Difference in risk of infection been percunateous puncture and scalpel?

I've received a couple of responses regarding withdrawing saline from implants to reduce size. What is the difference between a sterile syringe puncturing the skin and a sterile scalpel cutting the skin. It would seem there would be less chance of infection with the syringe than an open cut.

Doctor Answers 7

Reducing size of saline implants by puncture

At some point in your consultation process you have either become confused with the answer or given a wrong answer. Saline implants cannot be adjusted after they have been placed.  A saline implant is like a child's balloon. If you poke a hole in it all the air leaks out. If you poke a hole in a saline implant all the water leaks out regardless of the instrument used. So therefore the issue is not infection but the fact this procedure cannot be done. If you desire smaller saline implants this will require a secondary surgery. 


Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Popping implants

I'm not sure if you've got a clear idea of just how it will pan out having 2 empty implant shells swimming around in the pocket under your remaining natural breast tissue and pec muscle. I'm thinking most likely not great. It's not like you can put the saline back into them if you change your mind. If you're unable to tolerate them as they are, and not sure how you will cope without them, I cannot see any way forward other than have them explanted and wait 6 -12 months.

Mark Baldwin, MBBS
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Ridiculous suggestion

It is not possible to reduce the amount of saline in an implant by puncturing it.  This will compromise the integrity of the shell and by definition is a deflation.

Puncturing the skin/implant saline withdrawl

Thank for the question. The infection rate will be similar. Either way, if you puncture or put a hole in the implant with a needle or scalpel, the implant will leak and deflate completely. If you want to have a smaller intact, undamaged implant, this would be done with surgery to put in a smaller implant or remove the implant (and any capsule) entirely. The saline implants have a special port for a small tube to be inserted for inflation with saline after which the tube is removed and the port automatically seals/locks/closes. Be sure to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.Best,Benjamin J. Cousins MD  Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Benjamin J. Cousins, MD
Miami Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Difference in risk of infection been percunateous puncture and scalpel?

Thank you for the question. Although I know of no studies comparing the two approaches, I would tend to agree with your conclusions; percutaneous puncturing of breast implants should be associated with decreased risk of infection compared to  an incisional approach.  Either way,  the infection rate associated with these types of procedures should be very low. Most important: select your plastic surgeon carefully. Best wishes.

Implant deflation

If you want to remove some saline from the saline implant to reduce the size of the implant, then that is done by surgery. The implant has a valve and special tubing is inserted into the valve to take out some of the saline.Puncturing the implant by needle or scalpel will result in complete deflation of the implant and destroying the implant.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Reducing size

You can only use a needle to withdraw saline from an implant that has a port on it.  Otherwise, you will puncture it.  Also, a scalpel cannot be used to puncture an implant to reduce its size.  You can have an operation which uses an incision to access the implant and exchange it for a smaller one.

Tyler C. Street, MD
Napa Plastic Surgeon

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.