Q: Dr. Eppley, I am 70 years old and got saline breast implants forty years ago. Recently my left saline implant ruptured. Need surgeon with your skills. I am confused about options with my saline breast implant deflation. I saw you on Real Self. Can you help me please? Thank you.
A: Having saline breast implants that have lasted for forty years is way beyond what one would expect them to last without suffering a deflation. The duration most saline implants are typically expected to last is in the ten to twenty-five year range. I have never heard of a saline breast implant lasting four decades!
With a recent saline breast implant deflation, the simplest and most economically efficient option would be to simply replace the ruptured implant with a new saline implant. Breast implants replacements are easy because there is an established implant pocket already. You could, of course, switch to silicone implants in both breasts if you still want implants and want to eliminate any future risks of an implant deflation. (since silicone implants do to deflate) As an alternative option, you can simply remove both implants if you no longer desire to have them and wish to most assuredly eliminate any future breast implant concerns.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I had Mentor saline breast implants placed in 1994 and now one has deflated. I need to find out what my options are to replace them.
A:Having a current saline implant deflation, regardless of when they were placed, leaves you with several options. First, you could simply replace the deflated implant only. With an established pocket (provided the deflation has not gone on for months), a saline implant can easily and painlessly be replaced even under local or IV sedation. While that is the simplest thing to do, most women would understandably be concerned about the other implant deflating soon thereafter. (particularly in your case where they are now 18 years old…beyond what most saline implants would be expected to remain intact) Therefore, the second option would be to replace both implants with new saline implants. Once you have suffered a deflation, however, most women do not want to endure another one and would like implants that at least have a chance to last the rest of your lifetime. With that consideration, the third option would be to replace both old saline implants with new silicone gel (gummy bear) breast implants which will not suffer the problem of deflation. They will have the best chance of lasting the rest of your lifetime. Of course, there is always a fourth option of simply removing both implants and not replacing them at all. For understandable reasons this is rarely done.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I think I may have ruptured one of my saline breast implants. I had them placed seven years ago and they have been great since surgery. They look fantastic and they have given me some much more confidence. I was running and slipped and fell on my right side. My right breast ended up bruised for several weeks. Now that the swelling and bruising has gone away, my right breast looks smaller. What should I do now? Will I have to pay for a new breast implant and surgery all over again?
A: Low impact trauma is an unusual cause of shell failure in breast implants but it is possible. If you have noticed a breast size change after such an event, then you should return to your plastic surgeon and have it evaluated. Generally a saline implant failure is easy to detect because breast size will change. Loss of saline volume is the only reason one would have a delayed change in breast size. All breast implants from either manufacturer, either Allergan or Mentor, have lifelong replacement warranties should they need to be replaced due to shell failure. Since you are within 10 years from your original surgery, you will get a new pair of breast implants at no charge and up to $3500 towards the cost of surgery to replace them. So while the bad news is that your breast implant may have failed, you will not suffer a economic hardship to have them replaced.
Dr. Barry Eppley