Risks with Waiting to Replace a Ruptured Implant?

What are the risks or complications associated with waiting? How long can I wait? I have a completely ruptured saline implant.

Doctor Answers 10

Replace Ruptured Saline Implant Timely

Replace Ruptured Saline Implants Promptly. I would recommend that you replace the ruptured saline implant within the near future. Although there is little risk to wait it becomes a bigger procedure and potentially cost more. By waiting the pocket shrinks down and then has to be reopened. On the other hand if you replace them on a timely basis all your surgeon has to do is to simply replace it. 

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Risks with Waiting to Replace a Ruptured Implant?

Risks with Waiting to Replace a Ruptured Implant? The primary risks are contraction of the pocket and need for expansion at a later date. .

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Ruptured saline implant

Hi there-

There is no reason to worry about the safety of waiting to manage a saline implant. There would be no adverse health consequences of waiting even years to do anything about it...

On the other hand, the longer the time period between the rupture and implant replacement, the more the soft tissues in the area will contract (shrink), making it a bit more of a challenge to make the breast look just like the other breast (which did not experience a deflation).

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Saline ruptured implants

Ruptured saline implants should be removed and replaced. As to the timing, it really is up to you. However, the sooner you do it, the easier it will be to make it look like the previous one performed unless you were not happy with them to begin with.  The pocket will close down and a capsulotomy or capsulectomy will need to be performed.

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

Deflated saline breast implants

I would agree with most of the responses that there are no risks associated with a failed saline breast implant regardless of how long it is in. As far as the body is concerned there is no difference. I feel the term "failed" or "deflated" implant is more appropriate than "ruptured" and such deflations can be total or partial but I have found that it is unpredictable whether and how much the capsule will contract down around the now smaller implant. Regardless, at the time of replacement, the space for the implant must be reestablished to properly fit the replacement implant. 

Related issues include the myth that all saline breast implants must be replaced at ten years and that if one side fails the other side is more likely to fail and should also be replaced. 

If you want to think positively about it, the saline implant has the advantage that it tells you when it needs to be replaced and there's no worries with what it was filled with. If it's a gel-filled breast implant, there's no evidence that your health is threatened by the failed implant but the failed gel implant will not necessarily look or feel any different and currently there is no simple test to verify the integrity of gel implants. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Risks with waiting to replace a ruptured implant

I would wait only a month at most because the shell of the implant is very stiff and can cause erosion through the skin causing a worse issue.

From MIAMI Dr. B

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

There is NO Rush to replace a deflated Saline Breast Implant

A deflated saline breast Implant is NOT a surgical emergency. As the saline leaks out  it will be absorbed by your body. In turn the breast pocket around the implant will gradually get smaller and the breast will flatten. In fact, the body will not react differently with a breast implant - full or empty and if you wanted you could leave it there without replacing it.

The ONLY advantage of replacing a leaking breast implant promptly is that the pocket around the implant is still the same and has not yet shrunken. If the replacement procedure is delayed, the surgeon would have to re-develop the pocket to accommodate the new breast implant.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Risk from ruptured saline breast implant

The only risk is that the scar around the implant (the capsule) may contract and shrink making replacement a little harder. You could, in fact, live the rest of your life with the ruptured implant with no problem other than the difference in the size of your breasts. This difference could cause some discomfort in the shoulder and neck due to the difference in weight of the breasts. This latter problem is, in fact, the main reason a number of women have delayed breast reconstruction after mastectomy for cancer when they did not have reconstruction initially.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Timing of Replacing Ruptured Implant

There is no increase in risks when waiting to replace a ruptured saline implant.  However, it is much easier and accompanied by less pain if performed shortly after the rupture, since the pocket is present in its original size.  If a long period transpires, it is possible that the pocket will contract and  require more dissection to re-create it.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Advice on waiting for deflated saline implant replacement

There is no harm to your body in waiting to replace a deflated saline implant, but there are some practical considerations. When the implant deflates, the pocket (capsule) around the implant begins to collapse, so the longer you wait the more surgery will be required to re-expand the pocket. Also, although the implants have a lifetime replacement policy from U.S. manufacturers, there is a financial benefit to cover the costs of the surgery which has a time limit so be sure to look into that.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 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.