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When a woman undergoes breast augmentation surgery or breast reconstruction with implants, she will at some point in the future need to either exchange her implants or if she so desires, have them removed. Breast implants are not manufactured to last a lifetime and are not considered permanent devices and therefore, manufacturers and plastic surgeons recommend maintaining your implants. This usually occurs within the first 10-15 years after the initial surgery. Breast implants may be removed or exchanged  for various reasons including but not limited to:

  • Failure or rupture
  • Hardening of scar around implant (known as capsular contracture)
  • Infection or fluid collections
  • Malposition or discomfort
  • Patient desires

How will I know if my implant has failed or ruptured?

This depends on the type of implant you have, ie saline or silicone. If you have a saline implant, the failure or rupture will be visible as a change in size of the breast over a short amount of time. A silicone implant rupture often is silent- you may not notice a change at all. Some women may notice a change in shape or a hardening of the breast over time.  An MRI is often required to detect a rupture in a silicone implant.

What does an en bloc removal mean?

En bloc removal of an implant means that the implant and scar pocket that forms around the implant known as the capsule are removed together as one unit. This is often performed in patients who have a known rupture of a silicone implant or if the patient is having removal of her implants and does not desire replacement.

Can my breast implants make me sick?

Like any medical device, breast implant placement has risks. Breast implants have been studied scientifically for decades and have not been found to cause automimmune diseases or increase a risk of breast cancer. However, some patients may experience a negative reaction or symptoms that they associate with their implants. An extremely rare and highly treatable lymphoma known as Breast Implant- Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) has been found to be associated with textured breast implants. In addition, more attention has been placed on looking at Breast Implant Ilness (BII) which involves a variety of symptoms that women with breast implants are associating with having implants.  More scientific studies are being performed to look further into this patient population.

Please see these articles published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal for more information:


It is important to consult with a board certified  plastic surgeon like Dr. Melissa Crosby for any symptoms or changes in the appearance of your breasts felt to be associated with your implants.

Contact Dr. Melissa Crosby today by calling (832) 939-8500.