Saline Breast Implant Repair | San Francisco Bay Area

Posted October 25, 2014 in Breast Augmentation, Breast Implant Revision Surgery, Home

Breast Augmentation remains the most popular Cosmetic Plastic Surgery. Both Saline and Silicone Breast Implants are currently available, but what's the difference if your Breast Implants leak?

Breast Augmentation remains the most popular Cosmetic Plastic Surgery. Both Saline and Silicone Breast Implants are currently available, but what’s the difference if your Breast Implants leak?

Breast Augmentation remains the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery in the US. It is a procedure that requires maintenance from time to time. Below, I discuss Breast Implant Deflation, one of the most common reasons for Breast Augmentation Revision Surgery.

Breast Implant Deflation Saline vs. Silicone

There is a big difference between Breast Implant Deflation for Saline versus Silicone filled Breast Implants. A deflated Saline Breast Implant is illustrated below. Since saline is water that is slightly salty (0.9% NaCl) to match our bodies, it is not dangerous and is quickly absorbed. Saline is necessary for life. The IV bag of saline used to inflate breast implants is exactly the same bag used to resuscitate people who are dehydrated.

Saline Breast Implant Deflation Before and After Photos

Breast Implant Deflation Replacement

The dramatic asymmetry above was caused by deflation of the left breast’s saline filled breast implant. While the saline is quickly and safely absorbed, its exit rapidly returns the breast to its pre-augmentation size. The after photo shows the result after breast implant replacement surgery.

The shell of a Saline Breast Implant is strong, so they do not leak often. When they do; however, it is safe but it is not subtle. More on this below under Saline Breast Implant Deflation.

Silicone Breast Implant Deflation: More Next Week

Modern Silicone Breast Implants, while soft, are nearly solid. The latest high strength, highly cohesive silicone gel breast implants are form stable. This means they maintain their shape. The phenomenon is similar to Gummy Bear candies. These soft bears can be compressed flat and will return to there original bear shape once released. This is why these implants are frequently referred to as Gummy Bear Breast Implants. The newest silicone breast implants are filled with a gel that is unlikely to migrate, but causes a different problem with surveillance, which I will get to next week when we discuss Silicone Breast Implant Deflation.

Saline Breast Implant Deflation

Saline Breast Implant Deflation while disappointing, is not dangerous. It is rare for a saline implant to partially deflate, so the augmentation of the effected breast is lost rapidly, usually in 24 hours. While replacement is not an emergency, there are several advantages to performing the Breast Implant Replacement sooner rather than waiting.

Immediate Breast Implant Replacement

This woman developed a collection of blood (a hematoma) around her ruptured breast implant after trauma. Urgent breast implant replacement was performed before the hematoma became infected or leaked through the skin.

This woman developed a collection of blood (a hematoma) around her ruptured breast implant after trauma. Urgent breast implant replacement was performed before the hematoma became infected or leaked through the skin.

Reasons for Early Breast Implant Replacement include not only the rapid restoration of appearance, but early intervention prevents the “pocket” from shrinking. The pocket is the thin capsule of scar that surrounds and supports the Breast Implant. This pocket is important in preventing the breast implant from moving. Too thin a capsule will allow the implant to “bottom-out.” While too thick a capsule will compress the breast implant, making it hard. This situation is termed Capsular Contracture.

Late Breast Implant Replacement

If a Saline Breast Implant has been deflated for months, the capsule will gradually tighten around the deflated breast implant shell. The shell can fold irregularly, and these folds may become visible. Some patients even complain of discomfort from the folds poking them. After the capsule shrinks, it will no longer accommodate the replacement breast implant. To make room, the pocket is enlarged (a capsulotomy) or removed (a capsulectomy) to create a pocket of adequate size.

When a breast implant remains deflated for a long time, the skin and the pocket around the implant often shrink. This before and after picture show improved symmetry after breast implant replacement surgery.

When a breast implant remains deflated for a long time, the skin and the pocket around the implant often shrink. This before and after picture show improved symmetry after breast implant replacement surgery.

Delayed Breast Implant Replacement may have both financial and medical causes. Looking for the lowest price in Plastic Surgery is not usually a good idea. It is alway a good idea to check with your Plastic Surgeon or your Breast Implant Manufacturer about your Breast Implant Warranty. The link provides some of the basic information, but breast implant warranties change from time-to-time, so be certain to get the latest information. If you are having Breast Augmentation, be certain to check your options. Some manufacturers offer enhanced warranties, which need to be purchased within 30 days of the initial Breast Augmentation. These warranties can be very helpful if you have a leaking breast implant as they offer not only a new implant, but money toward the surgery to replace them.

Why Delay Breast Implant Replacement?

Sometimes it is necessary to delay Breast Implant Replacement. Medical reasons include: pregnancy, active infection, breast implant exposure or untreated breast cancer. The timing of Delayed Breast Implant Replacement is guided by the clinical course. Sometimes, Breast Implant Removal is the best option. This is most often recommended for breast implant infections or in cases when the skin breaks down over the implant. The timing for Breast Implant Replacement in cases where implants need to be removed and left out is guided by both the clinical course and your desires. Usually, it is best to wait three, six or even twelve months before attempting replacement of the breast implant.

Breast Implant Repair

As you can see there are lots of options and details to consider with breast implant replacement, and we haven’t discussed Silicone Breast Implants, yet. If you need breast implant replacement, it is also a good time to address all the current breast augmentation options. Some patients will take advantage of the opportunity to switch from Saline to Silicone. Others, who have had some issues regarding asymmetry or breast sagging, will choose to take care of it simultaneously.

If you are in need of Breast Implant Repair, drop me a note via the contact form on this page, or call my San Francisco Bay Area office in Walnut Creek, California, at (925) 943-6363. More next week on Silicone Breast Implants.