Each year in the United States, more than 400,000 women will choose to have breast implants. Seventy-five percent of those surgeries are performed on healthy breasts for aesthetic reasons, and the remaining twenty-five percent are performed following mastectomies. Regardless of the reason, breast implants can either be ruptured or displaced in an accident and, depending upon the circumstances, you might not know it for some time. If you or a loved one has breast implants, read on to find out what to do following an accident.
Seatbelts, airbags and impacts can all result in trauma to the chest area. After this type of trauma, there are several issues of concern. First, has the trauma caused a leak in the implant? Second, has the envelope around the breast implant been damaged? Third, has the trauma caused displacement of the breast implant?
Let’s begin with leaks. If you have saline implants, the leak will be noticeable very quickly as the implant will deflate as your body absorbs the saline. If you have silicone implants, a leak can be much harder to detect as the body does not absorb silicone and the leak may take weeks or longer to detect. Signs that your silicone implant has a leak are increased firmness, pain, swelling, lumps, bruising around the breast, change in sensation, an uneven appearance in the breasts, etc.
Next, let’s discuss displacement. Breast implants can become displaced by trauma in an accident. There are medical terms for each type of displacement. Displacement toward the arm is called lateral displacement. Displacement toward the other breast is called symmastia. Downward displacement is referred to as bottoming out, and an upward movement of the implant is called high riding. Displacement tends to be obvious immediately following an accident.
Following an accident, you should be evaluated by your plastic surgeon. The gold standard for evaluating the condition of breast implants following an accident is an MRI. If an MRI or other imaging study reveals you have either a leak, damage to the breast implant envelope or displacement issues, you will need to have surgery to repair the problem. Even if only one implant is damaged, surgeons typically want to replace both implants at the same time.
If the accident was not your fault, the cost of evaluating the condition of your breast implants and any needed repairs may be recoverable from the at-fault party’s insurance company. In addition, you may also be able to recover other damages including pain and suffering. Whether you chose to have breast implants for aesthetic reasons or as part of a mastectomy does not matter. So that your rights are fully protected, we encourage you to promptly call one of our award-winning lawyers to help you navigate these types of claims. The initial consultation is free, and we handle all accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid when we recover money for you. We know these issues can be awkward to discuss but please know that we have four women lawyers and a female nurse paralegal who will handle your case with the greatest sensitivity and, of course, confidentiality. To get started, simply give us a call at one of the numbers below: