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If I Have a Breast Implant That Has Moved, Does It Need to Be Replaced Immediately?

I have had my (small-med sized) saline implants for 17 years now, with no complications. Last year, I noticed an increase in nipple sensitivity and a "tearing" sensation to the outer muscle below the axilla of the left implant. The symptoms were intermittent (sharp and short) over an approximately 6 month period. I no longer have any sensitivity issues, all is back to normal, but the breast is now a bit saggier/flatter in profile. However, there has been no change in size or any hardening.

Doctor Answers (17)

Breast Implant Revision

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This is a great question, it’s actually unusual for a breast implant rupture to be the cause of revision surgery. Most of the time national breast aging will be the reason that most women decide its time for a change. However, it is not unusual for the pockets to change along with the aging and require some surgical attention at some point.

Saline Implants and Movement of Implants

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    After the initial healing phase is complete, the movement of the implant in the pocket typically is not dramatic during a short period of time.  It could be possible that trauma at the inferior border could have disrupted the capsule and caused inferior migration.  It is also possible that you have a slow leak.  However, saline implants the vast majority of the time deflate quickly.

Leaking Implant

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Thank you for your question. It sounds like you are having a slow leak in your saline implant. Given that they are 17 years old, this is not surprising. While not an emergency it is best to replace the implants sooner rather than later. This will prevent the implant pocket from contracting.

Best of luck.

Jeff Rockmore

Sounds like a Slow leak

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It sounds like a slow leak in your saline implant.  I agree with the post below, it is better to have it replaced sooner than later.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

You might be leaking after 17 years

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The tenderness and softening 17 years after saline breast augmentation sounds like a slow deflation. There is no emergency, though a saline implant is easily replaced sooner rather than later.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Did implant move?

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Seventeen years postop, it is more likely that you are suffering a low deflation or leak than that the implant could have moved.  It is important to see a plastic surgeon and to possibly have a diagnostic ultrasound at minimum, and possibly a scan, to evaluate the implant. 

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews


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Without an exam it is very hard to determine whether the implant indeed has shifted. You should see a PS to see what your options are.


Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Breast Implant Migration

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Dear Nikki,

It does not sound like you have an emergency. Nonetheless, it is advisable to see an experienced, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon if there has been a change to your implants.

Warmest wishes,

Larry Fan, MD



Larry Fan, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

How soon implt needs to be replaced if moved from original position?

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Thank you for your question. It sounds from what you describe, a tear in the lateral capsule of your breast implant pocket. Now the implant sits in a larger space, and that is why it is flatter and saggier. There's also the possibilty of a small break in the implant shell and yuor implant slowly looses saline, thus it is deflating. None of these issues are urgent, but you should see a board certified plastic surgeon for an evaluation. Good luck. 

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.