How Common is it for Silicon Implant to Rupture?

I've had my impants for 3 years, and about to book myself for an MRI. Some of the research I've done points to implant rupture being VERY common, but at the same time I've checked out quite a few forums, and got an impression there aren't that many women out there who have been reporting this problem. So I was wondering, how many revision breast augmentation surgeries due to silicome implat rupture do you perform, say, a year?

Doctor Answers 11

Breakage rates for Silicone Breast Implants for Breast Augmentation

Silicone breast implants placed in the past 10 years break at a rate of 1-2 percent per year. So at 10 years they have a 10-20% failure rate. I recommend examining your implants every day for softness and even displacement on compression. If there is ANY change in either, I recommend you call your board certified Plastic Surgeon and have your implant evaluated. I was just at the hearings in Washington with the FDA testifying on behalf of my patients and I can tell you the data does not support getting an MRI at 3 years after implantation because the implants are not breaking that early at a significant rate. Be sure you visit your surgeon every year in person or by email or phone so that you remain updated on your products. Also, remember that both companies have lifetime warranties on their products, so be sure you have your implant labels in a safe place. Call your company and verify they have your information so they can get in touch if there is a problem like a recall. I will be speaking this weekend at our annual meeting of the ASPS on Revision Augmentation so I have done many over the 22 years I have been in practice.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Rupture of silicone implants

While any silicone implant can rupture or leak, the modern implants are strong and rupture is rare. In United Kingdom, many implants now come with a lifetime warranty - that gives you an idea about the degree of confidence the manufacturers have in their products.

Anindya Lahiri, FRCS (Plast)
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Breast implant failure.

All Implants silicone and saline will fail eventually. In saline implants the shell may crack over time.  This is called a fold flaw, like bending a credit card until it breaks. Sometimes the valve may leak or a pinhole defect may give way.  In Silicone implants the shell can gradually wear away over time which is why our newer generation of implants have a thicker and more connected (crosslinked) shell and a thicker or more cohesive silicone.

I have see 22 year old saline implants in good condition with no problems.  In saline implants my recommendation is to leave the implant alone if there are no problems and the patient is happy.  If it leaks it is just salt water which is what the body is made of.

In silicone the current recommendation is to have an MRI 3 years after surgery to evaluate the integrity of the implant and then every 2 years thereafter.  I don't love this plan because eventually I believe all patients will find a leak.  I would rather see one of my own patients choose a common sense time frame to change a silicone implant before it is likely to leak.  It is much easier to change a gel implant before it leaks and there is less risk of capsular contracture.

Currently I recommend that my patients consider changing a silicone gel implant at about 10 years.  As we learn more about the longevity of this new generation of implants I may change the recommendation because I suspect they will last longer. We are still studying the longevity numbers.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

How Common is it for Silicon Implants to Rupture?

Every single breast implant will eventually leak. The duration varies from a day after placement (theoretically but almost unheard of) to over 30 years after surgery but as a man-made device ALL breast implants eventually fail.

A breast implant is NOT a life time device and this should have been made clear to you by your surgeon when you had the breast augmentation consultation. All busy Breast Augmentation surgeons remove and exchange a fair number of implants every year.

Good Luck.

Peter A Aldea, MD

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Common of Silcone Implant Rupture after 10 years

Our own bodies give out with time as does our cars and just about everything else in life and so is the case for implants. For silicone implants prior to 2006, ruptures occur at rates of approximately 1-2% per year for the first ten years then markedly increases after that time period. A rupture or deflation of the implant may be experienced at any point after the initial augmentation; this complication may be increased by an under-filling or overfilling of saline solution into the implant, excessive compression, trauma, and other causes. (If the implant shell if not filled with the correct amount of saline, there may be a crease or fold in the shell which often leads to a rupture). You will be able to self-diagnose the need for an implant exchange (if using a saline implant) because if the current implant ruptures, the breast will shrink to approximately its preoperative size. A silicone implant that has a rupture is usually noted on a routine mammogram or MRI scan. In either case although the situation needs to be corrected on a timely basis, it is not dangerous to your health from our current knowledge base. Silicone implants after 2006 are more cohesive and less likely to leak or have silicone migration.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Breast Implants

The overall rupture rate is probably around 1% per year for all devices. Your MRI scan will be able to give you piece of mind

Ryan Neinstein, MD, FRCSC
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 71 reviews


What symptoms do you have that make you worry about a rupture?  All implants given enough time will eventually rupture but the he silicone implants are quite robust and have a very low leak rate. The only implants that I have had to remove are from the 1980's 30 years ago or o.  Unless you notice a firm mass pain change of the implants I would not worry too much about leak. 

Eric Chang, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Silicone Gel Implant Rupture Rates?

Thank you for the question.

The breast implant company manufacturers report a silicone gel leakage rate of approximately 1% per year. There's also been a study that demonstrates a 4% leakage rate of silicone gel implants over the course of 7 years.

As of 2006, the FDA has approved the use of silicone gel implants manufactured by the Mentor Corporation and Allergan (formerly McGhan) for breast augmentation surgery for patients over the age of 22. It may be helpful to visit the FDA website as well.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Breast Implant rupture

The companies quote a rate of 1% per year on breast implant rupture. The usual cause is  a crack in the shell, and the usual cause of that is repetitive folding of the implant. Many believe that since textured implants do not rotate, that the rupture rate of the textured implants is higher, whether they are filled with silicone or saline.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

How Common is it for Silicon Implant to Rupture?

Your question is of a concern to me. I recommend you contact either of the two implant companies here in USA. Mentor , or Allergan. Or call them to discuss the rupture rates. Get it from the horses mouth in other words. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 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.