I've had my breast implants for about 4 years. When I lie down my implants sometimes feel like a misshapen, hard lump. I can also feel the implants and some soreness. Are these signs my breast implants are leaking? How can I tell?
Signs of Leaking Breast Implants
Doctor Answers 61
Soreness and lumps should always be addressed
Firmness in breast
Depends on the implant
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Signs of leaking breast implants
Silicone implants are a little more difficult to tell if they have ruptured. A ruptured silicone implant may not cause a misshapen appearance to the breast or hard lumps since the gel is cohesive and should not "leak" out. However, I have seen ruptured implants cause a "capsular contracture" which can cause the hardness you are speaking about. The best way to diagnose a ruptured implant is with an MRI. The FDA recommends an MRI every 2-3 years after a breast augmentation. However, most women do not opt to have MRIs since they are an "out-of-pocket" expense. Since you ARE having symptoms, I would recommend visiting your plastic surgeon to make a decision about ordering an MRI.
Signs of Leak
If you have silicone based implants then it is a litter harder to tell. The new implants don't leak everywhere so they usually present as some change in the look of feel of the implant. A breast that was completely normal for several years may begin to change in appearance or become harder or more tender. However, because the volume remains the same, there usually isn't any obvious deflation. The only sure way to tell is to get an ultrasound or MRI.
If you suspect a leak then you should see a board certified plastic surgeon to determine if you need to get further testing. If there is leak or rupture then that implant needs to be removed and exchanged for another one.
Hard lump in the breast
Changes in the breast and new lumps of tenderness should be evaluated by a physician.
Signs of Leaking Breast Implants
Leaking breast implants
Leaking Breast Implant Signs
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. Most of the time, there are no symptoms such as soreness and misshapen lumps.
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.