Deflated implant: Emergency?

Procedure Details

This 59-year-old woman had bilateral saline implants that had been in for over 10 years. She developed a deflated appearing left breast suddenly one day without any trauma. The sudden leakage of her breast implant was alarming but not painful. The patient came in for consultation and decided upon replacement with saline breast implants. She did end up having somewhat larger breast implants placed and was very happy with her outcome. With the current COVID pandemic, elective surgeries have been postponed and canceled throughout the US. This includes all elective cosmetic surgery. A small percentage of women will develop implant deflation throughout their lives. Deflation rates are roughly 1% per year .When saline implants deflate it is immediately apparent with a sudden shrinkage of the breast. These women are counseled that it is not an emergency and although distressing- this type of surgery certainly can wait. There are consequences of waiting too long however. The capsule that forms around a breast implant will begin to contract to the smaller size fairly rapidly. An early deflation may need little capsular manipulation upon re-augmentation however, waiting for a long period generally over a month or so frequently will result in shrinkage of the capsule which may need to be removed or released. This makes obtaining symmetry with the opposite breast very difficult. Implant exchange is not always a simple procedure but it is not an emergency.
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