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Determining whether or not your breast implants are ruptured or still intact can either be easy and free or more involved and probably costing you more than a few bucks.

Of course, easy and free is what you would choose if given the choice. However, once you have selected your breast implants and had your breast augmentation, you no longer have a say in this matter.

“And why is that?” you’re thinking.

Because the type of implant that you picked for your breast augmentation – either saline or silicone – will automatically determine this.

Saline implants, which are filled with a sterile saline solution, will decrease in size – often quite quickly and substantially. I have had a few patients tell me that when they got out of the shower, they noticed a discernible decrease in size from which had not been present right before. Most women do notice a substantial reduction in size anywhere from a few hours to a few days. It is rare for it to take much longer than that.

Because it is so obvious, no mammograms, ultrasounds or MRIs are needed to make the diagnosis. Hence, the reason for “free”.

In my opinion, this is essentially the only advantage that saline implants have over silicone implants.

In contrast, it is virtually impossible clinically (with some caveats) to determine whether a silicone implant is ruptured or not. Typically, there is no change in size or shape of the implant – especially the ones manufactured within the last 25 years or so. There are also no symptoms associated with a disruption which is why this is referred to as a “silent rupture”.

So, how can you determine whether or not your silicone breast implants are intact or ruptured?

The best way to detect a ruptured silicone implant would be either with a digital ultrasound or an MRI. These tests are not likely to be free to you, unfortunately.

It is also important for you to know that there can be false positives and false negatives even with these studies. This means that there will be a small percentage of readings that interpret the implants to be ruptured when they are not as well as not detecting a loss of implant integrity when it is present.

These issues and more can be discussed with your board certified plastic surgeon. For more information on this from my office, you can contact us by phone or email.


Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona

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