Do I Have A Breast Implant Rupture?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I want to know if my breast implant got ruptured. I got in a car accident last week. My car was from the side and the air bag was deployed, striking my right breast with considerable force. Although both cars were badly damaged, no one was injured. The only injury I got was a big right breast bruise and pain. I still have pain and numbness on the right side of breast as well as the bruising. Is there any chance that my breast implant ruptured? I had silicone gel breast implants placed five years ago. I am worried about tearing my implant bag. There is no sign of any difference in size between the breasts and the pain is slowly becoming less. Do you think my breast implant is ruptured?

A: The majority of silicone breast implants fail (breast implant rupture) by the development of a small tear or hole that develops from fatigue fracture of the shell in one area. But acute high impact trauma, like from the deployment of an airbag, is one example of the type of force impact that could cause breast implant failure. With considerable bruising of the breast and pain you understandably have legitimate concerns about the integrity of the underlying breast implant. For a variety of reasons, including legal documentation, you should have the breast implant evaluated. Either an ultrasound or an MRI would provide a good assessment of the integrity of your breast implant. You should see a board-certified plastic surgeon for an evaluation and to have the appropriate test ordered.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana