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Broken Breast Implants

There is an urban myth that breast implants need to be changed every ten years. Not true. In fact, breast implants are guaranteed by the manufacturers for life. As a general rule, if you have breast implants and have normal mammograms, your breasts are soft, and you are not having any difficulties with your implants, there is no need to change them. However, breast implants can break or leak. When this occurs with saline implants, the implant will deflate like a flat tire. You may go to bed a full C cup and wake up an A cup. When silicone implants break or leak, it may go by completely unnoticed until seen in a routine screening mammogram.

The treatment for either broken saline or silicone implants is to remove and/or replace the implants. The removal and replacement of saline implants is generally relatively straightforward…the broken implant is removed and replaced with a new implant. In the case of broken silicone implants, removing the broken implant and its filling material can be significantly more complex. This is particularly so in older silicone implants (pre-1994) when the silicone filling was a semi-liquid and the outer shell was relatively fragile. Current modern silicone implants have a much more durable outer shell and a semi-solid cohesive silicone filling. In cases in which old silicone implants have ruptured or leaked, the implant shell, the implant filling material and the outer capsule (scar tissue that the body forms around implants) should all be removed as much as possible. Simply removing the implant shell and filling material, while expedient, is not adequate. It is important to note that while the implant and its contents should be removed, the extruded silicone is not a health threat. It is a condition that ultimately should be addressed, but is not an emergency requiring immediate surgery.

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