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Implant Ruptures and Malposition: Causes and How To Spot It

Implant Ruptures and Malposition: Causes and How To Spot It

Sometimes, after undergoing breast implant surgery, complications may occur. Aside from the normal and expected initial swelling and pain that can be managed with medication and other simple steps, two of the most common implant problems are rupture and moving out of the intended position.

Malposition and rupture of implants are both complications that would require breast implant revision surgery to address. BB Clinic’s Specialist Breast and General Surgeon Dr Yunaev can perform effective revision procedures, with his extensive experience in breast surgery.

If, after reading, you are concerned about implant rupture or malposition, we recommend contacting our team and booking a consultation today.

How do implants rupture?

Implant rupture occurs in the form of a hole or tear on the outer silicone layer. Both silicone and saline implants will have a silicone layer, but will be filled with different contents.

An implant can rupture due to expected aging of the implant over time and wearing out of the shell, accidents or trauma that can impact the breast, and surgical errors. The risk of an implant rupture very slowly increases year by year with 10-15% chance of rupture at 10 years post-surgery, so breast augmentation patients may need to undergo an average of one to two implant replacements later in life.

When an implant ruptures, the substance that fills the implant will begin to leak. Silicone implants will leak faster and be absorbed by the body quickly and potentially transported to other sites like lymph nodes or other parts of breast tissue casing hard lumps called granulomas, while the thicker silicone gel will leak slower and not be absorbed by the body and generally tends to be contained within the capsule that forms around the implant.

How can implants move?

When a foreign object is placed into the body, such as a breast implant, a protective capsule of scar tissue will form around it. A potential complication of breast procedures with implants is malposition, which can involve the rotation or a flip of an implant inside the protective capsule or sagging downwards or sideways of the implant..

Certain types of breast implants have a higher chance of moving out of place over time than others. Breast implants are available in either teardrop or round shapes, and smooth or textured surfaces. The position of the implant insertion behind the pec muscle or in front of the muscle will also determine the likelihood of malposition. Generally, smooth implants are likely to displace more than textured and prepectoral implants are also more likely to change position compared to subpectoral.

Signs of a ruptured implant

The signs of an implant rupture can include a change in the shape or size of the breast, which is more noticeable in saline implants, as the implant will deflate quickly if that happens. Firmness, swelling and pain and mal[position can also indicate a rupture in an implant.

However, a silicone implant can rupture without showing any symptoms. This is referred to as a “silent rupture,” and can be detected during a check up appointment. To ensure that your implants haven’t ruptured, your surgeon will recommend check up appointments after a set period of time after your initial procedure.

How to tell if you have implant malposition

You may be able to spot the unwanted movement of your breast implants by changes in symmetry, changes in breast shape, or a distorted appearance. Your breasts can also feel different to the touch. Implants can also slowly move towards the armpits, an occurrence referred to as lateral displacement.

Naturally, implants can slowly drop from their initial very high position after a breast augmentation in the first 3-6 months post operatively. This is expected, and normal amounts of movement shouldn’t interfere with the quality of the results. However, breast implants can sometimes drop down too far, becoming “bottomed out.” You will be able to tell if your implants have bottomed out if your nipples look as if they are sitting too high.

Revision surgery for implant rupture and malposition

The treatment for ruptures in implants and malposition is revision surgery.

In revision surgery, the affected implant is removed, typically along with the other implant to ensure symmetry and prevent the chance of a second rupture. Depending on the patient’s personal preferences, new implants can then be inserted, or the breasts can be left without implants.

Another option for patients after having implants removed is to undergo a breast fat transfer instead of receiving new implants. This procedure uses donated fat from other sites of the body, such as the abdomen, thighs or hips, and transfers it to the breasts to enhance the volume and shape. It can be an alternative to removing the implants without replacing them, for patients who would like a more subtle look and want to avoid the chance of further implant complications occurring in the future.

Dr Yunaev: Specialist Breast and General Surgeon

If you need revision surgery to correct post-procedural complications after a breast procedure, Principal Doctor at Breast & Body Clinic Dr Yunaev takes a patient-centred, supportive approach.

Using advanced techniques, refined over his career and through his research, he aims to create the best results possible for each and every patient. Revision surgery on the breasts demands a high level of knowledge and experience, which Dr Yunaev demonstrates with his passion for breast cancer surgery, benign and congenital breast disease surgery and aesthetic breast and body surgery.

For more information on revision surgery to correct implant ruptures or malposition, or to book a consultation, contact our team today.

Have a question for Dr Yunaev on this procedure?

Your question will be answered within 24 hours by Dr Yunaev; a Specialist Breast and General Surgeon with extensive training and experience.

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  • Implant Ruptures and Malposition: Causes and How To Spot It
  • Implant Ruptures and Malposition: Causes and How To Spot It
  • Implant Ruptures and Malposition: Causes and How To Spot It
  • Implant Ruptures and Malposition: Causes and How To Spot It

“My team and I are committed to tailoring a personalised approach to you and your concerns so that you may benefit from our expertise and we can meet your expectations.” Dr Michael Yunaev
MS (Breast Surgery), BreastSurgANZ Breast Fellow, Aesthetic Breast and Body Fellow, FRACS (General Surgery), MPH, BMedSc (Hons).