Can I Wait to Have a Deflating Saline Breast Implant Replaced?

I had dorsal latissmus flap breast reconstruction with saline implants in late 2007. I cannot have MRI's, so saline was my only option. I now have a slow leak in one of the implants and my plastic surgeon wants to operate right away, but I would prefer to wait approximately six months for my hectic schedule to lighten up. Will I have longer surgery and recovery times if I wait? Also, am I a candidate for the new cohesive silicone gel implants (gummy bear implants)? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 10

Deflating saline implant

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It's impossible to say whether you are a candidate for the stable form implant without seeing you in person, but for a revision case like this it's best to see a surgeon who has a lot of experience with that implant.
As far as timing, waiting longer may mean that your scar tissue capsule will shrink down a little and require more release of scar tissue at the exchange, but it shouldn't affect your recovery dramatically.

Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Replacement for Deflated Breast Implant

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Surgery should be done as soon as possible as the longer you wait the more scar tissue will build.

A physical examination and an in person discussion of your goals, objectives, and lifestyle will be able to determine if cohesive gel implants make sense for you.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Can I Wait to Have a Deflating Saline Breast Implant Replaced?

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You should definitely change your implants and i recommend silicone as better option for you , these can be a little more for the price. but i have found that a patient regrets more not putting silicone after having a saline implant.
Please visit with a board certified plastic surgeon with years of experience and great reviews in your procedure

Deflating breast implant

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You should have a deflating implant replaced immediately as it will get more difficult as time goes on. The longer the deflation, the more the capsule will shrink down requiring more surgery to replace the implant. I would recommend replacing the saline with cohesive gel implants as they will be softer and feel more natural.

Can I Wait to Have a Deflating Saline Breast Implant Replaced?

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In general, it's easier to replace a deflated implant if you don't have to take pocket contraction into consideration as an issue, which means doing it sooner rather than later.  However, there is no other urgency to doing it quickly, and no medical problems associated with leaving a deflated implant in place for a given amount of time.

No absolute answer; therefore.  Probably easier to do is sooner rather than later but if there are extenuating circumstances then it's not medically urgent to do it right away.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Leaking saline implant

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I would agree with your plastic surgeon that prompt replacement would make the surgery easier to do, because the pocket would need little revision, the post op complication of capsule formation would be less,especially if the reconstructed breast was nice and soft-a baker grade 1 or2 result. I would still use a saline implant, trying to choose an implant that will be filled to capacity at the time of surgery to lessen the chance of another deflation.

Terry A. Cromwell, MD (retired)
Lafayette Plastic Surgeon

Delay In Replacement Of Deflated Saline Breast Implant

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Waiting six months after a saline breast implant deflation does not significantly reduce the ability to get a good outcome as you had before. The pocket will have shrunken to some degree but it can be re-opened up to its original size without undue difficulty with the implant replacement. This would also be a good opportunity to replace your implants with newer cohesive gels so the risk of future implant deflation is eliminated.

Saline implant rupture and timing of surgery

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Most surgeons prefer to treat ruptures sooner than later because often it is easier to perform the replacement before the pocket contracts down.

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

Timing to replace deflated saline implant

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Saline implants are filled with sterile intravenous fluid.  If they leak and deflate, the body absorbs the fluid without associated problems.  Most plastic surgeons recommend replacing these implants without significant delay to avoid having the implant pocket shrink in size.  Generally, however, even a 6 month delay does not significantly alter the ability to obtain a quality outcome with a replacement implant.  There are few contraindications to switching to a silicone implant at this point.  Many surgeons favor gel implants for their "natural" feel, lower risk of rippling and wrinkling, and lighter weight.  Silicone implants can have different cohesive properties depending on the manufacturer and the type of implant (round versus shaped).  These are certainly issues to discuss with a board certified plastic surgeon before making your surgical decisions.

Glen Brooks, MD
Springfield Plastic Surgeon

Saline implants deflation

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yes,you can safely wait:even totally deflated,saline implants are easily removed and replaced;

no vital risk!

cohesive gel implants are now well tolerated and they dont leak anymore!

Vladimir Mitz, MD
France 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.