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Implants do not last forever and as with any man-made product, they can fail. Saline breast implant deflation, when it occurs, requires a procedure to replace the implant. In most cases, it is advised that both implants should be replaced in the surgery. The lifespan of an implant is about 10 years, but a rupture could occur at any time. The benefit of saline implants is that when they deflate, the saline solution is naturally absorbed by your body.

The Symptomsof Deflation

While it may seem obvious, the most common symptom of a saline implant deflation is obvious; one of your breasts is smaller than the other. Another symptom is that one breast feels slightly less firm than the other. The deflation could be a slow process, taking months, could happen over several days, or could deflate in just minutes when the silicone shell has torn. If you notice that one breast is less firm or slightly smaller than the other, it is important that you talk to our Seattle plastic surgeon at Allure Esthetic as quickly as possible. While it is not a medical emergency, we know you don’t want to be left in the position of living with one breast far larger than the other for any longer than you have to.

Side Effects of Saline Breast Implant Deflation

While saline implants are considered by many to be safer than silicone, there are potential side effects when an implant has ruptured, and it should be replaced as quickly as possible. These include:

  • Tightening of the capsule in which the implant is placed
  • Breast pain
  • Changes in sensation in the nipples
  • Shape distortion
  • Tenderness
  • Collection of saline around the implant
  • Skin shrinkage

Causes of Saline Breast Implant Deflation

Various situations can lead to a saline breast implant deflation. These include:

  • Faulty implant
  • Too much compression during a mammogram
  • Damaged by surgical instruments
  • Overfilling or underfilling
  • Older implant
  • Trauma
  • Capsular contracture
  • Seal around valve damaged
  • Implant handled too much during placement

If You Have Saline Implants

If you have saline implants, it is important that you understand that you must plan to have another surgery to replace them in the future. Implants have a limited lifespan. The first sign of an older implant starting to fail is noticing one breast has decreased in volume. This is the point at which you should take action and arrange to have both implants replaced.

Risk of Rupture for Saline Breast Implants

Studies reveal rupture rates ranging from between three to ten percent. On average, about four percent of saline implants rupture within the first four years. All breast implants should be replaced every ten years, whether ruptured or not. If a saline implant has deflated, both implants should be replaced to so you once again have a symmetrical, balanced appearance. This is the ideal time to select one of the latest generation of breast implants, now available in more sizes and shapes and with a more natural feel than ever before. You may want to increase or decrease size in the revision surgery, or repair some other cosmetic issue.

Ruptured Shell and Deflation

The shell on a saline implant is made from soft and flexible silicone. It can be torn, and may be noticed due to capsular contracture (the capsule that has formed around the breast becomes visible). Saline implant deflation is believed to be, in some cases, linked to filling an implant beyond the specifications of the manufacturer. Saline implants tend to deflate quickly and a slow rupture with gradually decreasing size is less common. Once the shell is ruptured, the saline solution typically leaks out into the body quickly and the results can be very distressing. One breast looks healthy and round, while the other appears flat, misshapen, and droopy. For aesthetic reasons, most women opt to get the implant replaced immediately.

Replacing Saline Implants

Saline implant replacement surgery is typically performed through the same incision location, so no additional scars are created. The process of replacing saline implants is similar to the initial surgery. Revisions to the capsule may be necessary for some patients, but this is determined on a case by case basis. Saline implants have many benefits, including being less expensive, very adjustable in size, and the saline implants we use at Allure Esthetic Plastic Surgery carry a 10-year warranty from the implant manufacturer. Any cosmetic issues that have arisen in your current implants can be corrected during the revision surgery. Textured implants can be replaced with smooth implants, or more saline can be added for greater volume, or the implants can be repositioned so the risk of rippling (more common with saline implants) can be reduced.

Diagnosing Saline Breast Implant Rupture

Diagnosis is typically very easy – one breast is significantly larger than the other. If only a slight degree of asymmetry is present, it may be advised that another test be performed -- an ultrasound. This test will allow us to see if any liquid has accumulated in the pocket in which the implant is placed. We can help you find out if your implant is leaking and if so, plan for replacement surgery. Some women just want the implants removed and not replaced but will need a breast lift so the natural breast tissue is reshaped and repositioned, as after removal the skin and tissue will sag. Whatever your individual needs, we can help.

Dr. Sajan: Premier Breast Augmentation Surgeon in Seattle

If you have a deflated saline implant, you want to have your implant replacement surgery performed by a skilled plastic surgeon. Dr. Sajan has been featured in several national publications including Cosmopolitan, National Enquirer, and Insider. Beyond his professional standing and impressive surgical skills, he is known for his warm, kind personality and his artistic eye in performing surgical procedures. If you are struggling to resolve a deflated saline implant, we invite you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sajan. We understand the urgency with which you want to solve this problem and can fast-track your appointment so you can meet with us as quickly as is convenient for you.

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