Is My Breast Implant Leaking?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had breast implants placed 12 years ago. One of my implants is encapsulated. That breast nipple is leaking an oily green substance. Can this be a leak?

A: Since your breast implants were originally placed in 2000, you have saline breast implants if they were placed solely for cosmetic reasons. The only silicone breast implants that were placed at that time were those for breast reconstructions. When saline breast implants leak, they deflate and exude water which is not an oily substance. In addition, every breast implant has a surrounding layer of scar (capsule) which for some implants become abnormally thick and have varying degrees of hardness. (capsular contracture) This capsule serves as a very firm barrier that even silicone gel can not escape unless a capsular tear occurs. That is a long description to say that what is coming out of nipple most likely has nothing to do with your underlying breast implant per se. I suspect that the hard capsular contracture may be pushing against the breast duct/glands causing these secretions.

Dr. Barry Eppley Indianapolis, Indiana