Ruptured Breast Implants
Any breast implant can rupture. Medical devices do wear down over time an all will eventually fail. The shell of an implant will usually start to lose integrity after 10 years, or so. Often the implant remains intact despite this loss of integrity. Sudden trauma, as during a mammogram or car accident, can create enough force to fully rupture this implant. Also common, is a “silent” rupture where an inciting event is unknown. Determining if your implant is ruptured depends first on the type of implants you have.
Saline: A ruptured saline implant is easier to identify. The patient will often notice a rather abrupt decrease in breast size. After the implant ruptures the saline is absorbed by your body and only the rupture shell remains in the breast pocket.
Silicone: This is trickier to detect. The silicone gel is much thicker and more cohesive. It stays in the implant pocket and maintains breast volume. In some cases, the patient is totally unaware of the device failure. Some patients may pickup on changes in consistency, develop firmness, see redness of the breast, or notice a subtle change in shape on one side. Additionally, screening mammography may illustrate or suggest implant rupture.
If your story or physical findings are less clear cut sometimes imaging can be helpful to determine the integrity of a breast implant. An ultrasound, a cheap and fast study, can usually find a ruptured implant. If that study is equivocal, an MRI is the next study. The MRI is the best to look at implants but can be expensive. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies cover imaging studies. We are acutely aware of this and will preform your workup to ensure optimal cost savings.
What should I do if I think my implants are ruptured?
We recommend being evaluated by one of our board-certified plastic surgeons at your earliest convenience. Prolonging workup may complicate the issues related to ruptured implants. Here we will be able to evaluate, manage and treat any breast implant rupture issues.
Once we have determined the implant is ruptured, do we need to perform surgery?
While this is not an emergent matter, we recommend removal and replacement in a timely fashion.
Is this surgery covered by insurance?
Typically, this procedure is not covered by your medical insurance. Some policies will cover the removal cost. However, replacement of the implants will not be covered. Thankfully, most implant manufacturers have a warranty policy that will provide you with 2 new implants and a stipend to help offset surgical fees. We gladly work with insurance agencies and implant manufacturers to ensure that your procedure costs are as low as possible.