It Is Normal For Saline Breast Implants To Deflate?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had saline breast implants done 19 years ago. About 3 years ago I noticed my implants felt wrinkly and softer and had a more unnatural feel to them. I can even see dents in my breasts in the mirror. This as about the same time that I had lost some significant weight. My old plastic surgeon said he could fill them up with more saline. He said he can do an ultrasound to see if they can be refilled. Is this common?

A: The first thing to realize about breast implants is that they are not lifelong devices. Many breast augmentation patients have either never been told this or they did not hear it prior to their initial breast implant surgery. Most saline breast implants will last an average of 10 to 20 years, a few will spontaneously deflate in just a few years while a few others may last more than two decades. But none will last as long as over a long patient’s lifetime. At 17 years after their initial placement, your breast implants have served you well but they are coming to the end of the functional use. What you are feeling is not deflation but the rippling and folding of the implants as they have gotten older and you have had some natural breast tissue atrophy which makes the implant profiles more obvious. It is time to start thinking about their replacement whether it is with new saline implants or silicone implants who do not have some of the same aging concerns that saline implants do.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana