Unlike with silicone implants used in breast augmentation, the diagnosis of a ruptured saline implant is usually quite easy and apparent. Most of the time there is a rapid and dramatic decrease in volume of the implant and, therefore, in the size of the affected breast. This can occur in a matter of a few hours to a few days though I have had a few patients who have noted a very gradual decrease in size over a period of even several months.
What happens to the saline? Your body will absorb the fluid which is harmless. As it does, your breast will further decrease in size.
Once it is apparent that the implant is ruptured, I recommend that the situation be addressed sooner than later. The reason for this is that the tissue which had been previously stretched out will contract around the deflated breast implant over time and form variable amounts of somewhat constrictive scar tissue. This can make it more difficult to reacquire the level of symmetry that had been present prior to the deflation.
The plastic surgery options available for treatment of a ruptured saline breast implant following a breast augmentation fall into four general categories:
1. Replace just the deflated implant.
2. Elect to undergo a bilateral implant exchange. With this approach, one can also change size, style and switch to silicone implants
3. Remove both breast implants (also known as bilateral explantation).
4. Do nothing at all. This option is almost never selected.
In your consultation, I would discuss each of the above options in detail including the pros and cons in order to allow you to make an informed decision.
If you would like additional information on breast implants, breast augmentation, mastopexy with breast enlargement or any other plastic surgery procedure or to schedule a consultation, you can call my office at 480-451-3000.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona