It is estimated that between 5 to 10 million women worldwide have breast implants. Implants are used for a variety of reasons including cosmetic or to augment breast tissue after cancer surgery. In any case, breast implants for most women who have them can provide a boost of esteem and confidence in their looks.
There are 2 primary types of breast implants: saline and silicone gel. Typically, a woman and her doctor will discuss the reasons why the woman is considering implants and what the desired outcome is. The doctor is then able to suggest which of the 2 types of implants will work the best.
Breast implants can rupture for a variety of reasons, including trauma, age, or medical procedures among other reasons. Depending on the type of implant, the signs and symptoms of a leaking implant vary. Once it is determined that there is a leak, implants are usually removed and replaced. Here’s how to tell if your implant is leaking:
Saline breast implants are basically sterile salt water filled shells. When this type of implants rupture, the saline will leak out of the shell and is absorbed by the body. This does not cause any health issues and a woman will generally not experience any abnormal symptoms. She will notice that her breast will begin to lose volume as the implant deflates.
Silicone Gel Ruptures
The contents of a silicone gel implant are much thicker and stronger than the fluid in a saline filled implant. Because of the consistency of the gel, it may not leak at all if the shell is ruptured. Silicone gel may simply hold its shape, leaving both the woman and her doctor unaware of any rupture. This is sometimes referred to as a “silent rupture” and may only be discovered through magnetic resonance imaging.
If the silicone gel does shift or leak, it may result in a deformity of the size or shape of the breast. A woman might also notice that the skin around the leak begins to look red and inflamed and the breast itself may look swollen.
The best thing you can do if you suspect that your breast implant has ruptured is to contact your doctor as soon as possible. A doctor will be able to run the proper tests to determine what has happened and move forward from there. If a leak is found, your doctor will most likely recommend immediate removal of the ruptured implant and replacement if desired.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Richard J. Brown to discuss breast implant options, please call 480-947-2455.