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 177 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 149 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 11 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.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

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.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

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 162 reviews

There is no rush to remove the implant.

One thing about saline implants is that they rarely leak -- they totally deflate. If they need to be removed, this can be done under local only. Your friend should post her problem because we as physicians like the full story from the patient.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Leaking saline breast implant removal can wait until it is convenient

There is no medical reason to remove a leaking saline implant. It's the same as leaving a full one in, just without the volume.

The only reason to consider removing the implant sooner is if, for some reason, it became uncomfortable.

Removal of a saline implant is usually a simple procedure and can often even be done under local anesthesia.

Robert M. Jensen, MD
Medford Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 reviews


you can leave defalted saline implants in indefinitely. They will do nom harm. The pocket around the device will contract down and simple replacement will not be feasible. A capsulotomy will have to done if a new implant is to be inserted.

Michael S. Beckenstein, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 18 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.