I really like the feel of silicone, but I scared of them leaking. What happens when a silicone implant ruptures?

Answers from doctors (14)


More About Doctor Christopher Pelletiere, MD

Published on Jan 04, 2019

All the silicone gel implants used in the US these days are cohesive; meaning if the shell tears it should not be able to leak out. It is like jello, so it generally would just sit there. Silicone gel implants are the most studied medical device in the history of the FDA, and they have not been found to cause any systemic medical problems. I hope this helps.

Answered by Christopher Pelletiere, MD (View Profile)

All the silicone gel implants used in the US these days are cohesive; meaning if the shell tears it should not be able to leak out. It is like jello, so it generally would just sit there. Silicone gel implants are the most studied medical device in the history of the FDA, and they have not been found to cause any systemic medical problems. I hope this helps.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Larry Leverett, MD, FACS

Published on Nov 11, 2016

Get the highly cohesive silicone gel implants. They are silicone. When cut, they are filled with a solid rather than liquid silicone. Therefore, they may break with extreme trauma but there is nothing in them to leak.

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Answered by Larry Leverett, MD, FACS

Get the highly cohesive silicone gel implants. They are silicone. When cut, they are filled with a solid rather than liquid silicone. Therefore, they may break with extreme trauma but there is nothing in them to leak.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


ELLIOT B. DUBOYS, MD, FACS

Published on Jun 21, 2016

Today's implants are made of a cohesive silicone gel. In the case of rupture, the surgeon goes in through the same incision and removes the ruptured implant and almost always replaces it with a new implant.

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Answered by ELLIOT B. DUBOYS, MD, FACS

Today's implants are made of a cohesive silicone gel. In the case of rupture, the surgeon goes in through the same incision and removes the ruptured implant and almost always replaces it with a new implant.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Sean Kelishadi, M.D.

Published on May 10, 2016

The new silicone breast implants are made of a more highly cohesive gel. Their shells are stronger too, making them less likely to rupture. But, in case they do, they don't spill everywhere like the old ones used to because the gel tends to stick to itself and maintain shape and form. Silicone is an inert substance and is used in knees and other joints for replacement. It is also found in high concentrations in infant formula--babies drink silicone every day!

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Answered by Sean Kelishadi, M.D.

The new silicone breast implants are made of a more highly cohesive gel. Their shells are stronger too, making them less likely to rupture. But, in case they do, they don't spill everywhere like the old ones used to because the gel tends to stick to itself and maintain shape and form. Silicone is an inert substance and is used in knees and other joints for replacement. It is also found in high concentrations in infant formula--babies drink silicone every day!

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Kenneth L. Stein M.D. FACS

Published on Apr 18, 2016

With silicone, it usually stays within the capsule. However, ask your doctor.
Unlike the saline, which you can tell right away, they do not rupture, but over time can breakdown. It was reported in some 30-year-old cases. You can look at the science on this question, at the Mentor website, and the Allergan website for silicone breast implants. That would be very informative for you.

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Answered by Kenneth L. Stein M.D. FACS

With silicone, it usually stays within the capsule. However, ask your doctor.
Unlike the saline, which you can tell right away, they do not rupture, but over time can breakdown. It was reported in some 30-year-old cases. You can look at the science on this question, at the Mentor website, and the Allergan website for silicone breast implants. That would be very informative for you.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Edward Domanskis M.D.

Published on Mar 24, 2016

It is very unusual that a new type of silicone implant would rupture. It is more likely to happen in emergency situations, such as being in a car accident with a seat belt on.

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Answered by Edward Domanskis M.D.

It is very unusual that a new type of silicone implant would rupture. It is more likely to happen in emergency situations, such as being in a car accident with a seat belt on.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Robert J. Brueck MD, FACS

Published on Mar 24, 2016

Silicone is the best and is SAFE. If the implant ruptures, the capsule that forms around the implant confines it to that space.

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Answered by Robert J. Brueck MD, FACS

Silicone is the best and is SAFE. If the implant ruptures, the capsule that forms around the implant confines it to that space.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


More About Doctor James Fernau MD

Published on Jun 09, 2015

The new Sientra 5.0 implants have a low rupture rate and if ruptured the cohesive nature of the silicone keeps it well maintained in the shell and surrounding capsule .

Answered by James Fernau MD (View Profile)

The new Sientra 5.0 implants have a low rupture rate and if ruptured the cohesive nature of the silicone keeps it well maintained in the shell and surrounding capsule .

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Daniel C. Mills, M.D., F.A.C.S

Published on Jun 05, 2015

We would all be happier if the silicone implants did not break but we know from experience that they do at about 10 years. They are much more cohesive today than they used to be which makes them safer. But to be sure you could change them out before they break. Follow-up exams and mammograms can help you manage this.

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Answered by Daniel C. Mills, M.D., F.A.C.S

We would all be happier if the silicone implants did not break but we know from experience that they do at about 10 years. They are much more cohesive today than they used to be which makes them safer. But to be sure you could change them out before they break. Follow-up exams and mammograms can help you manage this.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Robert Kearney, MD

Published on Jun 05, 2015

The new silicone gel implants are cohesive gel. I relate this to my patients as gel implants are like canned cranberries. If you get a pin hole in the can nothing comes out. If you put a saline implant in and it gets a pinhole the saline leaks and you have to replace the implant to maintain symmetry. If a silicone implant gets a small leak it is not detectable and therefore inconsequential. If you get a larger leak you can get gel outside the scar capsule but it usually remains in contact with the rest of the implant. In my experience this is picked up on physical exam 95% of the time. I don not recommend to my patients surveillance MRI scans as there is a significant number of false positive scans. If your implant feels soft and looks good there is no reason for an MRI scan. We don't operate on xrays, we operate on patients.

