Causes And Symptoms of Rupture / Deflation

Rupture/deflation is a serious complication that can occur after breast augmentation. When there is a break in the shell of the breast implants or an unsealed or damaged valve leaks, the result is rupture/deflation. Rupture/deflation has different characteristics depending on whether it occurs with saline or silicone implants. This serious complication can occur just a few months after the breast augmentation surgery or it may occur after ten or more years of having implants.

Risk Level

Causes And Symptoms of Rupture / Deflation

Medical studies have not been able to pinpoint the exact level of risk posed by rupture/deflation. Much of the reason for such a large range is that the risk of rupture/deflation depends on the type of implant and several other factors. In 1995, the commissioner of the FDA testified before a congressional committee that the risk of rupture/deflation is between five and fifty-one percent. Other recent sources estimate that the risk is somewhere between seven and seventy-seven percent. Manufacturer's studies claim the risk of rupture/deflation is about ten percent over ten years.

Causes Of Rupture / Deflation

There are certain activities that are contraindicated, or not recommended, because they can cause rupture/deflation.

  • Closed capsulotomy - a procedure to treat capsular contracture.
  • Placing any substance besides saline into saline implants.
  • Injecting through the implant shell.
  • Altering the implants in any way.
  • Placing more than one implant into the pocket created during breast augmentation surgery.

There Are Several Possible Reasons That Rupture / Deflation

  • Over-handling of the implants during surgery, particularly the TUBA technique, can compromise the implants and increase the risk of rupture/deflation.
  • Surgical instruments may also damage the implants during breast augmentation surgery. Over or under filling of the breast implants may also lead to rupture/deflation.
  • Capsular contracture.
  • Physical pressure or trauma.
  • Compression during a mammogram.
  • Damage related to other medical procedures like a biopsy or fluid drainage.
  • Normal aging of the implants also increases the risk of rupture / deflation.

Symptoms Of Rupture / Deflation

Rupture/deflation in saline implants usually happens immediately or may take a few days to occur. When saline implants rupture or deflate it is noticeable to the woman. Her breast will look "deflated" and/or the size and shape of her breast will change. Silent ruptures, without any symptoms, are more common with silicone implants. When a silicone rupture/deflation occurs, the gel may stay within the capsule or may slowly leak to surrounding areas such as the chest wall, armpit, and even make its way to organs like the liver. Without symptoms, the only way to tell that a silicone implant has ruptured is to have an MRI performed. It is unclear exactly what health complications are caused by the presence of silicone in the body.