Is Surgery Required to Deflate a Saline Implant?

I got my implants 13 years ago, and have hated them from the first day. They both looked so high up near my collar bone, and did not look natural. Once one deflated, I quite like it's appearance. I really do not want to remove either implant at this time. Nor do I want them replaced, ever. However, I would like to deflate the intact implant to match it's counterpart. Is this possible? Or, is it necessary to have both removed entirely at this time?

Doctor Answers 24

Deflate an implant

Of course it can be deflated by needle aspiration, I have done it many times.  LIke you some patients I've encountered had no further use for their implants and wanted symmetry after deflation of one side.  Some were too old to undergo further surgery, some couldn't afford the extraction surgery or simply couldn't take time off to actually do it.  Often times I deliberately deflate the good implant just to restore the original shape of the breasts in preparation for revision surgery when there are questions about  symmetry.  Of course this situation is temporary but in the long run a deflated implant  is no different than an inflated one in terms of being a foreign object inside your body.

Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Deflating Saline implants

One of the advantages of saline implants is the ability to deflate them at any time.  Some women gain weight and breast size and no longer need or want the implants.  After pregnancy the tissue can stretch and cause ptosis (droopiness), or long term insertion of implants can stretch the tissues and lead to ptosis.  These are all valid reasons to have the implants deflated.

Deflating the implants is very easy and done in an office setting with just a drop of local anesthetic.  It takes about 5 minutes per side, with no pain or down time.  A needle is placed through the skin into the implant after the skin has been numbed and then hooked to a suction machine via a tube and VIOLA! your implant is empty.

Of course, you can leave the implant bags in place, they do no harm.  If you want you can have them surgically removed, but you don't have to.  Many women wait 4-6 weeks for the tissues to settle and re-evaluate for a possible lift procedure.  You can then take the bags out and perform a lift if you need one.  You can even have new implants placed if desired.  I perform at least one deflation a week and have not had any problems with infection or recovery.

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Deflated saline breast implants

Thank you for asking about your saline breast implants.

  1. Your inflated breast implant looks much too large for your frame.
  2. A breast implant is easily deflated in the office with local anesthesia. 
  3. As long as it causes no problems, leaving a deflated implant in place is fine. But eventually its hard edge is likely to irritate your skin. At that point, the
  4. saline implants can be removed with local anesthesia in the office. 
  5. Best wishes. 

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Deflated saline implants

Deflating the other implant is a short term solution.  It can be done by a physician.  Leaving the deflated bags long term is not advisable.  Removal of these implants is quick and very minor.  It can be done under local anesthesia.

Wishing you all the best,

Tal Raine MD FACS

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews


Yes, your saline implant can be deflated, and it can be deflated without taking it out.

Please don't try to do this yourself.  See your original surgeon or any board certified plastic surgeon.  He/she will numb your skin so that a hypodermic need can be passed thru the tissues to puncture the implant.  This is very safe.  it will take a week or so for  all of the saline to leak out.  There should be no side effects.  The implants should not cause a problem to leave them in, however, it would be a small procedure to remove them.

E. Anthony Musarra II, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Deflation of implants

Clearly it is possible to deflate an implant under local anesthesia under sterile conditions and plan to leave the shell in place. Based on  your picture that appears to reasonable. 

Walter D. Gracia, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Deflating Saline Implants

While it would be best to have the implants removed, they can be deflated in the office very easily.  Just contact your plastic surgeon and let them know what you want and they should be able to deflate your implants as a simple office procedure under local anesthesia.


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Remove them under local if possible


It is difficult to say what the implants might do if left in place. Delayed scarring or infection is potentially possible. Removal is advisable. This can at times be done in simple and low cost ways.


Best Regards,


John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Deflation vs. removal of impant

First, please do not try this on your own at home.  You could introduce bacteria into a pocket with a foreign body and have a mess on your hands.  I would recommend having them both removed. If given the choice it is usually better to remove a foreign body that is not of benefit to you.  It is usually a straight forward procedure, but should still be done in a clean environment by your plastic surgeon.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Deflation of breast implants

Although it sounds easy enough (just deflate the implant yourself), it is NOT recommended. You could cause more problems for yourself.  Go see a certified surgeon and discuss this procedure. It is not a difficult procedure for someone to do but when a certified surgeon does it, you will more likely  reduce the potential risks associated with any surgical procedure.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 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.