Detecting Ruptured Saline Breast Implants
- Asked by Bonnie in Oregon in Eugene, OR
- 4 years ago
How long would it take to know if I ruptured my saline breast implant from a traumatic impact accident? I feel like it is softer than the uninjured one. Would it take minutes, hours, days for deflation to take place?
With in a couple of days
If your saline implant ruptured from an impact you would know it very quickly, within hours. Once a saline implant has an opening in it, it generally flattens rather fast. If the valve has a leak, the implant may be slower to deflate.
If you are sensing that the injured side is softer, this may be due to a change in the pocket capsule that has expanded the implant space. It may be worth having your surgeon look at the implants but if you are comfortable you can just watch it your self and see how things go with time.
Rupture Saline Implant Detection
Leaking or ruptured saline implants are easy to diagnose as you lose volume quickly. Within days in most cases you will notice that the breast is smaller. The fact that it is softer may be that the capsule surrounding the implant enlarged with the trauma rather than a ruptured implant.
Detecting an implant leak
Thank you for your question. You should be able to detect a leak after trauma to your breast after hours and sometimes days / weeks after the trauma. Depending on the size of the tear, it may deflate quickly or take some time to fully deflate. There is no medical issue with having the deflated implant in place until you can arrange to have it removed.
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Saline implants deflate like flat tires when ruptured.
Like a flat tire a saline implant will deflate. It may be immediate if the tear is large or it may take days to weeks to be noticeable. If there is a leak most of time I have seen that patients notice it within 6 weeks of the trauma.
Detecting ruptured saline implants could be quick or take longer
Although breast implants are typically very tough, a tear or problem with the valve can rarely occur. If if is a big tear, the implant deflates very quickly (within an hour or less). If the tear is small, the implants can deflate slowly over a few weeks. There is no health problem in leaving the implant in until it is fully evaluated by your plastic surgeon, and if it determined that it is leaking, the breast implant manufacturer warranty will usually pay for an implant exchange.
Ruptured saline implants
It could take hours or months depending on the impact. Saline rupture or deflation might initially be softer followed by rippling followed by deflation. There is no medical risk but aesthetically the implants should be replaced. Most implant companies have warranties for spontaneous deflation.
A few days to a few weeks to tell if an implant is ruptured - not a health risk
An implant is designed to undergo a good deal of trauma, but it a pin hole leak develops all of the saline will eventually leak out. This can take from 3 - 6 weeks. In general you will feel more wrinkles in the implant and the breast will not fit into the bra as well as the opposite side. Most leaks develop from a crease in the implant. The daily grind of working on a crease will eventually cause it to leak. I have seen many patients who were in accidents and it is very rare to have an implant rupture, but if it is ruptured you will know within a few weeks. It is not a health risk just have the implant replaced. During an examination a plastic surgeon will be able to tell if it is leaking.
Saline implant deflation from trauma
Bonnie in Oregon:
A strong chest / breast impact can rarely cause damage to a saline implant. I have patients with pursuits and hobbies like parachuting and martial arts which involve the chance of chest injuries, but their implants have withstood the effects for years. Several patients have been in automobile crashes, some with seatbelt bruises on their chests without deflation.
A tiny tear in the implant could slowly leak the saline fluid over days or weeks, but your and your plastic surgeon should be able to tell with two comparison visits a few weeks apart. A large tear of the implant shell would be noticible in hours.
The explanation for the difference you feel could be related to other factors. Each woman develops a normal scar wall around the breast implant (the capsule). Firm pressure or impacts can stretch or tear the capsule, and temporarily or permanently change the feel of the breast. Ask your surgeon to examine you for more information.
It can be overnight or take months
As Dr. Yuan stated, the rate of deflation depends on how large a hole is in the implant and where the hole is located. The majority of patients experience a rapid deflation, often overnight. Occasionally, there may be a hole on the back of the implant which seals itself off except when the patient is in certain positions where the hole can leak. These can take months to deflate.
Usually hours or days
Depending on the size of the tear, it might take a few hours or a few days. Sometimes it will slowly deflate and then stop without collapsing completely. The real teat is if it not serving your cosmetic purpose. That is, if you have a certain size implant and it leaks a little then stops, you don't ned to change it unless the size is so different it is disagreeable to you. The vast majority of time it will deflate to the point of significant asymmetry.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.