I Have a Leaking Saline Implant - Again! 6 Yrs Ago Had A Leak And Implants Were Removed. What's Causing This?

I Have a Leaking Saline Implant - Again! Last Leak Was 6 Yrs Ago and Had Both Implants Removed. Why is this happening?

Doctor Answers 10

Leaking breast implant

Breast implants are not designed as permanent devices, and are subject to mechanical failure, and other problems related to interaction with host tissue. Although they most often last longer than six years, sometimes they rupture earlier. It's the luck of the draw, combined with the type of trauma your implants have been subject to, fixed wrinkling/folding, and other individual factors. If you enjoy having them, replace. Consider silicone gel this time, or even better, cohesive gel if available to you.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Saline Implant Leaking?

Thank you for the question.  I'm sorry to hear about your misfortune.

Unfortunately, the exact cause of  breast implant leakage is often undetermined. Leading theories as to the causes of leakage include slow leakages through breast implant valves that may be  involved with scar tissue (making its way into the valve)  or leakage at the site of an implant crease  that may result when an implant folds over itself (repeated area of friction breaks down implant integrity).

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Saline implants leaking


Its hard to know.  One potential cause is a saline implant that is not filled properly (too little fluid often).  When this is done the implant shell is at higher risk of folding on itself and creating a fold flaw.  Other possible scenarious is direct trauma (although you would know this) or a pocket that is nobig enough for the implant, again which causes the implant shell to fold.  Silicone implants are a little more immune to these types of fold problems. 

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 165 reviews

Cause Of Leaking Saline Breast Implants

The most likely cause of having a second implant deflation six years after the original deflation is bad luck.  The deflations are random and not caused by anything either you or your surgeon did or did not do.  I have had patients who have had more than one deflation and I also have several patients who have had their implants for over 25 years and have never had a deflation.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Causes of leaking saline implants with breast augmentation surgery

all of the causes for implant leakage are note clear.  both allergan and mentor have information about their statistics on their websites.   i tell may patients about 1 % per year.     over filling or underfilling can increase the chances of failure.. textured implants may be at higher risk..   i would upgrade to silicone

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Saline implant leak after six years

It is unusual for a saline implant to leak before ten years and implant from both major US companies have a warranty to cover implants and replacement up to ten years. Most 'premature' leaks tend to occur in textured saline implants, and with replacement you might ask about a smooth replacement for better wear.

Best of luck, peterejohnsonmd.com

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Implant leaks

Implants are mechanical devices and, as such, they can fail. Generally, they last longer but it can happen. Unfortunately, you've had two deflations and I'm sorry that you've had to deal with this.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Implant leakage

Why one implant leaks and not the other is difficult to say for sure. It may be the implant itself that developed stress areas prone to rupture. Hard to say.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Leaking Saline Implants

Wow, you have had some bad luck.  The incidence of implant rupture is low, in my practice less than 1% of the time.  But, it does happen and needs to be addressed.  The main reason implants rupture or leak is from CREASE FOLD FAILURE.  The implants have folds that develop over time and just like a piece of paper, if you fold and crease, fold and crease, fold and crease, eventually a small tear or rent will occur in the piece of paper or in a breast implant.  The saline will slowly leak out and you have a flat breast implant that needs to be replaced.

Even though we know why this happens, it can not be totally prevented.  We have found through statistical analysis that some implants and the handling of implants can lead to a higher incidence of rupture.  As an example textured saline implants rupture at a much higher rate than smooth walled.  Also, implants that are significantly over or under filled rupture at a higher rate.  The manufacturer recommends a range of filling for the implants, the volume added needs to stay on the high end of this recommended amount to prevent rupture.

The bad news is you will need another procedure to replace the ruptured implant.  

The good news is that the saline will be absorbed by your body quickly and is not harmful.  Also, if you have either Mentor or Allergan implants there is a warranty on your implant and you should receive a new one for free!  Maybe even two new ones for free depending on your situation.  Depending on exactly when you had your last implants placed you may be eligible for financial reimbursement from the implant company, up to $1,200.  When any of my patients develop a leak and need replacement surgery, I do not charge a professional fee for the replacement surgery.

This may also be a time for you to re-evaluate your situation, here are your choices:

  • Deflate the opposite implant and leave implant bags in place, no surgery
  • Replace ruptured implant with new implant
  • Remove both implants permanently
  • Swap both implants for new saline implants
  • Swap both implants for new silicone implants
  • Change size of implants (bigger or smaller)
  • Change location of implants (above to below or vice versa)
  • Add a breast lift

Talk to your PS to review your options and also contact the implant manufacturer about your warranty.

Good Luck!

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Ruptured saline implants.

There are different reasons for leaking saline implants, beyond the obvious problem with the implant itself.  Oftentimes there is a capsularr contracture that causes a fold to occur in the implant, which with time becomes a weak spot and eventually a point for leaking.  You may also have a structural rib prominence that is pressing against the implant causing a local weakened area in the implant.  It is also felt that textured implants may develop folds or ripples which may lead to ruptures if a fold leads to an eventual  rupture.  You may want to ask your Plastic Surgeon if he or she  believes that silicone implants may be worth trying at some time.  I know how frustrating this may be for you, but don't give up without further professional advice.


Good luck.

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.