A rare but potentially dangerous breast implant mishap is at the center of a new lawsuit in San Diego, California. Roger Hedgecock, the former mayor of San Diego, is a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit that blames the city for failing to repair a sidewalk damaged by a tree, which he claims caused his wife to trip and fall, allegedly leading her breast implants to rupture and leak silicone into her bloodstream. The suit claims Cynthia Hedecock’s 2015 injury required removal of her implants and a “grueling procedure” to get them replaced followed by several weeks of recovery.
What causes breast implants to rupture, and how common is it?
While trauma from physical impact can cause breast implants to rupture, so can the age of implants, board-certified plastic surgeon Alan Matarasso, M.D., spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, told Fox News. That said, there’s no standard frequency plastic surgeons recommend women replace their breast implants, and most of the time, a silicone rupture can occur before it’s physically noticeable.
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Statistics on the commonality of ruptures vary depending on the year of implantation and the manufacturer, but these events are “very rare,” Matarasso said.
How can you tell if there’s a rupture?
According to the Mayo Clinic, changes in breast size or shape, pain, soreness or swelling, lumps, or softening or hardening, may be signs of a breast implant rupture.
The best way to tell if that’s the case is with a mammogram, said Matarasso, who’s also the vice president of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and Private Practice in New York City. “The mammographers are so skilled now because there are over 2 million women with breast implants in the U.S.,” he explained. In fact, Matarasso said, “There’s a term in radiology called a ‘spaghetti sign,’ where they can tell if the implant is ruptured.”