As Michelle Heaton’s breast implant ruptures – everything you need to know about implants

As Michelle Heaton’s breast implant ruptures – everything you need to know about implants

January 29, 2022

Earlier this month Michelle Heaton documented how her ruptured breast implant was spotted after fans noticed her misshapen breast in a photo. The 42-year-old singer sought medical advice after the eagle-eyed fans expressed their concern.

Michelle had her implants as part of a double mastectomy and reconstruction 10 years ago due an 85 per cent risk of getting breast cancer in her 30s due to the BRCA gene, and admitted she'd experienced a 'rollercoaster of emotions'.

The mum of two told her followers how she is starting the process of getting her ruptured implants removed in a candid Instagram post, writing 'I am excited to be sharing a positive update on my reconstruction… there was a serious risk my breast implants had ruptured.

She confirmed: "I'll now be seeing one of Sculpt My Body's specialists for consultation in Harley Street to discuss having the implants removed so can finally start looking forward to the future."

OK! quizzed an expert about breast implants, and what the risks of rupturing actually are. "Breast augmentation still remains the number one cosmetic procedure in the UK,’ explains plastic surgeon, Dr Paul Banwell. "Personally, I’m seeing a rise in the desire for a shapely but incredibly natural result."

According to figures released by The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation was the UK's most popular surgical procedure in 2020, when 4,702 carried out. Meanwhile breast reduction was the second most popular, with 3,290 undertaken.

"I perform a number of different types of surgery for the breasts,” says Dr Banwell. ‘Many are for the correction of sagging breasts."

What are the different types of breast surgeries available?

Breast augmentation – aka a ‘boob job’

"Breast augmentation is one of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures in the world,’ explains Dr Paul Banwell. ‘It aims to increase the size of the breasts but can also be suitable to correct asymmetry. The surgery involves placing a breast implant either behind the breast tissue or partially under the pectoralis muscle. The insertion of the implant will make the breast appear larger and fuller."

He explains that in addition to breast augmentation surgery, there are other surgeries that can be done to reshape sagging breasts.

Breast uplift

"A breast lift attempts to naturally redrape the breast skin envelope to raise the position of the nipple and create a lift,’ he explains.

"The main reasons for choosing this procedure is to reshape sagging breasts and improve contour, increase firmness, raise position of downward pointing nipples, reduce the size of areola and of course, improve self-esteem.

"The breast can be lifted using a number of surgical techniques including the Wise pattern technique, possibly using a periareolar incision – also known as the donut technique where the incision runs in a circular fashion around the areolar – as well as minimal scar techniques’ explains Dr Paul Banwell.

Augmentation Mastopexy – an enlargement with an uplift

"This is a technique designed to improve the shape and position of the female breasts without reducing their size," says Dr Banwell.

"It’s a term used for breasts which sag but are not necessarily too large. Sagging of the breasts can occur as a natural part of aging. Pregnancy, breast-feeding, hormones, diet and weight loss can also increase breast ptosis (more commonly known as sagging). If an implant is used at the time of mastopexy this is called an augmentation mastopexy. Mastopexy surgery is safe when carried out by a qualified and skilled surgeon."

When should implants be exchanged?

Michelle isn’t alone in needing her implant exchanged according to the expert.

"Many patients will need implants exchanged in the first ten to fifteen years for various reasons such as desire to change size or volume, a ruptured implant – like Michelle has – capsular contracture (scar tissue), issues with rippling, wanting new innovations, and so on,’ explains Dr Paul Banwell.

Can all breast implants rupture?

‘All breast implants have an outer silicone shell that has the potential to tear or develop a hole, this is called a rupture,’ he says. ‘A saline implant has a valve that can sometimes cause a leak. The chance of your implant rupturing increases over time. Overall there is between a one to ten percent chance of rupture, so it's still quite rare.'

Will a ruptured implant increase the chance of breast cancer?

"Although a ruptured implant can cause pain or changes in the shape of the breast, they aren’t thought to be able to cause breast cancer or arthritis," reassures Dr Banwell. "It is however important to contact your surgeon if you think that your implant has ruptured."

What are the signs that your implant has ruptured?

"There are a number of signs that your breast implant has ruptured,’ explains Dr Paul Banwell. "Look out for changes in breast shape and size, pain, increase in firmness, and swelling. However, it’s also possible to experience a ‘silent rupture’ which is when a silicone implant ruptures but doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms."

Is breast surgery the only option to prevent sagging boobs?

"With age our skin loses elasticity and starts to thin, so gravity has an easier time pulling the breasts down," explains Dr Paul Banwell. ‘That stretching process accelerates as we get older.

"In addition to our age and genetics, lifestyle factors may also have an impact. To prevent sagging breasts, avoid smoking, apply a broad-spectrum SPF regularly. Not wearing a bra can also have an impact, as can losing a large amount of weight in a short period of time."

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