9 years into saline implant. What next?

I had breast augmentation on my left side and a loft on my right about 9 years ago. The implant is saline. I have no idea where to beggin with when it comes to checking it to make sure it is still fine. I moved accross the country 5 years ago, so seeing the surgeon is out of the question. Should I make an appointment with my family doctor or should I seek the help of a plastic surgeon? And what are the signs to watch for for a saline implant to be nearing the end of its life? Thank you!!!

Doctor Answers 15

#SalineImplantRupture is not dangerous

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If all is well and you are happy with your result thus far and do not have symptoms, it is not necessary to have any special tests for your saline implant. Just the normal guidelines for breast cancer screening for all women. If your implant leaks it is harmless and obvious (you will have flattening on that side).

9 years after a saline augmentation

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What has to be done? Nothing. If you aren't having problems you don't need to do anything. You can look for capsular contracture, rupture, and malposition, but you're not listing a specific complaint. If it would make you feel better, get a consultation. However, you could wait a bit until you have an actual complaint.

Tracy E. McCall, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Saline Implant Monitoring

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One of the advantages of saline implants is that they are easy to monitor for deflation. Assuming the implants are soft, the patient is pleased with her size and there are no rippling issues, deflation of saline implants are easy to detect clinically (the breast gets smaller). If none of these apply, I recommend that patients leave their saline implants alone.

Tom S. Liu, MD, MBA
Los Gatos Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Implant lift span

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hi, saberth.  Unless you have "problems (capsular contracture, deflation)" and you want to change size, you do not need to exchange your implant.  If there is any specific question, you can consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.  Best regards.

Implant followup

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Thanks for your question.   Saline implants are easy to follow.   They deflate if they rupture and get hard if they reject.   I would recommend followup with a local plastic surgeon in consultation to see what can be done to improve your result and whether the implant is intact.   This is a very easy and straight forward consult for a plastic surgeon, most of us don't mind these at all.  All the best.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

9 years into saline implants

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The short answer to your question is that with saline filled implants, there is no need for any type of "preventive maintenance."  That is, when a saline implant reaches the end of its lifespan, it will deflate.  This is very apparent and harmless to you.  Assuming you are happy with your current outcome, there is nothing you need to do about your implants.  Of course, normal recommendations regarding mammograms and regular health screening still apply.  

William Georgis, MD
Rockford Plastic Surgeon

9 years into saline implant.

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A question that comes up frequently in my practice is how often should one get one's implants changed. Most plastic surgeons feel that in the absence of rupture and if one is happy with their current situation, implants do not need to be changed. Saline implants are relatively easy to detect the failure rupture. Saline which is water will be absorbed into your system. Your breast will be smaller. There is also the question of general breast health and recommendations are for yearly exams and discuss with your physician if you are due for mammograms or other monitoring modalities.

Saline implant monitoring

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Thank you for your question. I would start by finding a plastic surgeon near you that is trusted. Chances are, if you remain happy w/ your results, you do not need to do anything. Self breast exams, and mammograms as recommended by your primary doctor are important. MRI exams are expensive, and not necessary unless you are experiencing changes. The implants can last a very long time, but should be examined yearly by a PS. Best wishes.

Paul J. Leahy, MD
Leawood Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

9 years into saline implant. What next?

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Thank you for your question.
There is no time limit as to when or if you need to exchange your breast implants. I have heard from patients that they have heard that breast implants need to be changed every 10 years. The only reason you need to exchange your breast implants is if you are having a problem with them or if you'd like to change the size.
Some of the potential complications that may arise would be deflation, capsular contracture, bottoming out, or just size change. If you are happy with the size of your breast implants and are having no problems, you don't need to do anything.
I would, however, suggest having an examination with a plastic surgeon if you are concerned about your breast implants (not your family doctor).
Best wishes.

No sign to watch for

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 Half of all saline implants placed, last 20 years or longer.  If you have a textured saline implant , less than half last 20 years.   There is no warning sign that a saline implant is about to leak. Perhaps eventually you may get a small fold flaw in your saline implant, the saline will leak into the capsule or scar tissue and it will slowly be absorbed over 2 to 4 weeks. You will slowly noticed one of your breast getting smaller. You will not be humiliated on a date or at dinner with  sudden  deflation of your implant.The Saline that is absorbed by your body is the same saline  the hospital would give you as IV fluid.  There is no harm to you!  You don't necessarily have to have regular follow up with the plastic surgeon, unless you're having a problem,  i.e. hardness, deflation. But remember if  your implanted  breast suddenly gets larger,  seek out a plastic surgeons advice urgently. 

Lisa Taylor, MD
Oklahoma City 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.