It is very rare for a saline implant to rupture and most of our implants are expected to last at least 20 years.
Recently, however, a patient experienced the unusual event of rupture of her saline implant after only 8 years! So what happened? The patient woke up one morning and noticed that her left breast had deflated. There was no obvious reason for this and the patient experienced no pain. Her left breast had simply decreased in size. She called and I was able to see her the very next day. My examination confirmed that her left implant had indeed ruptured and the saline had been harmlessly absorbed into her body. In deciding the next step, the patient said that she had been very happy with her implants however she wondered whether, rather than just having her left implant replaced, she could have both her implants removed and replaced with implants one cup size larger.
As the pockets into which the implants had been inserted were intact, the operation could be performed under local anaesthetic. Both the ruptured and the intact implants were removed and both were replaced with new implants one cup size larger.
The entire procedure took only half an hour and the patient had to pay for only one implant as the ruptured implant was covered under our life time warranty.
So the patient’s rupture had no adverse medical complications and the event was used as an opportunity to improve her overall appearance and sense of wellbeing.
Compare this outcome to what would have happened if the patient had silicone gel implants. The rupture may not have been detected for many months by which stage the silicone would have spread into the lymph glands under her armpit and into other tissues. Removal would have been a major surgical procedure necessitating a general anaesthetic and, even then, it may have not been possible to find and remove all of the silicone.
Each year we see many patients with ruptured silicone implants and almost invariably these patients request that their new implants be saline rather than silicone!