Saline Breast Implants Leaking

I have saline implants placed 2002. Yesterday, I notice my left breast was soft and shrinking. Consequently, I also experience a post nasal drip of salt in my throat. The left is smaller and softer than my right. This A.M. I haven't experience any difference. What are all my options, could I exercise?

Doctor Answers 24

Leaking breast implant options

Thanks for your question.

As the other physicians have mentioned the salty taste in your mouth and your saline implants are unrelated. There is no way for leaking saline to get to your nose or mouth. The saline is simply absorbed by the tissue around the implant pocket.

Implant ruptures should be evaluated by a board certified plastic surgeon. Usually, saline breast implants will not exhibit slow leaks but will leak like a ruptured balloon (very quickly). This will usually result in significant asymmetry. Silicone ruptures can be much more challenging to detect.

If your implant is leaking you may need to have the implant(s) removed or have the ruptured implant replaced. Implants that are ruptured that were placed in 2002 are likely still covered by the warranty. Be sure to contact your original plastic surgeon if you don't have the original paperwork. Warranties from Mentor or Allergan (the two largest breast implant manufacturers) usually last the lifetime of the implant.

I hope this helps.

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

It seems you have a deflating saline implant.

It sounds as though your implant is deflating. It is not related to your post-nasal drip however. You should visit a board certified plastic surgeon to have this confirmed and discuss your options. You should be able to exercise; however, sometimes women will notice the implant 'poking' them and this may be uncomfortable.

Sanjay Grover, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 213 reviews

Have your implants and breasts examined

The salty taste in your mouth and your breast implants are unrelated. If your breasts are noticeable smaller and softer to the point of concern for you cosmetically, then you should check with your surgeon to see if the implants leaking is the cause. You can still exercise since a leaking saline implant is not a danger to your breast or health.

Basically, if your saline implants are not giving you the size and shape satisfaction you desire, then you might want to change them regardless of if they are in fact leaking. If they are leaking, they pose no danger and you can leave them in until you are ready to undergo a replacement or, if they still look acceptable (some saline implants only partially deflate), then you can wait until the breasts look unacceptable to you cosmetically.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

You might have a breast implant deflation

You should visit a plastic surgeon soon and have the implants checked.  It sounds as though you have a left sided deflation happening.  It is not causing the nasal symptoms and you can certainly exercise until you find out what is going on.  A saline deflation is totally harmless to your health.

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

Get it replaced

You'll need to see your surgeon to get the implant removed, then replaced if you prefer with saline or silicone. Saline implant ruptures are harmless, and you may continue with your regular daily activities, such as exercising. However, it's best to have this replaced when you can.

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Implant leaking

If you your implant is ruptured, it typically takes a few days for it to fully deflate as your body needs some time to absorb the saline.  If this is the case, you should see a plastic surgeon to discuss replacing the implant.  It would be advisable to have this procedure done sooner than later to decrease the risk of the capsule (scar tissue around the implant) from contracting, making the surgery slightly less predictable.

Kunaal Jindal, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Implant needs to be replaced

It sounds as if the implant is leaking.  I don't think it has anything to do with your nasal symptoms.  You can exercise, but you need to contact your plastic surgeon so they can arrange replacement of the deflated implant. 

Gary Lawton, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 135 reviews

Saline implant leaking

If you have larger implants, give it a couple of more days and watch to see if your breast decreases in size further. However, if you have smaller implants then the deflation may have already occurred. Please see your surgeon for a physical examination and discussion of replacement surgery, if you would like to have them replaced. You can still exercise. Best of luck.

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

Saline Implant Deflation

         Based on your history, it appears that your left breast implant has deflated. This is supported by the fact that the implant is smaller and softer than the opposite side. The salty taste in your mouth is probably unrelated.


         In the majority of patients undergoing breast augmentation, implants last a lifetime. Occasionally, implants deflate and need to be replaced.


         Current data suggests that implants deflate at a rate of one percent at one year and three percent at three years. Over time, this number can be expected to grow. Implants may deflate with no apparent cause or may deflate secondary to trauma.


         When saline implants deflate, the diagnosis is relatively easy to make. These implants lose volume and flatten quickly.


         Correction of this problem will require removal and replacement of your ruptured breast implant. Since its been ten years since your original procedure, the opposite implant should be replaced as well. It’s important that you consult your surgeon as soon as possible.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Possible ruptured saline filled implant

If you develop a pin hole leak in a saline filled implant all of the saline will leak out over a 3 to 6 week period.  In this case the implant will need to be replaced.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 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.