Can Leaking Saline Breast Implants Cause Lumps?

It doesn't seem possible but my breast implants are 28 years old! I know they have leaked (saline), and now they are uncomfortable when I'm lying down. Also, it might've caused this hard lump that I've had for many years. It's probably not cancer because I should've been dead from it. Got no insurance or money to take care of it, darn it. Can this be a hardened saline deposit? And what should I do about it?

Doctor Answers 17

You should never assume any hard lumps in the breasts...

you should never assume any hard lumps in the breasts are from implants and not evaluate them properly. This is true for silicone or saline. You should go to UC Irvine and have them check on you please.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Breast Lump Demands Attention!

If you have a lump in your breast, it MUST be evaluated by a physician, as soon as possible!

Saline does not leave deposits that can harden or form a lump.

A deflated implant can feel like a lump, but it would be a mistake to blame the lump on the implant without proper evaluation.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

I agree with Dr Rand


There are ways that you can have this lump evaluated with an exam and mammogram. October is breast cancer awareness month and you should seek out a mammography center offering power costs mammograms at the least. As stated previously you should not write off a breast bump or lump as being due to the implant. If a saline implant is deflated, you can feel the shell through thin tissue but the resulting feeling is not typically described as a "hard lump".

Michael C. Edwards, MD, FACS

Michael C. Edwards, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

All Breast Lumps Must be Evaluated.

All lumps need to be checked to make sure that it is not a malignancy. There are free clinics if no other resource is available to you. In your area you can check out the SOS clinic or consider UCI. Either way you should see about what is the cause of your lump and at the same time consider removal of your deflated implants.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

Breast mass and silicone or saline implants

All breast abnormalities demand examination and management.  I would seek the advice of a surgeon who can do a competent breast examination and evaluation.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

A deflated saline implant can cause a lump but not within the breast tissue.

A saline implant can cause a palpable lump if it deflates.  The saline is completely removed by the body and has no participation in this.  The silicone shell is folded and forms the lump.  Nevertheless, it could be mistaken for another problem and you should have this looked after insurance or not.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Implants and lumps

Any hard lump in the breast should be evaluated by a physician immediately!  A leaking saline implant will not cause a lump as the saline (salt water) will be absorbed by your body as it leaks out.  A leaking silicone implant, on the other hand, could potentially lead to a lump if a silicone granuloma forms.  It is possible to feel the shell of the implant, which can be firm in texture, especially after leakage.  Also, capsular contracture around the implant can cause some firmness.  But, a discrete lump is likely separate from the implant and should be evaluated.

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Breast lump from leaking saline implants

It may be that the "lump" you feel is actually the implant shell, which becomes irregular as the implant deflates.  Regardless of our guesses, you need to see a plastic surgeon who can do a thorough evaluation and treatment.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Breast implants do not increase your risk for cancer.

Breast implants do not increase your risk for cancer -- but it is still very possible to get breast cancer.  No, saline implants do not cause lumps.  The discomfort you are describing may be due to capsular contracture or hardening of the scar tissue.

If you have an abnormal lump it MUST be evaluated by a physician.  Even without insurance there are many options for low-cost or no-cost cancer screenings and treatment.


Richard H. Fryer, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 264 reviews

You need to have your doctor evaluate this lump!


A leaking saline implant does not cause lumps.  In fact, the saline is harmlessly absorbed by your body over time in the case of a gradual implant deflation.  The firmness that you feel in your breast could be related to thickening of the scar (capsule) around the implant but the fact that you feel a lump is VERY concerning!

Any lumps felt in the breast (or elsewhere) should be evaluated by a medical professional.  I suggest that you seek medical attention and have someone make sure that this is benign.  

I hope this helps!

Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 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.