Breast implant deflation occurs when saline implants rupture, causing the saline filling the implant's silicone shell to leak out. Implant ruptures can happen at any time after surgery and are generally unpredictable.
The saline leakage may occur slowly over time or all at once; and implant deflation will eventually result in significant volume loss in the breast. Deflated saline breast implants pose no health risk but are a cosmetic concern. Most patients with deflated implants opt to have them removed and replaced with new breast implants, usually within the first 1-2 weeks.
- Click to see more breast implant deflation before and after photos
Saline implant deflation risks
The outer silicone shell of saline breast implants is rigorously tested to ensure durability, so saline implant failure is rare, however certain factors may increase the risk of saline implant deflation, including:
- Implant age - breast implants are not made to last a lifetime, and old implants (10+ years) may deflate if they require replacement
- Breast trauma - any breast trauma that resulting in significant impact, squeezing or damage to the breast may cause saline implants to rupture (e.g. car accident or closed capsulotomy)
- Overfilling or underfilling - filling implants with more or less saline than the manufacturer recommends may increase your risk for implant deflation
- Implant degradation - textured implants and sutures placed inside the breast pocket may rub against the implant, inadvertently degrading and weakening it over time
A small number of saline implant deflation cases can be attributed to a defect in the implant valve or seam, however this is uncommon with FDA-approved saline breast implants.
Breast implant deflation surgery
Correcting deflated saline implants can be accomplished with breast implant deflation surgery, which involves removing the deflated saline breast implant and replacing it with a new implant.
Breast revision surgery with lift
The deflated implant does not have to be replaced. If a patient elects to remove and not replace the deflated implant, a breast lift may be performed. A breast lift with augmentation procedure may also be performed in tandem with a breast augmentation revision if the breasts have begun to sag since the initial breast enlargement surgery.
What to expect during breast implant deflation surgery
During breast revision surgery to correct implant deflation, general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation is administered, and previous breast augmentation scars are re-opened. If only one breast implant has deflated, it may not be necessary to remove and replace both, however if the implants are old (10+ years), you may be encouraged to replace your implants on both sides to reduce the risk of deflation in your other old implant.
Saline implant deflation cost and recovery
Recovery after breast implant deflation surgery is shorter and less painful than your initial breast augmentation, and patients can expect to resume normal activities within one week. Full recovery will take three to four weeks.
At least a portion of your revision surgery to correct a deflated saline implant is covered under the breast implant manufacturer's warranty, however depending on the circumstances contributing to your implant deflation, you may be required to pay at least a portion of the corrective surgery cost.
Correction of Saline Implant Deflation in New York City
New York City plastic surgeon Dr. Tracy Pfeifer specializes in revision of difficult breast surgery cases and has offices in Manhattan, Great Neck, and the Hamptons.