If your silicone gel implant ruptures, you might – or might not – notice a change in the size or shape of your breast. Or you might feel pain or tenderness, swelling, numbness, burning, or tingling. However, you might not have any symptoms, and might not realize that your implant is broken and possibly leaking. This can be harmful to your health, and the longer the implant is leaking in your body, the more harm it can cause.
The best way to know whether your silicone breast implant has ruptured or is leaking is to have an MRI with a breast coil. Unfortunately, MRIs are expensive and MRIs to check for implant rupture may not be covered by insurance.
Because most women don’t realize that a silicone gel implant has ruptured, the FDA recommends having a breast MRI three years after getting breast implants. After that, a breast MRI should be done every other year to check for a rupture. That way any leaks can be caught early, helping to protect your health.
A mammogram is not usually an accurate way to diagnose a ruptured silicone-gel breast implant. In addition, the pressure from mammography could cause the implant to break and could cause a broken implant to leak.
If even one of your silicone gel implants is ruptured, it should be removed as soon as possible. The longer the silicone is leaking into your body, the more time it has to migrate to your other organs, such as your lungs or liver, or even your brain. When that happens, the silicone can be impossible to remove.
All articles are reviewed and approved by Diana Zuckerman, PhD, and other senior staff.