Will powerlifting highly increase my risk of popping my saline implants?

I'm a female powerlifter and I recently (6 months ago) got saline breat implants. Last week during a routine back workout one of my implants began deflating. I'm having it replaced, but as a powerlifting do I run a high risk of popping them now? When I do chest and bench exercises I'm careful not to hit them with the bar or any weights-I avoid direct impact and I'm careful with them in general but I do lift quite heavy weight which means pressure on them when I work out.

Doctor Answers 8

Weight lifting and breast implants

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Thanks for posting your question. I am happy to try and help you. I am sorry to learn of your concerns. It is important to remember that a board certified plastic surgeon will be your best resource when it comes to an accurate assessment of your situation, and concerns.

Having said that, lifting will not cause your implants to fail.

Best wishes,

Dr. Michael J. Brown
Northern Virginia Plastic Surgeon

Impacts are not usually the cause of implant failure

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I doubt that lifting will rupture the implants, as it is not impacts, but rather repetitive stresses on the shell during motion that leads to stress on the shell, shell attrition, and eventual implant deflation.  This is worsened if the implants are in a constricted pocket, or if capsule contracture is present, as this forces the implant shell to fold on itself creating changes in the shell and eventual failure.  It is important to maintain a pocket of sufficient dimension so that the implant is not forced to fold on itself, or to assume an unnatural shape. I use a massage protocol to maintain early pocket patency, and this allows for implant positioning with out distortion, and excellent implant longevity. I hope that this helps.  The link below leads to a discussion of capsule contracture treatment, and within the photos under patient 3 are examples of implants that are folded or showing wear due to space constriction that will lead to shell failure.

Thomas M. DeWire Sr., MD (retired)
Richmond Plastic Surgeon

Breast Implants and Powerlifting

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Thank you for your question about breast implants.

In general, no power lifting or weight lifting should not cause spontaneous deflation of saline breast implants.

To know what might be right for you, see two or more experienced, board-certified Plastic Surgeons for a complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have breast implant surgery or related procedure(s).

I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Weightlifting and Leaking Saline implants

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In my opinion, muscle compression of an underlying saline implant would not in and of itself cause the implant to deflate. Most saline implants deflate by developing a pinhole at the top of the implant where the water descends away from the edge of the shell. Silicone implants will wrinkle less and last longer. 

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Will powerlifting risk popping saline implants.

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We don't think that powerlifting will rupture a saline breast implant so there must be some other cause. In general there should be no physical activity restricted by your saline implants. Weight lifters who have ripple or show through of the breast implants can also consider a gummy bear as an alternative.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Lifting and Ruptured Implant

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Thank you for your question. While anything is possible, it is unlikely that powerlifting is the primary cause of your implant rupturing or deflating.  This is not a common mechanism for this problem. I would get your implant replaced and after healing and your surgeon's clearance go back to your normal routine.  Best wishes on your recovery.

Will powerlifting highly increase my risk of popping my saline implants?

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I am sorry to hear about the complication you are experiencing. Generally speaking, I would think that it would be very difficult to blame powerlifting as the cause of saline breast implant leakage. However, I can imagine a situation where there is enough pressure on the breast implants to cause a slow leak through the breast implant valve.  

On the other hand, there are many advantages of breast implants place in the sub muscular position even for athletic patients. Best to discuss pros/cons in detail with your plastic surgeon. Best wishes.

No way to quanitify risk

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You don't mention above or below the muscle placement. Above would have far less stress than a submuscular implant with. That being said it's impossible to quantify any increased risk, if any, your powerlifting has. If below the muscle, I would be more concerned about implant displacement than failure long term. Changing to silicone could be an option as well. Discuss this with your surgeon. All the best.

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.