Ultrasound for Ruptured Breast Implants?

I went to a private clinic to have my boobs done 2 years ago, but now I may have a ruptured breast implant. Am I in any danger? Should I have the NHS or the clinic give me an ultrasound?

Doctor Answers 5

Ultrasound to detect Implant Leak

For Saline implants - its simple - just look in a mirror and see if you are flat on one side. 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, Ultrasound, or MRI scan. A mammogram and/or ultrasound is not as sensitive at picking up ruptures as a MRI.  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.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

MRI is better for ruptured breast implants


If you have silicone gel implants. I would suggest an MRI. They are more accurate. Ultrasound may miss a rupture. Saline implants flatten over a few weeks after a rupture, so if you had saline implants in place you would not require an MRI.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Ultrasound for breast implant rupture depends


Thank you for your question.

It depends on the type of implant you have. If you have saline implants, then an ultrasound is most likely not necessary as the saline will be absorbed by your body and your breast will appear smaller. This will not put you in any danger, but you will need to have the implant replaced.

If you have silicone implants, an ultrasound may somewhat be able to detect a rupture, but the best way to tell is to have an MRI. The silicone should remain in the pocket that was created when you first got your implants. However, small amounts could leak outside of the pocket. Silicone has not been proven to cause any illnesses or cancer, but you would want to have it checked out just to be safe. You would also then need a silicone implant replacement as well.

If it is something you are worried about, I would definitely go see your doctor.

Sam Speron, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Depends on saline versus silicone.

Implant rupture is detected differently with a saline implant than a silicone implant. If you have a saline implant and have a rupture, this is usually apparent as your saline becomes absorbed in your body and your breast becomes smaller. There is no danger here but your implant will need to be replaced. If you think you have a ruptured silicone implant, you should have an MRI. Although an ultrasound may pick up a ruptured silicone implant, an MRI is the gold standard to detect this. If you do have a rupture, you will need to have the implant replaced with a new silicone implant. There are no studies that show you have any health risks. Check with your implant company to see if you have any insurance for implant rupture. Sometimes you do!

David Rankin, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 163 reviews

Ultrasound poor indicator of ruptured implant

First, it is unlikely that your implant has failed at 2 years. Why do think that it has?

Second, ultrasound is relatively inaccurate at detecting implant failure unless there is a very large quantity of silicone that has spilled out of the implant.

MRI scans are reportedly 90% accurate (10% inaccurate) and are expensive.

If you are having no problems with your implants, I would advise you to leave them alone. If they have ruptured, the capsule that forms around the implant will contain the silicone. Therefore you are in no danger. Discuss the situation with your plastic surgeon at your convenience. Many women have failed prostheses but don't know it. They do not suffer health consequences.

Discuss this with your plastic surgeon.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 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.