Millions of women worldwide have breast implants, either for cosmetic purposes or for augmenting breast tissue after their breast cancer surgery. Implants can have either saline or silicone gel, and the truth is they can rupture over time with age or due to trauma, medical reasons and procedures, or for a wide variety of other reasons. There are varying signs and symptoms of leakage, depending on the type of implant used. Learn about these manifestations and how to have your implants removed and replaced if desired.
- Volume loss – Saline implants contain sterile saltwater, and once this type of breast implant rupture, the fluid leaks out of the shell and is absorbed into your body. There are no outright symptoms from leakage, but the implant will deflate and you will loss volume in your breast. Typically, the area surrounding the deflated implant hardens and constricts over time. This is called contracture, unless your surgeon removes the affected implant within the first few weeks. Volume loss occurs in silicone breast implants as well, developing a small leak outside the shell.
- Deformity – A silent rupture is where the leaking is not apparent to you or your doctor, since the content of silicone implant are thicker than the fluid in a saline implant, not leaking outside a torn shell. Otherwise, you may see a deformity in the size or shape of the breast because of the contracture or formation of scar tissue.
- Other signs and symptoms – There could be changes in the tissue around your implant. You skin may appear red and inflamed, while your breast itself may look swollen. You may feel small, fluid-filled lumps around the implant, or feel a discomfort in your arm or shoulder on the side where the leak is. Your breast may also feel numb, and there could be pain, tingling, or burning in the affected breast.
If you suspect a silent rupture of a silicone implant, you can consult your doctor, who can seek imaging to diagnose your case. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your breast can identify implant ruptures in a great majority of cases. Mammograms, on the other hand, can only spot ruptured implants about 25 percent of the time.
These are other some of the reasons that breast implants have raised concerns. The leaks have been looked into for cases of serious medical conditions such as fibromyalgia and other connective tissue concerns. New types of silicone implants have been released in the market, but there are still documented concerns with them.
To be on the safe side, consider all these wellness factors before getting breast implant surgery. You may also seek alternative methods of breast enlargement, such as the use of breast creams, gels, and pills that can help facilitate natural breast growth over time.