Implant rupture: is revision surgery needed on both breasts or just one?

Implant rupture: is revision surgery needed on both breasts or just one?

24th Jun 2019


A complication that can occur after breast implant surgery is the rupture of the implants. The breast implants used nowadays are safe and FDA approved, so the rupture of the implants is actually a complication with a low incidence rate, despite urban myths. Implants don’t rupture or explode when the patient is on a flight or if the patient falls on their breasts. However, intense pressure on the breasts can cause the rupture of the implants. This type of pressure can occur when a mammogram is performed. Mammograms are recommended to be taken yearly for patients who get breast implants, especially if they are over 40 years old. The pressure exercised on the breasts during the procedure can be enough to trigger implant rupture; however, this will be prevented if you tell the technician performing the procedure that you have breast implants.

The rupture of the implants can also occur because of the improper handling of the implant during surgery or because of the poor quality of the implants used. At the same time, after the warranty period expires, the implants might rupture due to old age. Whatever the reason behind the rupture might be, the patient will be asked to have an MRI to diagnose the rupture of the implants, and then revision surgery will be scheduled.

While it is not dangerous to stay with a ruptured implant inside the breasts, this might not be a desirable condition for most patients as the aesthetic results of the procedure might be compromised. When saline solution implants rupture, the patient will practically be left with an empty breast as the filling substance will be reabsorbed by the body. When silicone implants are used, the silicone won’t spread in the breasts, but it might trigger an unsightly appearance of the breasts.

Many patients want to know if the procedure to remove and replace the implants will be performed on both breasts or just one. The answer to this question is not so straightforward as different cases would call for different decisions. For example, if we are talking about a saline solution implant that has ruptured, the plastic surgeon will only perform surgery on one breast; the one with the broken implant and insert a new silicone capsule that will be filled with saline solution. The same is valid for cases in which just one silicone implant has ruptured. However, if the rupture has occurred after the warranty expired or the patient has had the silicone implants for many years now, the plastic surgeon might recommend getting new implants for both breasts, even if the size and volume will be similar to what they had before. If the warranty of the implants has expired or the implants are closer to their expiration date when the revision surgery is scheduled, it is generally better to remove and replace them both.


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