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BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

Woman's breast implant explodes during paintball: New high-impact sports risk?

September 02, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • A silicone breast implant. The rupture of one internally is often painful and could be deadly.
A silicone breast implant. The rupture of one internally is often painful… (Donna McWilliam / Associated…)

Here's an unusual risk of playing paintball: A British woman's breast implant reportedly exploded after she was hit in the chest by a paintball, which can travel at 190 mph.

UK Paintball has now adjusted its policies accordingly. "We respectfully ask that any ladies with surgical breast implants notify our team at the time of booking," according to a statement on its website. "You will be given special information on the dangers of paintballing with enhanced boobs and asked to sign a disclaimer."

Just wait, it gets better: "You will also be issued with extra padding to protect your implants while paintballing," the statement says.

This, of course, happened within days of an FDA official reaffirming that silicone breast implants on the market were safe to use.

But then again, when they talk about the dangers of breast augmentation, paintball is not usually one that comes to mind.

But perhaps this particular incident should be filed under "dangers of implants" rather than the "dangers of paintball." After all, it would not be the first time that high-impact events have caused breast implants to explode. Among the odd cases: A Bulgarian woman's implants reportedly ruptured in a car accident, acting somewhat like an airbag and potentially saving her life.

Then there was Lydia Carranza, shot in the chest in 2009 by an assailant while working at a Simi Valley dental office. A Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon claimed that Carranza's implant kept the bullet fragments from reaching her heart and vital organs.

But Scott Reitz, a firearms instructor with 30 years of LAPD experience, was quick to point out: "I don't want to say a boob job is the equivalent of a bulletproof vest. So don't go getting breast enhancements as a means to deflect a possible incoming bullet."

Lest we forget, last year a British health agency ordered cosmetic surgeons to stop selling a bestselling silicone implant because it was twice as likely to rupture as other types.

Ruptured breast implants are no joke. The rupture is often painful, and can result in potentially fatal toxic shock syndrome or gangrene.

Moral of the story? If you absolutely have to get breast implants, avoid any potentially high-impact activities.

In the meantime, here's a list of the potential risks of breast implants, courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration.

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.

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