Breast Implant Rupture | Deflation

We all worry about breast implant deflation and rupture. The good news is that breast implants are extremely durable. They can withstand a great deal. However, breast implants are not lifetime devices. Unless you are near the end of your life, you will likely need more surgery in the future. While ruptures can happen at any time after implantation, they are more common as the implant ages. The older the implant is, the bigger the risk of rupture.

Causes of Breast Implant Rupture

Breast implants can rupture for a variety of reasons.

  • Folds or creases in the implant shell causes friction. The constant friction can weaken the implant shell, resulting in a rupture or slow deflation.
  • Damage to the implant by surgical instruments
  • Injuries such as hard falls or any direct, forceful pressure to the chest
The implants can be damaged during insertion.
  • Closed capsulotomy, which is purposeful and forceful squeezing of the implant.
  • Mammography screenings can damage implants if too much force is exerted.
  • Severe cases of capsule contracture can squeeze the implant to the point of rupture.
  • They can just “wear out” over time.

Saline breast implants can deflate quickly, or over a period of time. For example, in the event of a bad fall, the impact on saline breast implants can cause an immediate rupture. If the implant is damaged enough, it will deflate rather quickly. On the other hand, if there is an issue with the valve, such as a slow leak, it may take considerably longer for the rupture to become noticeable. The main symptom of a saline rupture is a loss of volume.

Silicone Gel Breast Implant Rupture

Today’s generation of silicone gel breast implants don’t rupture. While the shell can break, the silicone does not “run out” of the shell like saline. This is because silicone gel breast implants are very viscous, meaning that the silicone gel sticks together, as shown in the video below.

Most of the time, silicone gel breast implants are “silent”, which means the rupture doesn’t produce any symptoms, and is often undetected until it is found on a breast MRI. However, physical symptoms can occur with silicone breast implants, including:

  • Hard knots or lumps surrounding the implant or in the armpit
  • Change or loss of size or shape of the breast
  • Pain, tingling, swelling, numbness, burning, or hardening of the breast

Because most ruptures don’t produce the symptoms noted above, breast implant manufacturers recommend that women with silicone breast implants have an MRI with breast coil every 2-3 years, as this method is the only non-invasive way to properly diagnose a ruptured silicone breast implant.