Each year, thousands of women undergo breast augmentation surgery to fill out the shape and size of their breasts. This standard surgery has been performed for decades and has gone through several changes aimed at improving patient outcomes. As far as we have come in understanding breast augmentation surgery, most patients we meet still have a common question: could breast implants pop? We want to answer this question here.
The idea of breast implants popping seems alarming. It provokes a particularly traumatic image of breast implants being intact one moment and completely obliterated the next. Although it is possible for breast implants to rupture, the word “pop” is far too dramatic of a descriptor.
Breast implant rupture is a potential complication after breast augmentation. It may happen at any time, but research suggests that rupture is more likely to happen several years after the initial surgery if it occurs at all. According to one study, which was published by the National Center for Biotechnology, breast implants rupture only about 15% of the time. That means 85% of breast augmentation patients never experience this problem.
Why a Breast Implant Might Rupture
The most common reason for rupture is what we refer to as capsular contracture. When breast implants are installed, they are usually situated within a pocket of tissue beneath the pectoral muscle. Although the pocket is created to support the implant, it is not uncommon for scar tissue to form here. In most cases, scarring is so mild that the appearance and feel of the breasts are not affected. Severe scarring, though, can press so intensely against one or both implants that rupture occurs. When signs of severe capsular contracture occur, revision surgery may be scheduled to replace the implant and reduce scar tissue before leakage or rupture can happen.
What to do about Ruptured Breast Implants
Whether it is a saline or silicone implant that ruptures, surgery is the solution. A saline implant rupture generally shows dramatic signs right away, as sterile fluid leaks from the implant and gets absorbed by the body. Silicone implants, on the other hand, may leak for years before changes in breast appearance become evident. When a silicone implant ruptures, the cohesive gel accumulates within the pocket made for the implant. Surgery is conducted to remove remnants of free silicone and replace the failed implant with a new one.