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    How Strong Is A Breast Implant? (video)

    “What happens if my breast implant breaks?”, “What does it take to break a breast implant?”

    These are two commonly asked questions that patients ask plastic surgeons during consultations for breast augmentation.  I’ve been told that the Mythbusters television show demonstrated that a breast implant can survive being run over by a car and I’ve relayed this information to a few of my patients.  But when we searched for a clip from that show we were unable to find any evidence of this experiment.  So we thought we’d give it a shot by running over a saline breast implant with my truck.  Not that it makes a huge difference but I drive a large truck (Ford Raptor SVT) so this is a true test of the implant’s strength.
    Most implant ruptures or breaks are spontaneous and are likely a result of what the breast implant companies have coined a mechanical failure, or a manufacturer defect.  This explains why when I remove a ruptured saline implant from a patient I am often unable to find a leak in the deflated breast implant after it is removed.
    Although our little test has zero scientific validity it is not a gimmick.  As a plastic surgeon I was quite curious about whether or not the implant would remain intact.
    Results:  When part of the saline-filled breast implant is outside of the tire base the implant stretches and remains intact.  The test was repeated many times on hard pavement with the implant sitting on a blue towel like the ones I use in surgery.  When the entire breast implant is placed under the tire the implant ruptures.  We filmed this second test in slow motion.
    What does this test prove?  The test demonstrates that these are very strong, pliable medical devices.  Obviously no situation in normal daily life mimics this test but I found the results very interesting.  I can now honestly tell my patients that the implant was undamaged after being repeatedly smashed into the pavement.  And this isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds.  I have a patient who is a professional soccer player and she was very concerned about her risk for rupture while playing soccer. This test helped ease her concern.
    So enjoy the video and let me know what you think!


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