What Worse Can Happen if Breast Implants Are Not Removed After They Rupture, Leak into the Body and Are Still Not Taken Out?

Doctor Answers 6

Ruptured Breast Implants and Risks

If saline implants rupture the implants will deflate, and the saline will be resorbed.  In most cases the remaining implant will not cause a medical problem.  If Silicone gel implants rupture, in most cases the gel will remain within the breast capsule that the body has formed and may not pose a problem.  However, if the silicone gel escapes into the surrounding breast or lymphatic tissues the silicone can on some occasions cause problems such as infections or lymphedema.  Therefore, if a silicone gel implant is noted to be ruptured it should be removed and/or replaced.  A new form stable silicone implant (Gummy Bear Implant) (Silimed Implants - Sientra) is now available on the market.  These form stable silicone implants do not leak even if punctured or cut, and should reduce the above risks associated with silicone implant rupture.

San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Implant rupture - worst case scenario

With saline implants, if the implant breaks, the saline is absorbed by the body (it is the same saline that is used in your IV during surgery so it won't hurt you).  Instead of having a full implant, you will simply have a deflated implant until the time that you have it removed/replaced.

The newer silicone gel implants are called cohesive gel.  They are very soft but are so sticky and cohesive that you can literally cut into them and they will hold their shape.  In fact, I keep one in my office that I cut to show to my patients.  This feature makes a ruptured implant easier to remove intact but more difficult to detect using conventional techniques.  An MRI may be necessary to fully determine whether or not a cohesive gel implant is actually ruptured.  Even with a ruptured implant, you might go for a very long period of time without any problems.  The main problem that you might encounter would be a capsular contracture, the formation of thickened scar tissue around the broken implant which can make the breast feel firm or distort the shape of the breast.  When this happens, surgery may be required to remove the scar tissue and replace the broken implant.

Edwin C. Pound, III, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Ruptured Implants

Ruptured gel implants should be removed as over time the gel can migrate from the implant and capsule and form a siliconoma which is a lump of free silicone surrounded by scar tissue.  This does not cause a disease process but may be visible and felt.  Saline as stated above.

Charles R. Nathan, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Rupture implants

Deflated saline implants just appear flat.  Silicone implants may take on a different shape but will not migrate all over the body.  But it is best to have them removed.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Ruptured Implants

     If saline implants rupture they deflate and most patients want to have them replaced.  If silicone implants rupture, the breasts may change shape or they may not change in shape.  Some patients who have rupture with silicone are unaware of the rupture, and these are found to be ruptured during surgery.  According to the lastest studies, there is probably very little effect on silicone in the breast capsule.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Breast Implant Leak

You did not say if you had saline or silicone gel implants.  If you have saline implants, you will end up with an empty bag that will need to be removed.  No harm to the body at all if they leak.  If you have gel, the gel will stay inside the scar around the implant until your surgeon removes it.  With the years of studies on gel implants, the conclusion was they are very safe.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 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.