If Saline Implants Leak, Can It Be Left in Place?

Is there a risk not to take it out? Can I leave the saline breast implant in there for maybe 1-2 years if possible? I am asking these questions for my friend. At this time she is not able to go under anesthesia yet. Please advise.... Thank you much. Ann in Cali

Doctor Answers 20

Ruptured saline implants

The danger is that a ruptured saline implant can develop "edges" which can irritate the skin, can be painful, or could be palpated just below the skin surface in thin patients.

The implant shell itself probably poses little significant danger unless it irritates the skin.

Removal of an implant or implants can generally be readily performed under local anesthesia, possibly with light sedation if one of these issues arises.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 133 reviews

They can stay until the patient is ready for an anesthetic

You friend will probably want them out at some point, but as long as they are not giving her any problems, she should be fine to leave them in until she is ready for ananesthetic.


Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 141 reviews

Yes, you can leave them in

Of course, as in inflated implants they may pose a small but finite risk of infection since they are a foreign body and they are obviously not providing a benefit while deflated. Smooth implants may be easily removed under local anesthesia in the office in most cases. Once you may a small incision, it should slip out without difficulty although small bands of tissue can wrap around the valve handle.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Not an emergency and could wait, but not indefinitely

Removal of a saline implant is not an emergency and could be delayed for few months. I would not recommend to leave it in place indefinetly. The removal and replacement could be done under local anesthesia, if general anaesthesia is contraindicated.

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Empty saline implants are harmless

You can leave empty saline implants in indefinately as long as they done bother you from a feel standpoint.  They are inert and harmless to you and can easily be removed later if you choose.

Deflated Saline Implants

It is best to take them out however they can be left in if they don't irritate her and lead to complications.

Yes, it can be left inside, but it can easily be removed under local anesthesia


There is no harm to leaving the deflated saline implant inside as long as it does not bother her, but it can be taken out easily under local anesthesia in just a few minutes in the plastic surgeons office.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 153 reviews

Ruptured breast implants

Ruptured saline implants can be removed when the patient is ready.  The deflated implants may pose a threat if a folded edge starts to push against the skin and cause irritation.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Saline implant leak. Can they be left in place?

When saline implants leak the fluid gets absorbed by the body and then eventually urinated away.  With the collapse of the implant, folds occur.  Sometimes they can poke the patient from the inside.  This can hurt.  the other thing is that the soft tissue shrinks.  It may make this more difficult to achieve closeness with the other side in the future.  We typically advise removal and replacement if possible.

You mention some concern about anesthesia.  It is a short procedure.  Have your friend talk to her Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  they can then talk about benefits and risks.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Saline implant rupture

Ann- When saline implants rupture they usually totally deflate. The saline solution will leak into the body and be dissolved, leaving the breast flat. The solution itself is not dangerous, but it will leave one side flat while the other side will be full as long as that implant hasn’t ruptured as well. If she cannot go under general anesthesia at this time she will be fine to leave her implants alone until she is cleared for surgery again. Depending on how long she has had her implants and if she purchased and extended warranty she may be entitled to a stipend to help with the removal and replacement cost.

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.