Deflation, Rupture, or Leak

Breast Implant Deflation & Rupture Treatment Questions and Answers

Do you have any questions about breast implant deflation and rupture? Contact Dr. James Pertsch, MD, and our team today at San Mateo Plastic Surgery. Request a consultation today or give us a call.

Breast Implant Deflation & Rupture Treatment Near Me in San Mateo, CA
Breast Implant Deflation & Rupture Treatment Near Me in San Mateo, CA

What is Breast Implant Deflation & Rupture?

The silicone outer shell of all breast implants has the potential to develop a tear or a hole called a rupture. In addition, there is also a valve that can possibly develop a leak. Over time, the chances of your implant rupturing or leaking increases. Treatment will involve removing and replacing your implant and, if it has been years since your surgery, you may want to consider replacing the other implant as well.

What Happens if a Breast Implant Ruptures?

A rupture in a silicone breast implant will reveal signs such as changes in breast size and shape, firmness, swelling or pain, that can last for a few weeks. A “silent rupture” is defined as a rupture that shows no noticeable signs. If at any time you suspect the possibility of a rupture or leak in your implants, contact your plastic surgeon immediately; they may schedule an MRI or an ultrasound to determine if there is a problem. Special equipment designed specifically for imaging the breast is used with an MRI, and is considered the most accurate procedure to detect leaks or ruptures, although there are always risks of inaccurate results. It is possible that a rupture may not show up in the MRI image, or an intact implant may also appear to be ruptured. If a gel-filled or silicone implant ruptures, surgery should be performed to remove the implant, and in some cases the surgeon may remove the capsule of scar tissue that surrounds the implant. If implants are in both breasts, and only one of them ruptures or leaks, your surgeon will likely remove both implants, as well as any silicone that has leaked out beyond the capsule. If you decide you want new implants, they can usually be inserted at the same time the ruptured implant is removed, and your doctor may suggest switching to a different type of implant. It is recommended by the FDA that recipients of breast implants receive an MRI three years after the initial surgery to check for any possible “silent rupture,” and then every two years after that.

What Causes Breast Implants to Deflate?

Causes of breast implant deflation include a needle insertion during a biopsy, or trauma caused by an accident. A recent study examined data from a large implant manufacturer which revealed that 51%-64% of ruptures in silicone implants were caused by damage from surgical instruments during the initial implant surgery. With saline implants, the saline (salt water) leaks very quickly due to a valve failure, causing the breast to immediately appear deflated, and it is obvious that a leak has occurred. The saline is then absorbed by the body. When a leak occurs in a silicone gel implant the gel leaks more slowly because it is thicker, which may result in the patient either not being aware that the implant has ruptured, or taking longer to realize a leak has occurred. The body does not absorb the silicone gel.

Will my Breast Implants need Replacing?

After getting breast implant surgery, no one anticipates having to go through the procedure a second time, but it’s important to understand the risks involved, have realistic expectations, and be well informed about what the future might hold. Women who undergo a breast augmentation should be made aware of the likelihood that they may need to have their implants replaced at some point.

Our highly skilled plastic surgeons at San Mateo Plastic Surgery are committed to helping you achieve and maintain your desired figure through breast implant placement, replacement, revision or complete removal. To get all of your questions and concerns addressed, including how long you can expect your implants to last and the possibility of having to replace them in the future, give us a call or visit our website to schedule a consultation. We serve patients from San Mateo CA, Foster City CA, Hillsborough CA, Millbrae CA, Belmont CA, and Redwood City CA.    

Saline implants may develop a pinhole leak and lose their volume over time. The patient will notice increasing asymmetry that usually develops over a period of days to weeks. Occasionally, the implant only partially deflates, and other times it goes flat instantly. A small silicone gel implant leak may go undetected for years. Any change in look or feel should prompt an evaluation.

Treatment of Deflation, Rupture, or Leak

There is no “fix flat” injection technique like there is for automobile tires; thus, an operation is needed. Rarely, a patient may elect to have the opposite side (saline implants) deflated for symmetry to test how it would be without implants or because revision surgery is not possible for some months. It is best to have surgery as soon as practical; more capsule and muscle adjustments are needed if delayed for several weeks or months.

The simplest procedure is to replace the one deflated implant. Usually, a minimal capsule release is also performed to maintain symmetry with the other side. If saline implants are ten years old or older, it might be best to replace both implants during the same surgery. Of course, any trip to the operating room offers a chance to revisit breast size, shape, and asymmetry or to accomplish any non-breast procedure desired under the same anesthetic.