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I have Saline Breast Implants…How do I know if they’re leaking?

Tag Archives: breast enhancement

breast implantSaline Breast Implants were the only implant available in the US from 1992 through 1996 for breast augmentation. In my practice, I get a lot of patients with questions about needing to replace or exchange these implants. First let me say that you DO NOT have to exchange your implants just because they are of a certain age. If they’re not broken, don’t fix them.

Now, sometimes they do fail. The failure rate at 10 years is about 2.5%, so it’s low but it does occur. So how do you know? Well, you’ll literally get a “flat tire”. But how this shows itself varies based on why the implant failed. There are 2 points of failure for a saline implant. The first is if the fill valve fails, the second is a shell failure. The fill valve is a one way trap door valve that we plug into to fill the implant. If the valve becomes incompetent, what you will see is that the upper half of the implant loses its volume. The valve is right in the middle of the implant so all the water above this will leak out. The bottom half will stay filled. So basically, your fullness above nipple goes away. If the second problem occurs, the outer shell gets a hole in it, the implant tends to deflate more  readily and the entire implant will empty. Your breast will return to its pre augmented size. It’s typically not hard to detect for obvious reason.

The leaked saline will not harm you. It is nothing but saline IV fluid, the very same stuff we give patients who need an IV. So there is no danger to it.

So that’s the story on saline implants and leaking. If for whatever reason you were worried your implants were leaking, just look in the mirror. If they look the same as always, they aren’t leaking. If they do leak, no need to panic, they are warrantied for your lifetime and an exchange is a quick and easy procedure.

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and Med Spa

Recently one of our implant manufacturers released the newest stats on their silicone breast implants. It’s very good news!

Deflation rates after a 6 year time period were very low, only 1.1% for breast augmentation patients. For the ladies with implants placed for reconstruction, the number for the same time period was only 3.8%.

In addition, the rates for scar capsule formation and subsequent hardening  of the breast are very low as well. The capsular contracture rate was 9.8% for augmentation patients and 13.7% for reconstruction patients. While these numbers may seem high, the capsular contracture rate for previous versions of silicone gel implants was reported as high as 30% making todays implant a huge improvement.

Lee Corbett, MD


All posts on this blog are presented by Louisville, KY breast implant surgeon, Dr. Lee Corbett.

Breast reductions and Breast lifts are very similar operations. In a lot of cases the incisions are similar, both serve to lift the breast and re-position the nipple. But there are some significant differences.

The reasons women seek the operations differ. Both want their breasts lifted but reduction patients also tend to complain of neck, shoulder, and upper back discomfort. They also complain of shoulder grooving and of developing rashes under their breasts.

The obvious is that reductions significantly downsize the breast. I don’t know that there is an average, but most women will drop 2 or 3 cup sizes after a reduction. After a lift, most women experience a slight decrease in their bra size. In fact, a lot of times women who have lifts elect to have an implant placed in order to re-establish the fullness at the top portion of their breasts.

Finally, reductions tend to be considered medically necessary and covered by insurance. Lifts are considered cosmetic and financial responsiblity lies solely with the patient.

Lee Corbett, MD


All posts on this blog are authored by Kentucky Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Lee Corbett. Dr. Corbett specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery including facelifts, browlifts, blepharoplasy, Botox, Juvederm, Restylane, breast augmentation, breast lifts, breast reductions, body lifts, liposuction,  and tummy tucks.

A “Mommy Makeover” is a cutesy name someone came up with for the operations we typically perform on women who have had kids. I am preaching to the choir, but pregnancy obviously takes a pretty big hit on your breasts and tummy. A Mommy Makeover represents some combination of breast and tummy procedure.

For the breasts, a lot of women have just lost the upper breast fullness and only will need an implant. Others have maintained size but now the breast droops (see my previous blog on droop) and they need a lift. Many women opt for an implant with  lift combination to reverse the changes we see from pregnancy, aging, and breastfeeding.

On the torso, one of the biggest complaints I hear are a changed distribution of fat. You weigh the same as before your kids but your shape has changed. Most commonly I see fat in the waist & hip areas that need liposuction. Skin and muscular laxity are also common complaints. If your skin and muscles took a big hit we can address this with a tummy tuck. If your skin is good but you can’t get rid of that last little fatty pooch, we can also treat that with lipo.

So, a Mommy Makeover isn’t anything new, just a good marketing idea to catch your eye.

Lee Corbett, MD


All posts on this blog are authored by Louisville mommy makeover surgeon Dr. Lee Corbett.