Breast implant leaks from accidents usually occur in car accidents caused by the seatbelt. Usually, only one breast implant will rupture.
When one breast implant leaks, both implants should be replaced even though only one has leaked.
- The other implant may have been compromised and the integrity of the remaining implant is at least questionable.
- If only one implant is replaced, they will no longer match correctly if only one is replaced since they are manufactured in matching sets.
If a person or company is responsible for causing the accident, the insurance company or the defendant is financially responsible for replacing both implants. If the surgery to replace the implant is being paid by health insurance or no-fault (if you’re in a no-fault state), the insurance company will have to pay for replacing both implants to restore your implants to their pre-accident condition.
Breast Deflation Caused By Implant Leak from Car Accident – This image shows the entire top of the right breast deflated (circled) and even the bottom of the breast is not as full as the left breast.
Discussion (PDF download) – See Breast reconstruction/Mastectomy on page 5 of the PDF. As with other conditions related to chest anatomy, crash forces are distributed more evenly in the presence of an air bag than with only a seatbelt or with no restraint. The low risk of implant rupture exists with allogenic or gel-filled implants, not flap procedures. While rupture has been reported anecdotally with seatbelt use, this phenomenon has not been noted to occur due to air bags. If a rupture occurs, a repair can be done. Flap reconstruction with native tissue is no more likely to be damaged than native breast tissue. The exact forces required to rupture an implant are not known, and might be an area for future research – The National Crash Analysis Center, The George Washington University Medical Center.
According to the American Medical Women’s Association, Saline implants are firmer than silicone gel implants. The rate of saline implant rupture is higher. The rupture of an implant results in a sudden change in shape and loss of size in a breast. Implants can rupture spontaneously, presumably due to age of the silicone sheeting. They also may rupture as the result of trauma — for example, hitting the steering wheel in an automobile accident.
Medical Exemptions for Safety Belt Use – if a physical condition inhibits the proper use of a seat belt, you may be exempt (check with DMV in your state) from the seat belt law if your doctor certifies your condition and exemption in writing. Certification should be on the physicians letterhead and carried with you when you travel if your state allows a medical exemption.
SoftTouch– Breast & Chest seat belt protector.
Hemorrhage into the Breast in a Restrained Driver After a Motor Vehicle Collision – American Journal of Roentgenology
Hemorrhagic shock from breast blunt trauma – US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
Seat belt injury to the female breast: Review and discussion of its surgical management – article available for free download
Does wearing a seatbelt increase my chances of rupture or trauma-induced Capsular Contracture (CC) if I have an accident? – A small piece of good advice for driving with breast implants.