Dr. Stuart Linder Discusses Ruptured Saline Implants
Posted On: October 11, 2023 Author: The Office of Dr. Stuart Linder Posted In: Implant Rupture
Today we’re going to discuss ruptured saline implants. Ruptured saline implants are a huge part of my practice. I’ve been in practice now 26 years. I’m Dr. Stuart Linder, Beverly Hills board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
All the implants that are made in the United States are either by MENTOR Corporation or by Allergan Pharmaceuticals. Those are the only two saline FDA-approved implants in the United States. They all have a single valve, and they all are filled with a fill tube in the operating room. Everything is sterile.
It is not uncommon for me to have patients every week coming in with ruptured saline implants. They’re going to leak through one of two areas. It’s either through the valve here, which becomes bi-directional, and the fluid leaks through the valve, or it’s no longer competent, or they’re going to leak through a crease crack along the shell where they develop a crease crack failure, and it leaks through the edge of the bag. That can be from wear and tear. 90% of the leakage or deflations of the saline implants is, however, through the valve itself. So, saline implants are very safe. If they do leak, again, it’s just sterile salt water, sodium chloride normally, that’s placed into these implants.
And when do they rupture? Ruptured implants can occur anytime after you’ve placed an implant. It can be for many reasons. They can rupture due to trauma. They can rupture after a mammogram. They can rupture after pregnancy or breastfeeding. They can rupture from blunt trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident and a whiplash with a seatbelt. Or they can rupture from just heavy exertion, such as working out and training exercises. So, you never know. Women wake up, and the next morning one of their implants is gone, and it’s very obvious to tell. Unlike silicone implants, where it’s more difficult to determine rupture, where an MRI is often required, saline implants are a clinical diagnosis for rupture, in that you can determine, by just looking at your breast, that one is significantly smaller than the other, and as a result, you probably have a leakage, and it’s most commonly from the valve itself.
Saline implants—how long do they last? Ten to twelve years is considered the average, but some women last 25 years in my practice. Some last three or four years, you just don’t know when an implant is going to break or the implant’s going to deflate. So what do you need to do if your implant is ruptured? If it’s ruptured, it’s really important that you see your board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, and have your examination, and then have that implant removed. And if there is scar tissue, concurrently, have the capsulectomy, or capsulotomy, and/or both scar tissue removed and the implant replaced at the same time. When do you do it? I would do it as soon as you’re able to. It’s important not to leave a ruptured implant in for a long time, as the pocket will start to contract and close upon itself, making it more difficult to get scar tissue removed, and to get the shape to a normal shape, as it was before the rupture.