Deflating Saline Implants to Avoid Surgery?

20 years ago, I had saline breast implants. 4 Years ago, I had them replaced. And then 3 months ago, my left implant ruptured. I would like to have the right deflated to avoid surgery. I am satisfied with the way my left breast looks. Is this possible?

Doctor Answers 11

Safest to Remove ruptured breast implants

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Although it is possible to leave ruptured saline implants in your body it is not recommended by most plastic surgeons. Once their is a leak in the implant, then serum can also enter it which is a potential site for infection. In general leaving a foreign body without providing a purpose doesn't make a lot of sense. Removing implants is straight forward and can even be done in the office under local anesthesia if this is what is preventing you from considering this recommendation.

I would advise direct removal

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Removing the implants would be my recommendation. It is a simple procedure, with little to no downtime. I suppose you could have them deflated with a needle, but many patients do not like the idea of a foreign body sitting inside them that is serving no purpose. The choice is yours, but I think removing the implants is the most conventional approach.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 155 reviews

Yes it can be deflated

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The empty implant envelope is harmless to you and if it doesn't feel too noticeable, it can just be left in until a time when you might want it out. It is simple to deflate the opposite implant with a few passes of an 18g needle.

This is not the conventional way to do this but I have been asked to do this a couple of times. Formally removing the implants is very simple and can be done under straight local anesthesia with no recovery.

Deflating implants

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Instead of deflating the other implant why not have both implants removed to avoid keeping a foreign body in the chest?

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

I won't do this.

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To pats,

Hi.  Leaving damaged devices inside your breasts with no benefit makes no sense to me.  Removing them is so safe and simple.  This is not what I would do if you were someone I cared about.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

It would be best to remove both breast implants

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You are fortunate in that you now know what your breasts will look like without the implants. Most patients who are considering having their implants removed are concerned about how their breasts will look after the implants are taken out.

Although it is unfortunate that your implant deflated, you now know what your breasts will look like if you remove both implants.

I would recommend having both the implants removed in order to avoid any problems with the implants in the future. This should be a easy recovery, and since one implant is already deflated, this may be something that is covered by your insurance.

If you leave the deflated implants in place a fold can develop which can poke thru the breast tissue and become palpable and then may make more of a problem.

Susan E. Downey, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Remove the implants

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You can deflate the implants but over time they will probably become hard and encapsulated.  It is best to get them out when it is simple and not be faced with a more involved surgery if they encapsulate.

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon

Possible, but not advisable

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I have had patients who have had deflated inplants for long periods of time without treatment or consequence. The longest was 12 years, and she had health issues such as diabetes.

This is not advisable however. I advise you to take care of the problem. You should have coverage through the inplant company. They will cover at least some of the expenses, and replace at least one of the inplants if you wish. Otherwise, you can easily have them removed, and I would advise having the capsule removed as well.

The good news is that the procedrue is not that painful, and there's not a lot of down time.

Yes and No

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Yes it is possible to deflate the intact implant, but it is not recommended to leave the empty implant in place. You will have a foreign body and a potential space. Additionally, but percutaneously puncturing the implant, there is a small, but realistic chance of seeding the area with bacteria. Removing implants is much less traumatic than having them put in. It is a very quick procedure to remove the implants. Good luck.

Posssible but not advisable

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Deflating the implant is as easy as sticking a needle in the breast. However, then you have deflated implant shells in your body. Probably won't do any harm but I would have them removed at some point since they are doing you no good and there is a theoretical risk of secondary infection, however slight. All the best.

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago 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.