Category Archives: Have Questions?

How Do I Find Out If My Silicone Gel Breast Implants Are Leaking, and What Should I Do If They Are?

If your silicone gel implant ruptures, you might – or might not – notice a change in the size or shape of your breast. You might feel pain, tenderness, swelling, numbness, burning, or tingling on or around your breast. 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 silicone in your body, the more harm it can cause.

The best way to know whether your silicone breast implant has ruptured 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 breast MRIs regularly to detect ruptures that have no symptoms.  When silicone breast implants were first approved, the FDA recommended that all women undergo a breast MRI 3 years after getting breast implants, and every other year after that. However, because of the expense and the reluctance of plastic surgeons to encourage MRIs for silent ruptures, very few women followed the FDA’s advice.  As of October 2020, FDA now recommends an MRI 5-6 years after the initial surgery and every 2-3 years after that. 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.

To read more about breast implant ruptures or leakage, click here. To read more about removing ruptured breast implants, click here.

All articles are reviewed and approved by Diana Zuckerman, PhD, and other senior staff.

My Saline Breast Implant Deflated. What Should I Do?

When a saline (salt water) breast implant ruptures, it will probably leak very quickly. The implant deflates much like a balloon that has lost the air inside. As this happens, your breast will change in size and/or shape. When the saline leaks, the body absorbs it. It is usually harmless unless bacteria, yeast, or mold are inside the implant. They can cause a serious infection. If you notice a change in the size or shape of your saline implant along with symptoms like swelling, redness, or fever you should see a doctor immediately. If your breast implant ruptures, you should have it removed to prevent infection, leakage, pain, and other problems.

Because breast implant removal includes costs (such as anesthesia) that are similar whether you have one implant removed or two, it is usually best to remove them both at the same time, whether or not you want them to be replaced. For example, if your implants were put in at the same time and one is ruptured, it is likely that the other will rupture soon. One surgery is much less expensive than two.

You will also need to decide whether to have your implants replaced. If you have had problems with one or both of your breast implants, it is likely that those problems will develop if your implants are replaced. Before you undergo surgery, learn about the many health issues that can be caused by breast implants. You might be surprised to learn that health issues that seemed unrelated to your implants might actually be caused by them. Some women find that replacing their implants leads to an endless cycle of future surgeries. To learn more about how to find a plastic surgeon, click here.

All articles are reviewed and approved by Diana Zuckerman, PhD, and other senior staff.

Is it Safe to Breastfeed with Breast Implants?

According to the Institute of Medicine, any kind of breast surgery, including breast implant surgery, makes it more likely that a woman trying to breastfeed will not have enough milk to breastfeed (lactation insufficiency).

Unfortunately, little is known about the safety of breast milk among women with breast implants. Pediatricians believe the milk is safe, but there is so little research that we don’t know if that is true. Some women believe that their children are sick because of their breast implants, while others think their children were not harmed at all by nursing with implants.

A few years ago, a chemistry professor at American University, Dr. Susan Maharaj, reported finding high levels of platinum in the breast milk of women with breast implants. She also reported that children who had been breastfed by women with breast implants had dangerously high levels of platinum in their bodies. Platinum is used to help make breast implants, but is supposed to be used in very tiny microscopic amounts. Children who had been breastfed before the same mothers got breast implants did not have high levels of platinum.

We are not doctors and we are not providing medical advice, but we can tell you what we know from research and from speaking with many experts and women who have had implants.

All articles are reviewed and approved by Diana Zuckerman, PhD, and other senior staff.