Deflate saline Breast implant before operation to remove. Any suggestions?

how long would I need to wait, after having Breasts "deflated", before the operation to explant?

Doctor Answers 5


If you just want your implants removed, you might just go ahead with removal instead of deflation first. If you are unsure if you do want implants, the deflation would give you a good idea as to what you can expect after removal. Once deflated, you can probably choose to have the implants removed at any time. If you are undecided about a lift, you might want to give your tissues up to 3 months to see what shrinkage you may get. If your implants are small, you may not see a lot of change.

San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Deflate saline Breast implant before operation to remove. Any suggestions?

In cases where patients choose to have an "in office deflation" performed, I suggest waiting at least 3 months before  the definitive breast operation.  In most cases, this definitive operation involves breast implant removal and breast lifting surgery. 

Generally speaking, in office deflation of saline breast implants is an option for some patients. For example, if a patient wishes to downsize breast implants and/or undergo breast lifting surgery, it may be in her best interests to have an in office deflation performed; doing so has the advantage of allowing the skin to “bounce back” slowly. Both the patient and her plastic surgeon will be able to determine more accurately, what will be in her best interests with subsequent surgery. Planning of additional surgery, such as breast lifting, may also be and easier and more accurate proceeding in this fashion. 

 In office deflation may be a good idea for patients trying to decide whether to undergo breast implant removal altogether or downsizing of breast implants; this will give them a good idea of what their breasts will look like without implants.  Whether or not breast lifting ( and/or other maneuvers) will be indicated will be more easily determined. 

Obviously, in office deflation does commit patients to additional surgery (at the very least, breast implant shell removal). Sometimes as breast implants deflate, patients report discomfort as a breast implant edges irritate the surrounding tissues.

You may the find attached link helpful to you as you learn more. Best wishes.

Implant removal preoperative deflation.

In a patient with very thin tissues deflation of the implant before removal with a breast lift lets the tissues shrink up a bit and thicken (no more pressure from the implant). This may make a lift safer. I usually wait about 6- 12 weeks. If you are not considering a lift then you really don't need to deflate before removal.

Sometimes I find pre operative deflation when a patient is not sure that she want a lift, or is considering going with a different smaller implant. Deflation can let the patient get a sense how much droop she has, and what size the remaining breast is. With old implants deflate the patient can then look at sizers again and get a sense of size preference when considering a new implant.

Hope this helps. Best wishes.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Intentionally deflating saline-filled breast implants

The only purpose of intentionally deflating saline-filled implants before a removal is to see what the outcome of the removal would likely look like. Deflating the implant intentionally voids the warranty on the implants and there is still the silicone rubber shell of the implant to be removed although there is no rush and no known problems caused by the deflated implant shell sitting in the tissue capsule. Removing saline-filled (or deflated) breast implants can be done under local anesthesia with a 2 cm incision in the inframammary crease if there is no reason to remove part or all of the capsule around the implant. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Not a legitimate approach

I think this method it not useful at all.  You should have the implants out with the capsule all at once.  

For explant surgery, it is almost always best to remove the capsule in its entirety.  This will allow the space to heal.  If you leave the capsule in place, it does not heal.  Fluid can accumulate in the space.  The situation that brings the patient to implant removal will have an affect on the decision.  This is a surgery which requires discussion with the plastic surgeon about the problem, the goals, and the technical concerns.  The body does not re-absorb the capsule.  Revision surgery requires drains because the fluid is going to be generated when you operate on the scar capsule.  If you provide a mechanism for the fluid to be removed (i.e. drains), the risks are lower.  If the fluid accumulates because there were no drains, it will most certainly cause problems in the future.

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.