OMG! So your saline-filled breast implant has gone flat- What to do?
Many women in the United States underwent cosmetic breast augmentation and breast reconstruction with saline-filled breast implants in between 1992 and 2006. This number, according to procedural statistics is large, equating to several million women who have been implanted with saline-filled breast implants. Implanted medical devices, whether a saline-filled breast implant, cardiac pacemaker or artificial hip, can fail and need replacement. Replacement surgery at the time of failure or pre-failure is a good consideration.
If you have saline filled implants, you may find one day that one of your breast implants has failed and that your body has absorbed the saline, giving you a much smaller breast on the deflated side. The question then arises about what to do and how soon should you see a plastic surgeon for replacement surgery. Saline-filled breast implants can fail for a variety of reasons, even without any known trauma to the breast or recent mammogram.
Fixing A Leaking Implant
Dr. Mark Jewell believes that the best opportunity for a successful surgery to replace a saline-filled breast implant that has failed comes within a narrow time period after the failure has been noted by the patient. The pocket for the implant is still relatively large and replacement surgery becomes straightforward to place a new implant (saline or gel-filled) into the existing pocket. Longer wait times for replacement surgery become more complex, as the implant pocket can become much smaller when there is not a filled implant taking up space. This requires a removal of the implant shell and surrounding capsule (capsulectomy), a much longer surgery.
Most implants have a 10 year post-surgery warranty that offers some cost reimbursement for replacement, provided that there’s a deflation within this time period. Other companies will replace ruptured devices even beyond 10 years. If you are coming to see Dr. Mark Jewell as a new patient, please try to find your old implant information, this information is very helpful in planning your next surgery.
The good news for individuals who have “upgraded” to silicone-filled implants from saline is that their outcomes feel considerably more natural, with less rippling and slosh of the saline within their implants. Feel free to call Dr. Jewell with regards to arranging a consultation to discuss your options for implant replacement.