Are You Able to Remove Saline from an Implant Six Months Post-op?

four months ago I had breast augmentation.Going into surgery my doctor advised she was going to fill the left breast with 30 cc more than my right breast because of the way my breast bone sits.For unknown reasons, she filled the right side with more. Needless to say the right breast four months post surgery is noticeable larger.I met with her 2 weeks ago and she said I could have saline removed in another surgery from the right side.Question;will this at all affect the integrity of the implant?

Doctor Answers 14

Adjusting the Amount of Saline in Breast Implants

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Hi Maine,

I'm sorry for the problems you're having.

In my opinion, one of the most important things with saline implants is to make sure that each implant is filled to the same percentage of the recommended size for that implant.  If you take two identical implants and fill one with significantly more saline than the other, the fuller one will typically be firmer, rounder and more prominent - which makes sense. 

Breasts are almost never perfectly symmetrical so I don't even make an enormous effort to make them exactly alike; we just try to get as close as possible without doing dramatically different procedures on each breast.

So now to your specific question:  It is possible to do what you want, but the valves are probably best designed to be closed once and then sealed, and not to be constantly opened and closed.  You may want to check if a maneuver such as this could void or affect the warranty of the implant and, if so, either just leave things the way they are or consider putting on one or two entirely new implants.

You should, of course, stay in touch with your PS and continue to have a frank and open discussion about all of these issues.  Often it's better just to leave things as they rather than to undergo another surgical procedure - if you're okay with that.  And that's obviously something I can't help you with.

But I hope that the rest of this does help, and good luck,

Dr. E

Breast implant fill volumes

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Breast implants are designed to be filled to a certain volume. For example, a 300 cc implant can be filled to 330 cc.  If you fill it to just 290 cc then the implant can wrinkle and the integrity of the implant can be compromised. This can lead to earlier deflation of the implant.

Discuss this in detail with your surgeon, you may need to downsize the entire implant. It depends on how much saline is already in the device and what size the implant is.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

Adjusting saline implant volume is usually possible

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Typically we like to wait 6 months for all healing to occur but it is possible to remove some saline if the fill volume is above the minimum without damaging the implant.

Breast implant revision surgery

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It is not desirable, but possible to undergo breast revision surgery after six months following the initial operation. Six months is the usual minimum waiting period required before going back for a revision. Although this must be assessed based on the patients physical examination. Removing saline from an implant may damage the port at the time of tubing insertion into the hub, but this is a rare event. Nevertheless is should be discussed before surgery. Also under-filling and over-filling of an implant beyond required volumes must be considered and discussed. under-filling increases leak rate later on and can also present with rippling on later physical examination. overfilling can also increase leak rate and an un-natural look. So please discuss with your surgeon the implant volume range and where you plan to have the final volume. I think the risk of damage to the implant is minimal and you should be able to go forward with revision at six months, if your surgeon believes this to be a good idea based on all available information during examination and in-person consultation. Good luck. 

You can have saline removed from the implant.

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Removing saline from the implant will not affect the integrity of the implant but anytime you have surgery on a breast implant you have a risk of infection and capsular contracture.  30 cc's is less than a tablespoon of water, so it is hard to tell a difference with this amount.  Good luck!

Removing saline from an implant 6 months after surgery: Is it OK?

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Adjusting the amount of saline in the implant can be performed 6 months following your surgery. This should typically be performed under strict sterility as in an operating room and not in an office exam room.

There also is a risk of damage to the implant as well as to the valve of the implant. Your plastic surgeon should have a backup available just in case this does occur.

Reducing saline implant volume after breast augmentation

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It is possible to reduce volume from a saline breast implant six months after breast augmentation, provided that the implant had been filled to the top of the fill range, and will be reduced only to the minimum fill range. For a large breast implant the range may be 50cc, for a smaller implant just 30cc. You should be certain that the 30cc will may a difference to you, as reducing the volume will require opening the pocket the exposing the implant. If done carefully the implant will not be harmed. Ask though if your surgeon damages the implant in the process what cost will remain for the replacement.

Best of luck,


Removing Saline

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Saline could be removed with a secondary surgery. Anything is possible, as your question poses. It is possible that the integrity of the implant will be fine.  This is the most likely scenario. It is also possible that the valve will be damaged, the implant accidently ruptured or you could develop a complication following surgery.  

Adjusting saline implant volume is possible but you may want to wait.

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With additional minor surgery the volume of any saline filled implant can be changed - up or down. Exposing the implant, inserting a filling tube and removing some volume is a straight forward surgical procedure but poses a small but some risk to the implant integrity as well as a minor risk of infection, altered scar formation at the incision site, etc. Your breast shape and contours will evolve slowly over the first year after surgery and many small differences become less problematic. If you and your Plastic Surgeon feel that a small adjustment to the volume of one implant will be worth it then you should not be worried about this procedure.

Dr. Mosher

Revision of breast implant volume

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Yes your implant volume may be reduced.  However, it must be done carefully and in a sterile environment.  Additionally, your implant should not be deflated to a point below the manufacturers minimal fill volume as this often leads to fold flaw that are more prone to make an implant fail.

Delio Ortegon, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 30 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.