Debating between silicone and saline, will a mammogram detect a ruptured silicone breast implant?

I am debating between silicone and saline. The thought of a slow leak with silicone scares me. I also won't plan on getting regular MRI's so I would never know! However of course after 40 (I'm 32) I will be getting mammograms so then I would get the silicone! Not sure ?

Doctor Answers 11

Debating between silicone and saline, will a mammogram detect a ruptured silicone breast implant?

I have seen mammograms detect a ruptured silicone implant, but it is a screening test breast tissue abnormalities, not ruptured implants. An ultrasound or CT may detect it as well, but the gold standard test is an MRI. Best of luck!

Debating between silicone and saline, will a mammogram detect a ruptured silicone breast implant

A mammogram will likely detect a silicone implant rupture, but the MRI scan will detect it much earlier.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

SIlicone vs Saline for Breast Augmentation

Good afternoon,

Thanks for your question - this can be a very difficult decision to make and the right answer isn't always clear.

Firstly, I agree with most of the answers regarding detection of silicone rupture. MRI has the best rate of detection and Mammogram really doesn't play much of a role. The current science would suggest that a ruptured silicone implant in and of itself does not constitute a health risk.

For my patients that are having difficulty deciding (they like the look and feel of a silicone implant but like the "safety" of a saline device) - I have been suggesting the "Ideal Implant". This is a newer structured saline device that keeps salines' positive attributes (lower capsular contracture, detectable leak) while decreasing some of the drawbacks - rippling rates and feel.

Talk to your surgeon - if they are experienced with this device, it might be right for you!

Take care.

Dr Nodwell

Trefor Nodwell, MD
Ottawa Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Saline versus silicone

Mammograms are not good at detecting ruptured silicone breast implants. Ultrasounds are helpful, but MRIs are the definitive test for detecting a ruptured implant. Discuss your concerns with your surgeon. I think that they will have helpful insights that will aid you in making your decision.

Do mammograms detect a ruptured silicone implant?

Thank you for the question. Mammograms do not detect ruptured silicone breast implants. The best modalities to see that is an MRI and CT. 

I've had a lady come in with an incidental finding of a ruptured silicone implant detected by CT scan for an unrelated medical issue after her implants were inserted 25 years ago. The ruptured silicone is safe and will not travel outside the breast capsule. The longevity and feel of silicone breast implants is superior to saline implants. 

Discuss the difference in person with à board certified plastic surgeon so you feel more comfortable with your choice. 

Good luck!

Dr. Khuthaila  

Dana Khuthaila, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Implant choices

Mammograms are not used to detect implant rupture. Ultrasound and MRI are much better. A mammogram may suggest a problem with the implant, however. In general, silicone implants are softer and appear more natural as compared to the saline implants. 

Ideal breast implants

Thank you for this question. Mammograms do not detect silicone implants leak. There is an FDA recommendation to undergo MRI exam three years from silicone breast augmentation and every two years thereafter. You would be a good candidate for the Ideal implant which is a saline implant that feels like a silicone implant and does not need any MRI examinations. 

Kevin Tehrani, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Mammograms likely won't show a leak

Mammograms are terrible for detecting leaks for silicone breast implants.  Even MRI's can miss it!  Please at least listen to the 20+ years of science that has actually shown no link between ruptured silicone implants and disease.  The reason for the controversy was based on a lawsuit in the 80's that was never based on science or had any shred of proof.  If you still can't get over this, then use saline implants! But beware that if you have a leak with a saline implant, you'll be going back to surgery which in my mind is more risky than having a ruptured silicone implant.  Think it over.  Good luck!

Robert S. Houser, DO
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Silicone vs saline

The decision to have saline vs silicone is a personal one. I review pros and cons of both with patients during consultation in the office. Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Ruptured Implants

Hello and thank you for your question. A mammogram is a form of X-ray that can  detect calcifications such as the ones that are formed with breast cancer. However, they will most likely not be able to detect a ruptured implant. MRI is the study of choice to detect a ruptured silicone implant.  A saline implant rupture is clinically noticeable because the affected side will deflate and cause a size discrepancy. I hope this help you make your decision. Best of luck.


Kenneth A. Godwin, DO
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.