What Are the Chances That Cabin Pressure of a Plane Completely Deflating my Leaking Saline Implant?

I have 5 year old saline implants, I the last 2 months there has been a size decrease in my right breast, my surgeon is 99.9%sure that I have a very slow leak but won't repair the implant (under warranty) until there is a bigger size difference, my question is that I am due to be in a friends wedding in 2 weeks in a different state, so I will be flying with a leaking implant, will the cabin pressure have any effect on my leak?

Doctor Answers 8

Cabin Pressure affect on leaking implant

I do not think the cabin pressure will affect the rate at which your saline implant leaks.   It may be useful to order an ultrasound to determine if there is any fluid between the implant and capsule that is not absorbed.   This may be good documentation to warrant an exchange.  Best wishes.

Dr. Gill

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Cabin pressure in commercial planes

is close to what the pressures are at 8000 feet.  As you go higher in altitude, there is less external pressure so it should not affect your situation at all.  Scuba diving would be a different issue. 

As for helping your surgeon better appreciate your slow deflation, get a molded cup bra (or any cup that doesn't stretch) and document the differences in how your breasts fill your cup.  With a slow leak, the space inside the cup will increase slowly and that is enough proof to me if I cannot visualize the differences. 

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Saline Breast Implants and Cabin Pressure In A Plane

The chances of external pressure from outside your body causing internal saline breast implants to deflate is zero.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

What Are the Chances That Cabin Pressure of a Plane Completely Deflating my Leaking Saline Implant?

Since the pressure in the cabin is close to normal ground pressure, it should not affect your implants. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Lekaing implants and airplane flight

 If an implant is leaking, it will flatten over a short period of time. The airplane cabin pressure should not impact this.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Cabin pressure and implants

Questions about flying and breast implants come up fairly frequently.  Even though you may have a leak, it is still an issue of a liquid, not a gas.  Your body, as well as the implants, are comprised of solids and liquids except for the space within your lungs and sinuses which hold air.  Air and gases are subjected to cabin pressure changes and can expand or compress accordingly.  This is why someone with a cold who has blocked sinuses can develop sinus pain, because the expanding air within the sinus cannot escape.  You have nothing to worry about with flying.  If we filled breast implants with a gas (air) instead of a liquid (saline) or semi-solid (gel) people would have issues flying or climbing up mountains (cabin air pressure is usually equivalent to around 8000 feet, like driving up into the Rocky Mountains).  Their breast implants would expand slightly with altitude.  But since we don't fill implants with air, this is a non-issue.

Douglas J. Mackenzie, MD
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Flying and implant rupture

A slow leak in an implant is extremely rare and may be due to a faulty valve.  There is a very low risk of having any problem when flying since the cabin is pressurized.  It will not cause an implant to rupture. 

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

Very very very unlikely

I would say that the likelihood of the implant rupturing is very unlikely.  The decreased cabin pressure would probably cause your chest to explode before the implant exploded.  In all my years dealing with Allergan and Mentor I have never had a case where they didn't cover the implant for a presumed leak, especially if there is a change.  Have your surgeon speak to their rep to see what can be done.  You will still have some financial responsibility but it will soften the blow considerably.  Good luck, Dr. Schuster in Boca Raton

Steven Schuster, MD, FACS
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 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.