Will My Breast Implants Rupture on an Airplane?

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Breast Implants & Altitude

If you’ve ever pulled out a chip bag on an airplane, you’ve likely seen it filled like a balloon or maybe it’s even popped open–leaving you to wonder, “Will this happen to a breast implant too?” 

The short answer is no. But it's not uncommon to think implants explode at high altitudes. So if you believed this to be true, you aren't alone.

In fact, back in the day, some airlines didn’t allow their cabin crew to even have breast implants believing it to be a safety hazard. 

The idea that your implants would rupture on a plane was so accepted, the TV show, Myth Busters, did an entire episode to test the theory, which of course proved to greater America once and for all, that implants exploding on an airplane is a myth. 

Need more reassurance than just a Myth Busters episode? We’ve got a little basic science to put your heart at ease.  

But why the chips and not the implant?

Your chip bag is filled with, not only your delicious snack but also with air. As the plane rises in altitude, the atmospheric pressure around the bag drops, but the sealed air and gases inside the bag remain the same. This difference is what causes the bag to expand and in some cases, pop.

Your breast implant, however, does not have air in it. No air means there isn't a difference in pressure between the inside of the implant and the outside. Therefore, no matter the height, or depth, your implant is safe in the air or under the sea.

Well, what is in an implant?

There isn’t air in your implants, but that silicone shell is filled with something. There are two types of breast implants:

  • Silicone implants
  • Saline implants

Each type of implant is named after its filling. A saline breast implant is a silicone shell filled with a sterile saline solution and a silicone breast implant is a silicone shell with, you guessed it, silicone! 

Within the world of silicone implants, the most popular are the newest, fifth-generation silicone gel implants, also known as “gummy bear breast implants.”

The gummy bear silicone implants have won the popularity contest because not only do they feel like natural breast tissue, but the cohesive silicone gel makes ruptures a non-emergency. 

Because the silicone gel holds its shape, you may not even know your implant has ruptured. A gummy bear implant has no visible signs of rupture, which leaves a regular mammogram the thing that typically spots a ruptured silicone implant. But don’t worry, there is no known harm from an implant rupture. 

Ruptured fifth-generation silicone gummy bear breast implant
Ruptured fifth-generation silicone breast implant (photo source)

To learn more about silicone or saline breast implants, watch the full breast augmentation series in the free Bustmob Academy app

What is a rupture? 

A breast implant rupture is not as dramatic as it sounds. Rather it is a small tear or split that forms in the implant over time. It isn't harmful to you and ruptures are easily treated.

An implant rupture doesn't happen from a blow to the chest or extreme sports. 

Rest assured that no amount of squeezing, pushing, or pressure will cause your implant to explode. To learn more about implant durability, download the free Bustmob Academy app

Why does it happen?

Implant ruptures happen over time as the smooth breast implant rotates slightly within the scar tissue pocket. The repetitive movement causes the silicone shell to wear down in an area and form a small tear, also known as an implant rupture. 

Okay, but what happens if they do rupture?

Implant ruptures may sound scary, but they aren’t medically harmful nor are they a medical emergency. So don’t stress. If your implant does rupture, take some comfort in knowing it is easily treated. 

Should your implant rupture, your plastic surgeon will swap the old implant with a new one, a procedure also known as a breast implant exchange. Breast implant exchange surgery is not as involved as the original breast augmentation, with a shorter operation and less recovery time.

In some cases, a patient may not even need full anesthesia for an implant exchange. You can learn more about breast implant exchanges in the Bustmob Academy app.

Added bonus, to date, all breast implant manufacturers in the United States offer a lifetime warranty on your implant in the event of a rupture.

We hope this gives you some peace of mind and a little confidence to jet set, skydive, and scuba dive as much as your heart desires. But if you need a little more anecdotal evidence, jump in the Bustmob Community. A free, private support group for women who have had, plan to have, or are interested in plastic surgery. 

With over 50,000 members and counting, there is no shortage of women who are sharing their stories, answering questions, and offering all kinds of tips and tricks. 

Bustmob is a women-only plastic surgery support group
The Bustmob Community is a safe space to connect, share, and learn with other women on their plastic surgery journey.

Found this helpful, but want more? 

Good news! This is just one of hundreds of fun, factual videos on the Bustmob Academy app to make your plastic surgery research easy.

From commonly told myths and FAQs, to recovery time and costs, Jenny Eden, founder of Bustmob, and Gretta Nance, lead educator at Amelia Aesthetics, break down your plastic surgery research into bite-size, binge-able pieces. 

Pair the Bustmob Academy app with Jenny’s 15-Day Texting Series and you are well on your way to being empowered and educated before you even set foot in your consultation.

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Jenny Eden
Founder, Bustmob Community
Gretta Nance
Lead Educator, Amelia Aesthetics
Ready to learn everything about plastic surgery?
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