Are saline implants weaker over time? and more likely to rupture?

I have 13yr old saline under muscle implants, I know they are currently not ruptured but it seems they have lost some saline? and they are not as full/firm as they once were. Is it possible for saline to leak/seap out without a rupture? and my original question is;   are my implants more fragile as they age, should I avoid "rigorous activity"   thank you for your help. JB

Doctor Answers 8

Breast Implants and Rupture

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All breast implants are not life-time devices.  All breast implants age and will likely rupture or leak.  All the major breast implant companies have warranties that you should be informed of prior to your surgery.  Changing a leaking implant is typically a simple procedure with minimal to no downtime.

Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

Leaking Saline Implants

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Regarding your activity, I would not change any of your activities. Saline implants and silicone implants have a similar shell made out of vulcanized silicone. Saline implants have a valve to fill the implant with silicone. That valve may have leakage of saline over time (salt water) and the fullness of the implant may seem to be less. It is not a health threat the salt water is like IV fluid. Also over time saline implants may develop rippling or folds more then silicone implants due and have a higher chance of having a fold break and leakage of the implant. 

After 10 years the chances of that happening goes up.

Seek to see your surgeon for further evaluation!

Good luck

Saline implants seem smaller

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I have a had quite a few patients who have presented with similar questions. Assuming you havent ruptured with a small leak (which would take 2 to 3 weeks on average to nearly completely deflate), the reason your breasts may seem smaller and less firm is you have likely "lost" some breast tissue. The implants are likely unchanged. As far as activity, do what you normally would do. At some point the implant may break and you will need them to be replaced but you shouldnt lead your life worrying about it. More activity will not likely increase the chance they will break.

Paul Wigoda, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Saline implants

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I would say that the older the implants, the more likely they could rupture, but I would not live my life worrying about it.

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

Strength of Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants

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The difference in the strength of the shell of silicone vs saline breast implants depends on when they were made, not what kind of implant it is. Those made around the same time generally have equal shell strength. However, there is some evidence that silicone implants may rupture more frequently. This, however, is probably not due to the strength of the outer shell, but how they were placed. Since saline implants can be placed deflated with no need to push them into the pocket, they usually have very minimal trauma to the shell from pushing it into place unlike silicone ones. If your implants have lasted 13 years, they will probably last a lot longer. As far as your other question, yes, it is possible for saline implants to leak a little, but this is exceptionally unusual. The most likely explanation for your breasts not being as firm as they once were is that, with pressure on the breast tissue over time by the implant and just normal aging, the breasts have probably lost some of their volume rather than the implant losing volume.


Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Avoiding Activity with Implants

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   Although implant shells may weaken over time and rupture, activity should not be altered.  Live your life.  If they rupture, they can be replaced.

Are Saline Implants weaker over time?

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If you have a leak, you will notice that within 24 hours.  I would not let that thought keep me from my normal activities.  See a Plastic Surgeon for a breast check to put your mind at ease.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Are saline implants weaker over time?

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Usually, when saline implants develop a leak, they deflate quickly, usually within 24 hours. After 13 years it is more likely that you have less breast tissue than that the implants have a slow leak. Most implant leaks we see have no obvious cause related to activity. I think it would be a mistake to alter your level of activities out or fear of rupturing the implants.

Thanks, all the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle 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.