"Silent Rupture" of Silicone Implants?

I have a round, lump in my right breast that is painful when examined

Doctor Answers 11

Silicone implants

A round painful lump in your breast should be evaluated by your physician to determine the cause. The lump is not likely to be related to your implants. The best way to evaluate for rupture of the implants is an MRI x-ray. The MRI is extremely effective in finding rupture of silicone implants. Since it is a painful nodule, it is most likely a cyst, but there can be other causes.

Breast masses with implants

While it is entirely possible for silicone implants to rupture or leak, it would be extremely unusual for a rupture to present as a painful round lump in your breast. Most ruptured silicone implants will present as a capsular contracture. A painful lump in the breast tissue is more likely to be a benign cyst. While it is possible that the lump could represent a malignancy, most breast cancers present as painless nodules. I would suggest that you have a physical exam with your plastic surgeon and then possibly have either an ultrasound, mammogram, or MRI to evaluate further. The benefit of each of these studies will be somewhat determined by your physical exam. 

William T. Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Silent rupture

A silent rupture is one that is not recognized by exam. If you have silicone implants, the most accurate study is an MRI.  Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Silent breast implant rupture

A silicone gel breast implant can indeed leak without notice (silent rupture) and therefore the MRI recommendation by the FDA to detect leaks early before tenderness and capsular contracture sets in. Your breast lump deserves a full exam and never should be assumed related to the implant or implant rupture.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Breast Mass

There are several reasons that a new mass in your breast can be tender. This can represent benign, normal breast tissue, a change in your breast implant capsule, or could be more nefarious- including cancers. I encourage you to see your primary care physician or your plastic surgeon for a complete evaluation. This is not something that can be diagnosed on the internet.

Lawrence Iteld, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Lump in breast with silicone implants

Hello Danni. Finding a lump in your breast is frightening. To answer your question, silently ruptured silicone implants could lead to lumps that you can feel, but there are many things that can cause breast lumps. You are doing the right thing by addressing it, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to see a physician for an exam. I recommend that you see your plastic surgeon as soon as possible. 

Best wishes,

Michael Vennemeyer, MD

Ruptured Silicone Gel Breast Implant?

Your concern about the breast finding is understandable but you'll be much better off  seeking in-person consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons for accurate advice and recommendations.  It is possible that this consultation alone will suffice;  it is also possible that additional studies ( MRI study of the breast)  will be helpful in providing a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Best wishes.

Lump and Silicone Implants

  Any breast lump requires physical exam and possibly additional imaging of mammography, ultrasound, and MRI.  MRI is the most sensitive and specific for detecting rupture. Kenneth Hughes, MD breast implants Los Angeles, CA 

Is My Implant Ruptured?

Detecting rupture of breast implants depends on the type of implant used. Saline implants typically deflate like a balloon when ruptured and the body absorbs the fluid.  It is quite obvious to the patient and surgeon alike what has happened.  Silicone implants behave differntly when ruptured.  The gel flling tends to remain confined to the capsule and can be difficult to detect on physical examination.  In some cases the gel can migrate into the surrounding tissue and cause a "granuloma" which is a local inflammatory reaction to the gel.  MRI is the most sensitive test used to detect rupture of silicone implants.  As you are likely aware, any breast lump should be fully evaluated in a timely fashion to rule out other more serious causes.  Good luck!

George Bitar, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Silent Rupture of Silicone Implants common after 10 years

Silicone leaks in my experience are usually not painful. 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.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 110 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.