After an inquiry by the French Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons revealed safety issues with Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP) breast implants, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons issued a guidance warning the estimated 50,000 British women who have the implants to check for ruptures within the next six months.
PIP breast implants were found to lack an essential protective barrier, causing them to rupture more easily than most breast implants, and were filled with unapproved silicone gel that had not undergone safety tests.
When ruptures or leaks are found in breast implants, a breast augmentation revision may be recommended to replace breast implants; however, it may not always be necessary.
Some women choose not to have revision surgery if their ruptured implants do not cause problems with breast appearance or health, while others choose to have breast explant surgery, or breast implant removal, but do not have their ruptured implants replaced. When breast implants are removed and a breast augmentation revision is not performed, a breast lift may be performed to remove skin stretched by the breast implants. A breast lift with implants is also an option depending on how much ptosis, or sagging, a patient has experienced since the initial breast augmentation surgery.
Unlike the PIP breast implants under recall in Europe, silicone breast implants used for breast augmentation surgery in the U.S. are filled with safe, FDA-approved silicone gel, but they may rupture due to age, implant malfunction or trauma. Ruptures are easy to detect in saline breast implants, as the implants deflate and noticeably lose volume, while an MRI is necessary in order to detect a rupture in silicone breast implants.
If you discover your breast implants have ruptured, it is important to remain calm, as there is no immediate health risk. Consult a highly experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon who can show you before and after photos of patients who have undergone breast revision surgery and help you decide whether breast augmentation revision or implant removal, with or without a breast lift, is right for you.