Trauma to silicone breast implant while playing with a friend's dog. Could it be ruptured?

A friend's dog and I were playing last night and he was wagging his tail vigourously and slapped my left breast really hard against it, very much like a whiplash. I felt some immedate sharp pain which then subsided but am afraid this may have damaged the implant? This morning there is virtually no pain or sensitivity nor is there any bruising or swelling or redness. I will schedule a conversation / examination with my surgeon in any case but wanted to get your thoughts? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 12

Ruptured silicone implant?

Any of the USA implant manufacturers' silicone gel implants from the past decade or so are cohesive and extremely durable--so much so that over that period of time I have placed several thousand implants and have seen a grand total of 5 ruptures. These all (thus far) have been noted in implants manufactured in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Newer implants are even more durable due to manufacturing improvements, and I suspect the rupture rates will be correspondingly lower.

In fact, I will be so bold as to say that I believe the vast majority of implant ruptures are not due to manufacturer defect, but to surgeon mishap, such as an inadvertent puncture by a needle during pocket closure, or "adjustment" of the pocket by instrumentation with the implant already in the pocket (i.e.: "blind manipulation"). This is why rupture statistics differ among companies (some allow even non-surgeon physicians to purchase and use implants, presumably with much higher complication rates than ABPS-certified plastic surgeons), and between written data and individual qualified and experienced plastic surgeons.

Present-day implants by any of the three USA implant manufacturers are so durable that I throw them as hard as I can on the floor during consultations, and then stomp on them, without damage. Imagine what this would do to a person! That is a pretty graphic demonstration as to implant durability, and why I believe that implant rupture is almost always due to surgeon-related causes, not manufacturer "defect." Of the 5 ruptures, only 1 was a manufacturer defect (patch failure), and this was easily replaced without silicone contamination or previous concern, as this was a request for larger implants and a totally random intra-operative finding.

No matter how vigorous the dog's tail slap was, the pain was your breast being "punched," and not your implant being damaged. I would want to examine you for hematoma leading to capsular contracture, or for sign of present capsular rupture leading to implant malposition or herniation, but not implant damage. If everything both looks good and feels good, you should not be concerned. At all.

I have had several of my implant patients involved in automobile accidents with seat belt impact to the chest vigorous enough to leave a serious strap bruise, all without damage to implants. I have had one of my patients undergo a(n incorrectly-performed) non-displacement mammogram causing a painful "pop" and immediate bruising of the side of the breast and chest wall. My patient called me in a panic about her "ruptured implant." We scheduled surgery for a couple of days later when she was able to travel to Minneapolis (out of town patient), and I found a perfectly-intact implant and a ruptured capsule with a chunk of blood clotted within the pocket. Rinsed it out and closed, quite happy for her and her implant. She later developed capsular contracture from the bleeding that caused the bruising, and required subsequent re-operation to solve her CC.

I tell you all of these anecdotes to emphasize that your surgeon will be interested in checking YOU for injury, not your implant. Would you go for  check-up if your breast had just been whacked without an implant being present? I suspect not.

MRI is also unnecessary, IMHO, and will give a 21% false positive "implant ruptured" report that could induce an operation that will (almost certainly) lead to finding a perfectly intact implant and costing you $$, recovery and time off, as well as slight risk of complication from the re-op, all for nothing.

If you can't tell, I feel strongly about this, based on 30 years of using implants and seeing many generations of them. Older ones may have concerns, but if yours are only several years old, I'd bet you a can of soda (my biggest bet) that everything is fine! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Trauma to implant

I think it is extremely unlikely that the incident you described would or could rupture your breast implant, especially given the fact that your breast looks and feels fine now. You could follow up with your plastic surgeon if you remain concerned. Best of luck. 

Mary Gingrass, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Trauma to silicone breast implant while playing with a friend's dog. Could it be ruptured?

I appreciate your question.

Believe it is highly unlikely.  However, I think it is a very good idea that you have scheduled a follow up visit with your plastic surgeon since you did experience some pain.  That way he/she can examine you.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.
Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative breast surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Jaime S. Schwartz, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Highly unlikely

It is highly unlikely that even the most vigorous tail whomping would have hurt your implant. However, I think it's smart that you've already scheduled an appointment with your surgeon. If only to assuage your anxiety. Best, Dr. Nazarian

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Trauma to breast implant

Thanks for your question.

Implants are very well-made; most likely, your implant should be fine.
However, it does not hurt to talk with your surgeon and be examined.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

You are on right track in seeing your surgeon

It is unlikely that dog's tail wag can rupture implants. However it is wise to get yourself checked. You are doing the right thing.

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Implant issue

A wagging dog tail unlikely caused any  damage to your implant. If concerned, speak to your surgeon. Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Unlikely ruptured

 From your story, in my opinion, it's extremely unlikely that this amount of trauma could rupture a silicone gel implant. In our office a simple ultrasound which takes a few minutes could readily discern whether the implant is intact are not. Discuss with your chosen plastic surgeon. Good luck.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Silicone implant rupture

Thank you for your question. It is unlikely rupture in your case. You are planning to to talk to your doctor anyway. Good to evaluate

Ven Erella, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Trauma to silicone breast implant while playing with a friend's dog. Could it be ruptured?

My thoughts: you are probably just fine. Although it is not possible to give you precise advice without direct examination, generally speaking it would take very significant trauma to cause damage to the breast implants.  
Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 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.