Leaking Silicone Implants

Inadvertently there is a "mass" discovered on the MRI at the level of my sternum. Could this be a leakage from the implants. Thanks for your time

Doctor Answers 6

Leaking silicone implants?

If you have older silicone implants, the silicone gel "filler" was less cohesive than present-day implants, and the oil or gel could ooze out or leak if the implant shell was damaged or ruptured. This could happen with closed capsulotomy (forcible "breaking" of the scar around your implants by squeezing), blunt trauma such as a fall, or similar. Ruptured older implants could develop lumps, irregularities, or capsular contracture, and could account for the "mass" found on MRI.

More importantly, what do your breasts feel like? Is there firmness or irregularity? Do the implants move freely or is there some other reason for the mass seen on MRI?

You should know that MRI scans are incorrect 21% of the time in detecting implant rupture (FDA data), but a more detailed MRI scar report from your radiologist or regular physician would be helpful, and your plastic surgeon should have this report, as well as a copy of your scan, in order to give you the best advice possible as to what is recommended. Good luck!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Mass near sternum, possible implant leak

Dear Kelley, The MRI can determine by analysis whether or not this is fat, fluid, silicone, or something else.  Discuss this with your doctor.  You don't say how old your implants are or anything else about them.  You need to talk to your doctor to determine what is going on before deciding what to do.

Steven Schuster, MD, FACS
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Mass on MRI with breast implants

An MRI is one of the best tests we have available to determine a leak has occurred in a silicone gel breast implant. For newer implants changes we look for involve the implant shell and capsule around the implant. A mass on the sternum? Hard to say what the finding is about. If your implants are very old, and you did have 'closed capsulotomy' to soften the implants it is possible that the mass is gel pushed out as the capsule was ruptured. All is much speculation unless more information is available, though do follow up with a complete examination.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Almost all the silicone implants from the 80s are broken or leaking and need to be removed

The mas you describe certainly could be a silicone granuloma from broken or leaking silicone gel implants if they are from the 80s. A much further evaluation of your condition is needed before such a diagnosis can be made. If your implants are that old then they probably are the source of the problem but if they are newer this probably is not the cause.  You should contact a Board Certified Plastic surgeon to have a complete evaluation. 

Carl W. "Rick" Lentz III, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Mass on MRI


Without all the details, it is very hard to give you an answer.  Why did you have an MRI to begin with?  Were you aware that there was a mass on your sternum before you had an MRI. How old are you? How old are the implants? Are you having any symptoms or problems from the implants. Those would be important  questions for you to answer before we can give an opinion. Best,

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

You're right that a mass at the level of the sternum could be related to the leakage from the silicone implants and the medical

Thank you very much for your enquiry, you're right that a mass at the level of the sternum could be related to the leakage from the silicone implants and the medical known for this is a silicon granuloma. A granuloma is an encapsulated area of silicon which your body will resolve.

I think you need to discuss the findings of your MRI scan with your plastic surgeon as they will be able to determine whether the mass is from silicon by its characteristics on MRI scan.

I wish you the best of luck with this.

Best wishes yours sincerely,

Adrian Richards
Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon
Surgical Director of Aurora Clinics

Adrian Richards, MD
London Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 150 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.