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Answered by Robert Kearney, MD

The new silicone gel implants are cohesive gel. I relate this to my patients as gel implants are like canned cranberries. If you get a pin hole in the can nothing comes out. If you put a saline implant in and it gets a pinhole the saline leaks and you have to replace the implant to maintain symmetry. If a silicone implant gets a small leak it is not detectable and therefore inconsequential. If you get a larger leak you can get gel outside the scar capsule but it usually remains in contact with the rest of the implant. In my experience this is picked up on physical exam 95% of the time. I don not recommend to my patients surveillance MRI scans as there is a significant number of false positive scans. If your implant feels soft and looks good there is no reason for an MRI scan. We don't operate on xrays, we operate on patients.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Joseph M. Perlman, M.D.

Published on Jun 05, 2015

There have been a lot of studies done over the years by numerous institutions. There's no clear medical evidence that silicone leaking from an implant causes any health issues. These were done in hundreds of thousands of patients. The newer implants have a more stable molecular structure than the old implants from the 80s and 90s that caused concerns. Your body forms a "shell" of scar tissue around implant called a capsule. Silicone that were to leak from an implant would most likely stay contained within a capsule.

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Answered by Joseph M. Perlman, M.D.

There have been a lot of studies done over the years by numerous institutions. There's no clear medical evidence that silicone leaking from an implant causes any health issues. These were done in hundreds of thousands of patients. The newer implants have a more stable molecular structure than the old implants from the 80s and 90s that caused concerns. Your body forms a "shell" of scar tissue around implant called a capsule. Silicone that were to leak from an implant would most likely stay contained within a capsule.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


John J. O'Brien, Jr. M.D.

Published on Jun 05, 2015

the breast implants that are currently in use are of a cohesive gel nature much like a gummy bear.they don't actually rupture but they may leak causing some surrounding scar tissue. This scar tissue would need to be removed and the implants replaced. There is no definitive timetable although most authority's believe patient's get an average of 10-15 years with a set of breast implants.

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Answered by John J. O'Brien, Jr. M.D.

the breast implants that are currently in use are of a cohesive gel nature much like a gummy bear.they don't actually rupture but they may leak causing some surrounding scar tissue. This scar tissue would need to be removed and the implants replaced. There is no definitive timetable although most authority's believe patient's get an average of 10-15 years with a set of breast implants.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Steely Plastic Surgery

Published on Jun 05, 2015

Great question.

The modern generation of breast implant uses a gel that is significantly more cohesive than previous generations- think of Jello as opposed to hair gel. These implants tend to hold their form much more readily than the previous generation implants.
I recommend to my patients that they consider a removal or replacement of their implants every 10 years or so- that is the point where the rupture rate starts to slightly trend upward due to the years of wear and tear on the implants.

It is important to understand that a multitude of studies have show that leaking silicone gel has no adverse effects on the body and has not caused any systemic disease. It is however much easier to remove and replace intact implants as opposed to ruptured implants. I have a very busy implant practice and have not had a single patient have a rupture due to trauma- meaning ski accidents, car accidents, bike accidents (i even had one lady fall off a cliff without rupturing her implants!)- they are extremely durable.

I hope this helps

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Answered by Steely Plastic Surgery

Great question.

The modern generation of breast implant uses a gel that is significantly more cohesive than previous generations- think of Jello as opposed to hair gel. These implants tend to hold their form much more readily than the previous generation implants.
I recommend to my patients that they consider a removal or replacement of their implants every 10 years or so- that is the point where the rupture rate starts to slightly trend upward due to the years of wear and tear on the implants.

It is important to understand that a multitude of studies have show that leaking silicone gel has no adverse effects on the body and has not caused any systemic disease. It is however much easier to remove and replace intact implants as opposed to ruptured implants. I have a very busy implant practice and have not had a single patient have a rupture due to trauma- meaning ski accidents, car accidents, bike accidents (i even had one lady fall off a cliff without rupturing her implants!)- they are extremely durable.

I hope this helps

Published on Jul 11, 2012


More About Doctor John Zannis, M.D.

Published on Jun 05, 2015

This is a very valid and common concern. Fortunately, modern implants have evolved quite a bit and the current cohesive gel implants are of superior quality. The fact is they do not leak at all, like liquid does. They maintain their shape and the silicone stays contained within the implant and its capsule. A ruptured gel implant is unlikely, but if it were to occur, the only adverse effects would be potentially a change in your breast shape or the feel of the implant. Hope this helps!

John Zannis, MD
North Carolina, USA

Answered by John Zannis, M.D. (View Profile)

This is a very valid and common concern. Fortunately, modern implants have evolved quite a bit and the current cohesive gel implants are of superior quality. The fact is they do not leak at all, like liquid does. They maintain their shape and the silicone stays contained within the implant and its capsule. A ruptured gel implant is unlikely, but if it were to occur, the only adverse effects would be potentially a change in your breast shape or the feel of the implant. Hope this helps!

John Zannis, MD
North Carolina, USA

Published on Jul 11, 2012


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