cons of gummy bear breast implants here). However, rupture is something you will have to experience in time.
So what happens when implants leak and are there any side effects of this process? When saline implants leak, it’s very easy to detect even without seeing a doctor. You will notice that the affected breast has become much smaller and different in shape. It happens because of deflation – one of the symptoms of rupture and leakage. When saline implants leak, the affected breast will most likely deform.
Another possible sign of a leaking breast implant is a burning sensation in the affected breast. Normally a saline implant leaks quite rapidly, just like a deflated balloon. So in the majority of cases leakage becomes very obvious. Your saline implant is filled with sterile salt water which poses no health risks if rupture occurs. Your body will absorb this water harmlessly.
What happens when silicone breast implants leak?
It’s often very difficult to tell if your breast implant has ruptured and is leaking if it’s silicone gel-filled. In many cases only magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can identify rupture. As for the leakage of silicone devices, it happens very rarely with modern implants. In the majority of cases silicone gel doesn’t travel far from the implant if its shell ruptures.
Here’s what usually happens when your silicone implant leaks:
- you may feel pain and soreness in the affected breast
- you may notice unusual hardening or softening of the affected breast
- the size and shape of the affected breast may change
- lumps may form in the breast area
Silicone gel that leaks outside the capsule (fibrous tissue that forms around the implant) may migrate away from the breast. As a result, lumps may start forming in the breast, armpit or arm areas. Usually removing silicone gel that has migrated to other parts of the body is rather problematic for a surgeon. When it comes to modern medicine, however, silicone gel doesn’t travel far from the implant.
Some silicone ruptures are called ‘silent’. When they occur, there are no signs that something wrong has happened: your implants look as usual, you don’t feel any unusual pain or discomfort. If you’re looking for breast implants that don’t leak, our article Gummy bear implants vs. silicone implants may help you learn more about the difference between traditional silicone and cohesive gel implants.
Because detecting ‘silent’ implant rupture with just physical exam is not always possible, implant manufacturers and Food and Drug Administration are suggesting that women undergo regular MRI’s to evaluate their implants for possible leakage. If leakage occurs, it’s very important to diagnose it as soon as possible and remove the implant from the affected breast.