Can I Get Saline Implants Deflated a Little if I Think They're Too Big?

Can I get my saline implants deflated a little if I think they are too big?

Doctor Answers 12

Changing size by taking out saline from saline-filled implants

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Let me see if I can summarize why it is not a good idea and not worth it to try to reduce the size of saline-filled implants after they are already in place and healed. 

If they were put in through the minimal 2 cm incision it is not possible to get at the valve of the implants without doubling the size of the incision and taking out the implants under full operating conditions and then replacing the valve, taking out saline, and replacing them. 

Saline-filled implants are meant to be filled once and the valve then sealed and not touched again. Reopening the valve, though possible, could increase the future chance of failure or possibly void the warranty.

Saline-filled implants are meant to be filled to their rated volume and no more than about 10% more or the risk of rippling and premature failure is significantly higher. This is usually 30-50 cc. For average volume implants, the border of noticeability of volume difference is about 25 cc. The odds of achieving the expected look by decreasing volume and still have the implant filled properly is near zero. 

There are risks and costs involved with reopening the pocket around a healed implant. Although not high they are probably not worth accepting unless the implant is going to be changed to a new chosen volume. 

Volume is determined by three dimensions. One cannot just pick a volume number and make it fit or work any more than picking an arbitrary dress size or shoe size. If you choose to change the size of your implants you will need to rethink the size and forward projection that will fit, look natural, and achieve the size desired when there is still no simple way to measure breast overall size before or after surgery. This is best done in round implants by measuring the width of the breast and knowing what the forward projection (profile) choices will achieve in relation to the starting size and in relation to bra cup sizes in the same chest diameter. 

Boulder Plastic Surgeon

Implants that are too big

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If you think your implants are too big, you can open up the incision and take some of the saline out.  This will make them the size you want, but you may have a problem with rippling - where you can see or feel the folds in the implant, usually on the side and on the bottom - if it is not "overfilled" with fluid.

Do not deflate saline implant

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Hi Parisi32,

Your surgeon can certainly go in through the old incision and insert the fill tube and withdraw some saline.  However, I agree with the below comments that every implant is usually filled to an optimal volume and volumes below this will result in rippling.  I would just change to the size implant you prefer.  The surgeon has to make an incision anyway and it is fairly easy to exchange saline implants.

Tracy M. Pfeifer, MD, MS

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Deflating a saline breast implant

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Saline breast implants do have a fill range, usually 30 to 50cc depending on the size of the implant. If your implants are filled to the top of the range it is conceivable that the volume can be reduced  to the low end of the range, however practically, if you feel that your implants are too big, the change would be a very small one.  The better solution would be replacement of the implants with a size that suits you better.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Reducing the size of a saline implant

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This is a bad idea on several fronts. Deflating an implant slightly will cause wrinkles in the implant, which may cause the implant to deflate at a later date. Plus if you have minimal breast tissue, you can see the wrinkles. Deflating implants requires an operation and voids the implant warrantee. To reduce the size will require a replacement of the present implant. If they are close to a satisfactory size, leave them alone and be happy.  Good luck.

Deflating saline implants

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Your implants can be deflated a bit, but they may ripple and would require surgery to perform this procedure.  Usually it is best to place a size appropriate new implant back in rahter than deflating the ones you have.

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

Saline Implants Are Too Big

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The short answer to your question is yes, it is possible to do so. However, as the other doctors have mentioned, this is not always a good idea. Saline implants have an ideal or recommended fill volume and if you just remove fluid from them you will increase your risk of rippling. This in turn may increase your risk of implant rupture due to fold faults on the implant. Your best option is to replace your current implants with smaller implants. This unfortunately increases your costs.

Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Removal of Saline From implants

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I would not advise you to have saline removed from your implants which you feel are too large.  This would very likely result in rippling of your implants since they need to be overfilled a bit to lessen the chance of rippling.  A better solution, if you feel that your implants are too large would be removal of your implants and replacement with smaller implants which are also overfilled or better yet silicone.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Reducing the Size of Saline Implants

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Dear Parisi32 in Norfolk:

It may be possible to get your saline breast implants deflated a little if you think they are too big. It depends on your current fill volume, the fill range of your current implants and the amount of volume reduction you are looking for. Small adjustments, about 10% implant volume reduction, are possible if the implant is starting out filled to it's maximum allowed volume, and the volume is reduced to the lowest allowed volume. This will maintain your warranty and minimize the risk of implant failure. It should be performed under sterile technique, and personally, I only perform direct manipulation of breast implants in an accredited surgical facility so the sterility of the implant is maintained.

If larger reduction is needed, the implants would need to be replaced with new, smaller breast implants. Decreasing the fill volume below the manufacturers recommended minimum will increase the risk of deflation in the future, and technically violates your warranty should any problems develop in the future.

Joseph Mele, MD
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Saline implants

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The saline implants have a recommended fill volume range. This is generally about 30 cc. if your surgeon filled the implants to their maximum volume a minor procedure can be done to remove the excess and return to the recommended minimal fill volume.

This may or may not be enough of a reduction for you. I suggest you return to your surgeon to determine if the reduction in volume is an option but also to help you determine if this small volume change is enough to achieve your goal.

Good luck and I hope this was helpful.

Robert W. Kessler, MD, FACS
Corona Del Mar Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 130 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.