Breast Implant Rupture: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment | PreferredMD
Plastic Surgery

Breast Implant Rupture: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

Condition • By Biraj Patel

Breast augmentation is a popular cosmetic procedure that can enhance a person's self-confidence and body image. While breast implants are generally safe and well-tolerated, there is a possibility of complications, one of which is breast implant rupture. 

Understanding breast implant rupture

Breast implant rupture refers to the breakage or tear in the outer shell of a breast implant, leading to the leakage of the implant's contents into the surrounding tissue. Ruptures can occur in both saline and silicone implants. The symptoms of a rupture may vary, and early detection is crucial for prompt intervention.

Breast implant rupture symptoms

Breast implant rupture symptoms and signs can include:

  • One of the most noticeable signs is a sudden change in the shape and size of the breast. The affected breast may appear deflated or asymmetrical compared to the other breast.
  • Some individuals may experience pain, discomfort, or a sensation of pressure in the breast.
  • Ruptured implants may cause visible rippling or wrinkling on the surface of the breast.
  • The breast may become hard, tender, or unusually firm to the touch.
  • Some individuals may experience changes in nipple sensation or numbness in the breast area.

Is a ruptured breast implant an emergency?

While a ruptured breast implant is not a life-threatening emergency, it should be addressed promptly. If you suspect a rupture, it is crucial to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon. They can evaluate your condition, recommend appropriate tests, and guide you through the next steps.

Preventing breast implant rupture

While it may not be possible to completely eliminate the risk of breast implant rupture, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood.

  • Regular monitoring: Schedule routine follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon to monitor the condition of your implants.
  • Avoid trauma: Minimize activities that could put excessive pressure or strain on the breasts, such as vigorous exercise or contact sports.
  • Choose quality implants: Opt for high-quality implants and select a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in breast augmentation.
  • Follow post-operative guidelines: Adhere to your surgeon's post-operative instructions, including recommended healing periods and restrictions.

Risk factors for implant rupture

Certain factors may increase the risk of breast implant rupture, including implant age and type, trauma, and surgical errors.

Implant age

Implants have a lifespan, and older implants are more prone to rupture.

Implant type

While both saline and silicone implants can rupture, the risk may vary between them.


Physical trauma to the breast area, such as a severe impact or injury, can lead to rupture.

Surgical error 

Inexperienced surgeons or improper surgical techniques can contribute to implant rupture.

Risk of rupture: Silicone vs. saline breast implants

There are differences between silicone and saline breast implants when it comes to rupture and the risk of rupturing.

Silicone implant rupture

Silicone breast implants are filled with a cohesive silicone gel that closely resembles the feel of natural breast tissue. If a silicone implant ruptures, the gel may remain within the implant pocket or may leak into the surrounding breast tissue. Unlike older silicone implants, modern silicone implants are designed to have a more cohesive gel that is less likely to spread if a rupture occurs. This can make detecting a rupture more challenging, as there may not be significant changes in breast shape or size.

Saline implant rupture

Saline breast implants are filled with sterile saltwater solution. If a saline implant ruptures, the saline solution is harmlessly absorbed by the body and the implant will deflate. Saline implants have a slightly higher risk of rupture compared to modern silicone implants. This type of rupture is usually more noticeable, as the affected breast will rapidly lose volume and shape.

Advancements in implant technology have led to increased durability and reduced rupture rates for both silicone and saline implants. Regular monitoring and follow-up appointments with a board-certified plastic surgeon are crucial for detecting and addressing any potential issues, regardless of implant type. 

Breast implant rupture corrective surgery

In cases of breast implant rupture, the implant will need to be removed and replaced. The surgical procedure involves making an incision, removing the ruptured implant, and replacing it with a new one. If the rupture has led to silicone leakage, the surgeon will also remove any leaked silicone from the surrounding tissue.

After the removal of the ruptured implant, you and your surgeon will discuss whether you wish to replace the implant. If you decide to proceed with breast implant replacement, your surgeon will help you choose a new implant based on your preferences and aesthetic goals. The breast implant replacement surgery is typically performed in the same procedure.

Book an appointment with a board-certified plastic surgeon on PreferredMD

Breast implant rupture is a potential complication that requires timely attention. By staying vigilant for signs and symptoms, choosing a qualified plastic surgeon, and following preventive measures, you can help reduce the risk of rupture. 

In the event of a rupture, consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to ensure proper diagnosis, treatment, and replacement of the implant. Remember, your health and well-being are paramount, and seeking professional medical guidance is essential in maintaining the best possible outcomes for your breast augmentation journey.

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