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Deflation and Rupture



Breast implants do NOT last forever, they are not intended to be lifetime devices. All implants are all susceptible to ruptures and or deflation after breast augmentation.  The term "deflation" refers to a loss of volume of a implant.



Saline filled implant deflation can occur either suddenly or can happen slowly over a period of several days. The patient will notice the side that has the deflation is misshapen or smaller than the other implant. The most common situation regarding ruptures or deflation comes from sealed saline implants that have been compromised with adding saline to the implant after the surgery. The valve stem is opened up to add saline to the implant. This serious complication can occur just a few months after the breast augmentation surgery or it may occur after ten or more years of having implants. 

Overfilling an implant with saline can make deflation and ruptures less with saline implants.  If a saline implant is not filled to the proper capacity, folds can occur with the implant.  It is these folds that weaken or compromise the implant shell - which will lead to a rupture or deflation.  Under-filled implants do fold more often. 

Both overfilling and under-filling a saline breast implant can sometimes both resort in deflation because of the tension it puts on the implant shell.  The manufacturers have guidelines for the surgeon to stay within when filling saline implants.


Symptoms of a Saline Implant Deflation:

  • loss of size

  • loss shape of the implant

  • complete deflation.

Saline breast implant deflations require surgery for placement of a new implant.


                                    Patient with a saline breast implant deflation.

                                          2010 Copyright

                                          Saline Implant Rupture and Deflation





With silicone implants the rupture might not show because of the fact these implants are filled with a gel material.  With the newer style cohesive silicone implants, if a rupture should occur, the silicone does not pass the capsule that is surrounding the implant. 

With the new "gummy bear" implants, if a rupture should occur, these implants are made with such a firm cohesive silicone gel that  you can literally cut the implant in half, and the silicone will stay inside the shell area.  With silicone ruptures, you can see a slight loss of volume over time but it will not be as dramatic as a rupture with a saline implant.  Also, your breast will be misshapen.  Most physicians need the aid of an MRI in order to detect a silicone rupture.


Symptoms of Silicone Implant Deflation:

  • pain or tenderness

  • hard knots

  • swelling

  • tingling

  • burning

  • numbness

  • changes in sensation


All of the above symptoms could also mean other breast problems.  Make sure you contact your plastic surgeon if you experience any of these symptoms.  Hard knots (or any kind of lump) should be examined by a medical professional immediately.

Silicone breast implant ruptures require replacement in addition to open capsulectomy, which is surgical removal of the surrounding scar tissue.





The following are risks that can add to an implant rupture or deflation:

  • closed capsulotomy - a procedure to treat capsular contracture

  • placing any substance besides saline into saline implants

  • injecting through the implant shell

  • altering the implants in any way

  • placing more than one implant into the pocket created during breast augmentation surgery





Reasons why deflation/rupture can occur:

  • Over-handling of the implants during surgery – especially umbilical incision or TUBA placement 

  • Surgical instruments nicking the implants during surgery  

  • Over or under filling of the breast implants

  • Capsular contracture

  • Trauma or some kind of physical pressure done to the implant directly

  • Mammogram - it is important to get an experience Mammogram tech that knows about implants.  Since there are so many women these days with implants, most techs know how to take all the views of the breast with implants.  Make sure you always get your yearly mammogram, regardless. 

  • Damage related to other medical procedures like a biopsy or fluid drainage

  • Normal aging of the implants


The implant manufacturer’s - Mentor and Allergan – both offer lifetime warranties on their implants against rupture and deflation.  However, plastic surgeons that perform closed capsulotomies and or any surgical procedure that might contribute to the rupture, the warranties will be voided.



    Causes of Saline Breast Implant Ruptures            Silicone Breast Implant Rupture as seen on a MRI



                                        Ruptured Silicone Implant with Capsule

                                      2010 Copyright

                                              Ruptured Silicone Implant with Capsule







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