One of the most feared side effects of a breast implant is the fact that it may or may not actually rupture. Would you know if your breast implant had ruptured (leaked, burst) on you? Are there any tell-tale signs? And most importantly, is a ruptured breast implant dangerous? Here is what I found out.
Depending on the type of breast implant you get, you may or may not notice your breast implant rupturing right away. A saline implant (which is filled with saline solution typically after being placed in the breast during surgery) will leak and be absorbed into the body, causing no serious harm but certainly noticeable deflation and odd shape in the breast. Like a flat tire, a saline breast implant (not favored among most women due to a less realistic feel and look to them) will deflate the breast. Surgery is needed to remove the silicone casing for the implant, and the implant can typically be replaced in the same surgery.
A silicone breast implant, however, will likely rupture then not be noticed for quite some time. In fact, women who have silicone breast implants are recommended to get MRIs of their implants every 2 years, starting at year 3 of having their implants, to detect whether they have ruptured or not. Often, women with ruptured silicone implants hardly notice at all, because the silicone leaks slowly into the body and is not absorbed. The silicone simply sits around the fat and tissue around the implant. Usually, a woman with silicone breast implants will notice they have ruptured either by her MRI or because she is suddenly feeling pain in her breast due to the silicone shifting around in her breast. Surgery is needed to remove and replace the silicone implant, and any surrounding silicone in the breast. It is not life-threatening, and often, a silicone implant can rupture and never be noticed.
Regardless of what type of breast implant you have, if you notice pain or discomfort in your breasts, if they change shape or size, or if you have changes in sensation of your breast or nipple, then contact your doctor right away. Your body may be having a reaction to your breast implants, they may have moved, or they may have ruptured. While the material in breast implants is not life-threatening (according to the FDA), you can encounter many unsavory side effects from having breast implants that need to be addressed. The longer you ignore breast implant side effects, the more likely it is that you will need surgery to repair them.