Have/Can My Saline Implants Rupture?


Breast implants possess an impressive amount of durability. They must be able to withstand years of everyday life and the occasional mammogram. However, there is a possibility that they can fail. A recent study of Mentor’s breast implants placed the rupture rate for primary augmentation at 1.1%.

The leading theories for implant rupture include:

  • Implant age – Normal aging of the implants also increases the risk of rupture
  • Over filling or under filling – Filling the implants with more or less saline solution than recommended by the manufacturer may lead to leaking
  • Excessive stress on the implant due to trauma or intense physical activity
  • Excessive handling or stressing the implant during surgery
  • Capsular contracture – Tissue contraction (capsular contracture) around the implant may increase the likelihood of rupture
  • Defective implants – Occasionally implants may rupture due to product defect, however, this is quite uncommon as breast implants are rigorously tested for durability

How will I know whether my saline implant has deflated?

Because saline implants are filled with salt water, any leakage will be absorbed by your body and excreted through your urine. Complete deflation may take a day or two (if there is a large hole in the implant shell) or could take weeks or months (with a smaller leak).

  • Signs of deflation include:
  • Reduced breast size
  • Reduced firmness of the breast
  • Reduced fullness of the upper breast

In addition to the visible symptoms, some mild discomfort, including nausea and headache within 48 hours of saline implant rupture may occur.

These signs are generally gradual and progressive. So if you’re not sure whether you have a deflation, check again in a few days or a week. If your breast looks and feels the same, you probably do not have a deflation, but if it continues to lose fullness and firmness, you should seek assistance from an experienced plastic surgeon.

Is a leaking saline implant dangerous?

Saline implant ruptures are NOT dangerous. Saline implants are filled with the same saltwater solution that is used in IV fluid. In reality, the implants are actually manufactured as empty shells and Dr. Mountcastle will fill the implants with the sterile saline solution during surgery. If the saline implant deflates, your body will absorb the fluid and you will be better hydrated!

How soon do I have to have implant replacement surgery done?

While a saline implant deflation is not an emergency, it is important to have either the implant removal or replacement surgery done as soon as possible, ideally within a couple weeks of the deflation. Capsular contracture is a risk of an untreated deflation, thus requiring a more difficult surgery than implant removal or replacement alone.

Correcting ruptured saline breast implants?

Even if only one saline implant has ruptured, both are typically removed and replaced during the breast revision surgery, especially if the saline implants are more than 10 years old. This is done in an effort to avoid experiencing a future implant rupture with your remaining intact, but aged implant.

Some patients will choose to have their saline breast implants removed but not replaced. However, this is typically not recommended unless a breast lift is performed to remove the excess skin that has been stretched out by the saline implants.

If I have to replace a deflated implant, can I get bigger implants at the same time?

In many cases, women will opt to enlarge their implant size while they are undergoing the removal and replacement process of a deflated implant.