Saline implants are a type of implant that is placed inside an individual’s breast during a breast augmentation surgery. Saline implants are one of the most commonly utilized types of implants, along with silicone implants. It is important to note that both saline and silicone implants are subject to becoming ruptured.
A ruptured saline implant is an implant that was placed inside a patient’s body during a breast augmentation surgery, and then ruptures because of a tear or hole in the shell of the implant. When a saline implant is initially inserted into a patient’s breast, the physician during the operation will then fill the empty implant with salt water.
As such, when a saline implant ruptures, due to a hole or tear in the outer shell, the implant will begin to deflate similar to a balloon, leaking out the salt water into the body. Then the salt water that leaks out of the implant will then begin to be absorbed into the body.
When the patient notices that the rupture has occurred, it is referred to as a breast implant rupture. However, there are cases in which the patient does not realize the implant is ruptured. In those cases, the rupture is referred to as a silent rupture.
Common Symptoms of a Saline Breast Implant Rupture
As mentioned above, there are some cases in which a person that has received a saline implant may not experience any symptoms or notice that their saline breast implant has ruptured. However, in most cases, a person that has a rupture will experience one of the following symptoms:
- A dramatic decrease in breast size;
- A headache or migraine as a result of the body absorbing the salt water;
- Pain, swelling, or a burning sensation in the breast area;
- Visible redness in the breast area;
- Changes in sensation in the breast area; and/or
- Other problems in the breast area, such as mild discomfort or tenderness.
It is important to note that if a saline breast implant ruptures, the saline solution will be absorbed into one’s body. Typically, when saline is absorbed into a person’s body, there are no negative health consequences. However, surgery will still typically be needed in order to remove the outer shell of the implant.
How Hard Is It to Rupture a Saline Breast Implant?
It is important to note that saline breast implants are not guaranteed to last for a person’s lifetime. In fact, the average breast implant lasts between 10 to 20 years on average. This means that people that have received saline breast implants commonly get their implants replaced after a period of time.
As far as how hard it is to rupture a saline breast implant, with the development of implants over the years, the shell of the implant has become thicker in order to prevent spontaneous ruptures. As such, with proper care, the chances of a saline breast implant rupture is only around 1% for all cosmetic surgeries performed. Typically, in order for a saline breast implant to rupture, it requires significant trauma to the chest area.
What Are the Reasons for Implants Ruptures?
Besides direct trauma to the breast area, the reasons associated with implant ruptures vary. The following list are examples for reasons why a saline implant may rupture:
- The age of the implant is one of the most common reasons why an implant may rupture;
- Overuse of the implant is another common reason why an implant may rupture;
- Improper filling of the implant by the surgeon is another reason for ruptures; and/or
- The implant was a defective product.
What Is a Defective Product?
A defective product is a type of product liability claim. In short, product liability is the set of laws that hold a manufacturer or seller of a product accountable for placing a defective product into the stream of commerce. Under product liability laws, any party that is responsible for any part of the manufacture of a defective product can be held liable for any injuries that result from the use of the product. This includes any seller of the defective product, such as medical wholesalers or pharmacies.
For example, in the process of creating an implant there are often numerous different parties that are involved in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of the medical product. For instance one manufacturer may create the outer shell of the implant, while another manufacturer creates the various materials that go into the product. Then, after the product is made, one party will then be in charge of safely distributing the drug to a drug seller.
If the resulting product that was created is defective, such as by containing harmful bacteria or chemicals not meant to be present, then any of the following parties involved may be held liable for any resulting injuries:
- The assembling manufacturer that assembled the product together;
- The wholesaler for the product;
- The clinic that sells the end product to the consumer; and/or
- The manufacturer of the specific part of the product that was found to be defective.
Although the exact laws regarding product liability will differ by state, generally, in order for a consumer that was harmed by a defective product to be successful in their civil lawsuit against the party responsible for their injures, they must prove the following:
- That a product has been sold to them in the stream of commerce;
- That the seller or manufacturer was under an obligation to sell or manufacture the product in such a way to meet
- the ordinary expectation of average consumers;
- That at the time of sale the product contained a design defect or a manufacturing defect;
- That the defect in the product is what caused the product to be unreasonably dangerous;
- That the defect was foreseeable (i.e. predictable), and that an average consumer could have been injured by the defect; and
- That injury caused an average consumer to sustain quantifiable damages.
Once again, a design defect is a defect in the product that affects the way a product is initially designed to work. This means that the defect in the design renders the product as inherently unsafe to the consumers that the product is sold to. Design defects typically exist when the designer was planning the item, but before the product is actually manufactured.
A manufacturing defect is a defect that results from how the product is put together or assembled. In most manufacturing defects, prior and up to the point of assembly, there is nothing actually defective about the product. However, during the assembly process, the product becomes defective either due to some mistake or incorrect assembly.
Who Is Responsible for the Ruptured Implant?
Although breast surgery is an elective cosmetic surgery, the insertion of implants is still a medical surgery. This means that a physician that improperly inserts or fills an implant into a patient’s body may be subject to a breast implant malpractice claim.
Once again, if the ruptured implant is the result of the product being defective, all of the parties mentioned above may be held responsible. However, when a person is injured by a non-defective product, the following parties may be held responsible depending on the circumstances:
- The surgeon that performed the breast augmentation surgery;
- Hospitals; and/or
- Any other medical professional associates involved in the operation.
Should I Contact an Attorney about a Saline Implant Rupture?
As can be seen, saline implant rupture claims often involve complex product liability and medical malpractice laws. As such, if you have been harmed as a result of a saline implant, it is in your best interests to immediately consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you determine who may be held responsible for your injuries. Additionally, an attorney will also be able to initiate a civil lawsuit on your behalf, and represent your interests in a court of law, as necessary.