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Shrinking Saline Breast Implants?

I loved them up until a few months ago when they started shrinking in size and rippling and they freely move around to the point of being painful. Is this normal?

They feel disgusting. I'm insecure about them now and they bother me day and night. They are underneath the muscle. When they move I can feel air bubbles in them all over. The doctor never told me this could happen. I feel as if there are baggies half full in my chest.

Doctor Answers (9)

Relax you're going to be fine


First of all it is very uncommon for both of the implants to rupture simultaneously. Second, it they do indeed rupture air does not enter the implant but the fluid escapes and the shell ruptures. The rupture rate is <1%/year so you have to consider how long they have been in.

Saline implants will soften in the first 6 months which is actually a plus for those that choose saline over silicone. If the implants are truly ruptured they tend to lose all fluid within a very short period of time. So if you still have nice projection I suspect they're okay and just softening up. See your surgeon if you have concerns.

Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Difficult to know what is happening without an exam, but you may need gel implants


It's hard to know what is exactly going on without examining you-- it may be that what you are experiencing is normal for saline implant augmentation. However, if there is a slow leak or if the appearance of the implants in no longer acceptable, then one option would be to switch the implants to gel. Cohesive gel implants tend to have less rippling (although the chance of rippling exists with any type of implant, especially if you are very thin) and many women feel that these implants look and feel more natural.

It's important to talk to your doc about your concerns, as he is the best person to examine you and provide you with your options.

Web reference:

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Shrinking Implants


Dear Hawaiian Girl

Your symptoms do not sound normal- always difficult to tell from an online description.  You should return to your MD to have a check up.

With Warm Regards,



Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Saline implants ripple more than gel implants


It would be good to know how long ago you had your surgery. It would be odd for both implant to rupture and deflate at the same time but it is a possibility and an evaluation by your surgeon is the most important thing. If you have lost weight recently, then you may notice the implants more at there is less tissue coverage. At that point switching to silicone gel may help. See your surgeon and go over your options.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Unusual symptoms


 What you are experiencing is not normal.  You really need to see your doctor for an evaluation.  It sounds like there is more going on than just a simple leak.  It would be helpful if you include the timeframe of your implants - how long you have had them, etc.  Good luck.

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Go to your doctor


You have some unusual symptoms. First, it is possible though very unlikely that both inplants would leak at the same time. Additionally, it is unusual that you would be able to feel air bubbles. Finally, with a leak, you should not feel pain, which makes me think that something else may be going on (perhaps in addition to a leak), so get seen.

Remember that inplants should not be expected to last forever, so expect to have additional surgery in the future.


Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

You might need to switch to gel


Other than the pain, much of what you are describing is normal for a saline implant after the swelling has gone down. It would have been ideal for you to have known some of this before surgery, on the other hand, what you are describing is worse than most people describe and cannot be totally predicted by any surgeon. I would suggest you go to your doctor and express your concerns and discuss possibly changing to gel implants where the ripples and wrinkles will be much less of an issue.

Web reference:

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Sounds like the implants have leaked/are leaking


It sounds like you implants have or are losing fluid. It would be unusual to have a leak in both at this early after susrgery. What does you doctor think? A physical exam can usually diagnose the problem. If they seem to have leaked, they can be replaced with restoration of breast appearance.

Boston Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Pain, shrinking, rippling... what's normal?


Breast size can wax and wan for the few weeks after surgery as tissues swell, edema resolves, tissues stretch and tighten. Cerainly after the first 3 months or so, your size should be relatively stable. Significant shrinking may signal a leak which can happen at any time.

Pain is variable and can occur months latter on an intermittent basis. Often this is a sharp, stinging or electrical shock type painrelated to sensory nerve stretch or injury. Usually this abvates and is not a debilitating problem. Pain related to hardening can be significant but in the face of what you describe, is not a possibility. Infections can also cause pain but your breasts would be expected to swell not shrink with infection either in the capsule or in the breast itself.

Ripple is always present with breast implants. The real question is, do you see or feel the ripples? Most of the time you feel them but may not see them. Sometimes you will see them in certain positions, usually leaning forward. The softer the saline implant, the more rippling, especially with textured implants. Also, if the implants are wide enough to project outside the perimeter of your natural breast tissue, you will see more rippling. Increased rippling and increased shrinkage, may indicate leakage.

I would review these concerns with your surgeon and, if not satisfied, seek a second opinion from an experienced and reputable plastic surgeon. You can ask you surgeon for a second opinion referral. Most reputable surgeons will be happy to do that if you are unhappy since their goals is to make you happy with your result and to determine the truth behind your complaints. A good second opinion should either confirm the original assessment by your surgeon, or suggest other diagnoses or solutions to him or her. Be wary of the second opinion who wants to take over your case to the detriment of the original reputable surgeon

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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.

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