What Is This Bump I Feel On My Saline Breast Implants?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had saline breast implants of 375ccs filled to 425ccs last year. They were placed through incision in the lower breast crease and placed under the muscle. While I am happy with the size, I noticed about 6 months ago that I can feel a ridge approximately the size of a quarter to the right of my nipple on my right breast and it’s smooth in the center. What do you think this is? Is it a breast mass or lump or is it something on the implant?

A: What you are likely feeling is the valve of the implant. Saline breast implants are manufactured with an indwelling valve so they can be filled at the time of implantation. During surgery, the flat saline implant has a long tube attached to it at this valve. After the implant is positioned in the breast pocket, it is filled with saline through this long tube. Once filled to the desired volume, this tube is removed from the implant by detaching it from the valve by pulling on it. The valve has an attached cover which then snaps closed over the valve opening. This cover creates a very low profile bump or nipple on the implant’s surface. Usually the valve ends up on the underside of the implant by the way the implant is initially placed in the pocket. But it is possible that an implant can flip or be placed ‘valve up’. In breasts with very thin tissue, the valve may be able to be felt and it would be close to being around the nipple area. It poses no concerns other than being able to be felt.   

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana