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Ruptured Dow Corning Breast Implants

Dow Corning Chemical Company developed the first silicone implants used for breast augmentation. These implants contain liquid silicone, which is known to pose serious health risks due to the rapid and extensive migration of the material. Studies revealed significant shell degeneration of up to 95 percent, increasing the risk of rupture over time. In the Annals of Plastic Surgery (1995), researchers concluded that silicone leakage could become intracapsular or extracapsular between eight and 14 years after surgical implantation. Implants have evolved to contain either saline solution or cohesive silicone gel, but patients with outdated Dow Corning implants still seek corrective surgery with Dr. Linder, especially in the event of implant rupture or other complication.

Dow Corning implants, like other breast prostheses, can rupture as a result of any of the following:

  • Blunt force trauma or blow to the breasts
  • Biodegradation of the implant shell
  • Mechanical pressure (i.e., mammograms or ultrasound)
  • Injury
  • Damage during the initial surgery

Symptoms of Ruptured Dow Corning Implants

Although some patients do not immediately experience noticeable side effects related to implant rupture, they are likely to see or feel signs of implant failure as time passes. Dow Corning implants are filled with liquid silicone, which tends to migrate quickly and cause various symptoms, including:

  • Swelling
  • Visible distortion
  • Pain
  • Hardening of the breasts
  • Fever
  • Calcified granulomas

Diagnosis of Implant Rupture

Even patients who develop symptoms of rupture may be unaware that their Dow Corning implants have failed. Saline implants typically show visible deflation when they rupture, but silicone-filled and other implants require MRI testing for an accurate diagnosis. An initial external examination may help diagnose some of the symptoms of Dow Corning implant rupture, but an MRI is necessary to see the extent of the damage and confirm implant failure.

Corrective Procedures

Upon diagnosis of an implant rupture, patients must immediately undergo a corrective procedure. Unlike modern breast implants that are filled with cohesive silicone gel, Dow Corning silicone can be highly challenging to remove. However, all traces of liquid silicone and granulomas must be removed during explantation or revision to ensure optimal results. Capsulectomy or capsulotomy will likely be performed in conjunction to address abnormalities in the implant capsule, such as capsular contracture.

Learn More About Ruptured Breast Implants