Is It Safe to Leave Silicone in the Breast Tissue After Removal of 25 Year Old Implants?

Doctor Answers 9

Silicone left behind after implant removal

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It is very typical after silicone gel implants have been in place for many years, and especially after attempts at a 'closed' capsulotomy, so common used to soften gel implants in the past, that there is some leakage of the silicone gel into the breast tissue. It can be very difficult to remove and will cause no health risks if left behind. Small silicone cysts can remain without much harm.

Best of luck,


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Silicone is Not Dangerous

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Silicone is not dangerous!  If your implants are not broken, you may be able to remove them intact.  With older implants, there may be some "gel bleed", or microscopic droplets of silicone that are not seen.  If your implants are broken, most of the silicone can be removed, but small amounts may go unnoticed and will be left behind.  In all cases, any remaining silicone is completely safe.

Randy J. Buckspan, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Silicone breast implants and removal

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There have been no studies showing that this situation will be harmful to you.  However, the FDA is recommending removal of silicone implants at this time as a precaution.

Silicone leakage of breast implants

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I try and remove all visible or palpable silicone after an implant has ruptured but it is virtually impossible to remove what is not seen or felt. This may be within capsule and even if that is totyally removed, some microscopic silicone may remain. This should not cause a problem except that it may mimic a breast cancer because it may be encapsulated by scar tissue and feel like a breast mass. 

Edward J. Domanskis, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Silicone left behind

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No matter how thorough the doctor is in removing old silicone implants it is usually impossible to remove a 100 % of old silicone.This should NOT be cause for alarm.It is perfectly OK.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

The Small Amount of Silicone Left Behind Will Not Harm You

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Having removed many old ruptured silicone implants I can attest that very small amounts of silicone are often left behind in spite of my best efforts to remove every last bit.

I have yet to see a patient return with problems, granulomas or otherwise and they are always thankful to have new, usually more aesthetically pleasing implants which are soft.

Often ruptures, which extend outside the natural scar layer which forms around the implant (extracapsular) are associated with hardening of the implants (capsular contracture) and this problem is solved at the same time.

There is no harm to your overall system from this tiny amount of silicone.  Of course, if you look on the Internet long enough you will find an uninformed or clearly biased web site that claims they will make you sick.  Steer clear of these since their rants are not scientifically based and usually just unsubstantiated assumptions (or worse someone trying to profit by inspiring fear).

Removal of silicone with implant rupture

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With ruptured implants, one aims to remove as much of the silicone as possible. Often, it is contained in the capsule surrounding the implant which makes its removal much easier. If there is free silicone outside of the capsule extending into the surround tissues, it can be very difficult to remove all of it. Within reason, attempts are usually made to remove as much of this as possible but there are risks including permanent breast deformities in these areas due to to concommitant removal of the breast tissue.

Silicone has not been shown to increase your risk for breast cancer.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Implants and silicone rupture

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If you had a silicone rupture, the goal is to remove all of the silicone if possible. Sometimes it is not without leaving skin damage or severe contour deformities.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Ruptured silicone implant

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You probably had an extracapsular rupture of the implant.  Your doctor probably tried to take the capsule and implant and as much of the free silicone as possible. Some of the free silicone will invariably be missed because it is in the tissue. The body may react to it forming a granulomas that you will feel as hard lumps. If that happens then one can take them out.

Also some of the silicone  will make it slightly difficult on the mammogram.

There is no systemic harm.

Follow up with breast exams and annual mammogram or as recommended by your doctor and radiologist.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

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.