Can Saline Breast Implants Be Reduced and Reused?

I presently have large Breast implants 425ccs to be exact under the muscle. One has slipped from under the muscle and I have to get a third surgery.

I want to go smaller. Can they use my existing implants and drain the some saline out or would I have to buy another set of implants?

Doctor Answers 15

Reusing saline implants

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Hi, it's generally not recommended to reuse implants. The possibility of contamination and infection is also higher if the port through the saline is introduced is opened. In addition, if a signifcant amount of fluid is removed, the implant may be underfilled, which will cause obvious rippling. For these reasons, most surgeons will recommend that you use new implants. Good luck, /nsn.

Decreasing the volume of saline implants

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Dear Kristen

I am often asked this question. There is however, no simple answer. According to the manufacturers if you change the volume after implantation you may be voiding the warranty. It also depends on whether you have 425cc implants inflated to 425cc or are they inflated to 475cc. If you go below the recommended minimum volume you will be prone to excess wrinkling and may increase the risk of spontaneous deflation.

If this is your 3rd surgery for the same problem (which sounds more like bottoming out than slipping out from under the muscle) you could consider changing to silicone and placing them over the muscle.

This is something to discuss with your plastic surgeon so you know the options before you go into surgery. Good luck.

No, saline breast implants can't be reused

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Even though your implants are probably functionally fine, they cannot be reused technically. The manufacturer voids the warranty if breasts are reoperated without exchange of implants.

Furthermore, taking saline out of the implants would result in underfilling which is undesirable. They will feel abnormal and rippling is likely.

Because of the position issue, I would recommend your implants be place above the muscle and would advise you to consider the use of silicone gel implants for aesthetic reasons.

Replacing saline implants

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Best advice I can give you is to focus on finding the most qualified plastic surgeon rather than which type of implant or procedure is best (see below links on how to do this). By the way check into the new FDA approved and released saline implant that feels more like silicone/natural breast tissue called IDEAL implant.

Smaller implants

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If you want to reduce the volume fo the implants, it is probably better to replace the implants with a size that fits you and with a reduced maximum volume.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Can Saline Breast Implants Be Reduced and Reused?

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It is not a wie idea to underfill implant below the recommended fill range because this will lead to a higher rate of rippling and crease fold failure as well as rupture/leakage.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Decrease Volume in Saline Implants

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I understand your question, unfortunately, breast impants are a medical device and are technically for "Single Patient Use". Which means once they are removed for any reason, they technically cannot be replaced as it will void the warranty that is provided by the manufacturer.

Decreasing the volume of a saline implant, increases the rippling or folding of the implant. This you will be able to feel and may be able to see.

In addition, one of the most dreaded complications of saline implants is deflation or rupture; this occurs more often in underfilled implants (similar to if you bend a paper-clip over and over, it will break...if the implant wall bends over and over due to folding, it will break and leak).

I hope this helps!


John Philip Connors III, MD, FACS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Adjustment of saline implants is a Yes or No answer

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While I have on occassion subtracted, or added fluid to an existing saline implant it typically is only done in relatively small quantities.

From your question, it sounds to me like you would be better off changing the implant to a newer smaller one.

One advantage of saline in your case, is that I have had patients like you whom I was able to withdraw fluid from the implant using a syringe with the patient standing in front of a mirror. That way it simulates what it may look like with a smaller size. Of course the implant is violated at that point and needs to be replaced.

Darrick E. Antell, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

The saline breast implants must be replaced with a smaller pair

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I am sorry to say that if you choose to go smaller, then the implants have to be replaced. Saline implants have a specific range of fill volumes, and they should never be under filled. This is recommended by the manufacturer and followed by most Plastic Surgeons. If a saline is under filled it is often quite rippled and has a much higher chance for a rupture or leak down the road. While it seems that an overfilled implant would have a higher risk of rupture, that is not the case as found in research. See if your surgeon could discuss a discount for your replacement implants with his/her implant rep. They may be able to save you a few hundred dollars in your total cost.

Good Luck!

Can saline implants be reused?

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The implants have a recommended volume range by the manufacturer. The long term integrity of the implant depends on the recommended volume. One cannot lower the volume and use the same implant.

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.