Are you or worried that you have leaking silicone breast implants? Read more to know the symptoms, causes, risks, and treatments to help you deal with the situation better to avoid possible complications.
Studies show that up to 12% of silicone implants break within eight years after being implanted. There is less of a chance that gel will leak compared to saltwater. However, another difference is the body can safely absorb a saline solution but not silicone gel.
Both saline and gel-filled breast implants include a hard silicone shell. The main difference is the substance that fills the unit. There are pros and cons to both types. For example, silicone gel implants have an appearance and texture that’s closer to a natural breast. However, another key difference is the body can’t absorb the gel if the shell breaks/leaks. That is a different situation compared to saltwater-filled implants. In that case, the body can absorb the saltwater, and it won’t cause any health issues.
What Are Silicone Gel-filled Breast Implants?
It is one of the main kinds of breast implants on the market. The other main type is the saltwater-filled unit. Both of these implants have a hard silicone gel. The difference is in the substance that fills the implants.
Silicone implants are filled with silicone gel before they are implanted. The gel is a thick fluid that is similar to human fat. This type of implant is often picked because it looks/feels closer to real breast tissue.
Women can have these implants installed from 22+ years old for the function of breast augmentation. Meanwhile, a woman of any size can have the procedure done for breast function reconstruction. This procedure is done, as part of medical treatments like breast cancer.
Most breast implant surgeries are done for cosmetic purposes while some are done for reconstruction. Talk to your doctor first about the best option for your particular needs.
There are similar risks between the two main types of breast implants. They include ones related to pain, infection, scar tissue, breaks/leaks, and breast/nipple changes. If there are issues related to these factors, there might be extra surgery required. It could be done to remove/replace breast implants.
It’s critical to know about the similarities/differences between saltwater and gel-filled units. For example, while some factors are similarly related to leaking implants, there are also some noteworthy differences. It is critical to have the implants monitored. It will keep you informed about whether or not the implant is broken/leaking, for example.
It is also important to know what the different types of implants can and can’t provide. For example, this is related to issues like the implant’s lifespan, sagging, monitoring, etc. You should also know about other issues, like how they can affect breastfeeding since it could affect your experience.
Silicone Breast Implants: Leaking
Breast implants can provide various benefits. They include ones related to self-esteem, body concept, and the breast’s size, shape, and texture. However, there are also possible risks you should be aware of including:
- Scar tissue affecting breast shape
- Implant breaking/leaking
- Changes in breast/nipple feelings
- Chest pain
If the silicone implant breaks, you might not notice it at first. That is because loose silicone often stays trapped in the tissue surrounding the implant. The good news is leaking silicone gel isn’t believed to cause various health complications like rheumatoid arthritis or breast cancer.
However, this situation could cause various issues over time. They include breast thickening, breast pain, and changes in the breast’s shape/size. In the case, this happens your doctor will probably recommend the implant be removed surgically. During this process, you can also insert a new implant if you want.
Since silicone breast implants will break or leak over time, it is essential to monitor them so you’ll know the current condition of the implant. That will help to determine whether or not the units are broken/leaking, for example.
Keep in mind some key facts related to leaking breast implants:
1. The implants won’t last forever
Breast implants generally can last up to 20 years. However, 20% of implants must be removed within ten years, so there’s a chance the process will be sooner.
2. The breasts might sill sag
You might need a breast lift to deal with this other problem. It can also be done after breast implant surgery. Talk to your physician about options.
3. Mammograms might be tougher
This is because you will need extra views if you’ve had breast implants inserted. It’s not a major issue but you should inform a heart doctor about this issue before you have mammograms.
Monitoring and Fixing Leaking Breast Implants
It’s important to know signs that the implant is broken/leaking. They include:
- Breast pain
- Increased swelling/firmness over weeks
- Breast shape/size changed
So it’s important to monitor breast implant breaks. MRI screening is important to check for something called “silent” breaks 3+ years after the original implant surgery. Then after that MRI scans should be done every few years.
It might be difficult to get financial help from health insurance companies. The main reason is they usually classify breast implants as cosmetic procedures. This can cause issues because it could increase the out-of-pocket expense you have to shell out.
In this case, you think your breast implant is broken. You should have a surgeon conduct test like imaging tests. Some examples include MRIs and ultrasound. These tests can help to determine if the implant is indeed leaking.
In general, MRI tests are considered to be more accurate tests. However, keep in mind that nothing in my life is 100%. Sometimes the MRI test might not pick up the break. In other cases, it may show a break that does not exist.
After an imaging test detects a breast implant leaked, you need to have it removed. Sometimes some scar tissue around the implant will also be removed.
In the case the patient has two implants, they will often both be removed, even if only one is broken. If you want new implants inserted, you can have it at the same time or at a later time.
There are various other options. You can talk to your doctor about the best one for your situation after you experience silicon breast implants leaking.