Several Factors Can Contribute to Breast Implant Deflation
By Jim Greene
Published on December 06, 2010
Diamonds may be forever, but that is not so with breast implants. Although they may last for 10 years, 20 years, or more, most breast implants eventually deflate and need to be replaced.
Breast implants are silicone pouches filled with either silicone gel or saline solution. In time, the pouch, called a shell in the medical field, can weaken and develop cracks through which the filling may leak. This is more likely if the upper portion of the shell wrinkles because of sagging skin.
Saline implants carry an extra risk of leakage. While silicone-filled implants are complete when placed, saline implants are filled through a valve, after the empty shell has been placed. The advantage is a smaller incision; the disadvantage is that the valve is an additional potential source of leakage.
Faulty Manufacturing, Surgery May Cause Leakage
In addition to expected wear, breast implant leakage may be caused by faulty manufacturing, including the valve in a saline implant, by mishandling of the implant before or during the surgery, or by abrasion of the shell by an incorrectly placed suture.
The solution used to fill saline implants is the same as that which occurs naturally in human tissue, so that a saline leak is harmless.
Silicone is not natural to the body, and can cause localized infections if it leaks. Because of that, modern silicone implants are filled with cohesive silicone, which has a thicker consistency than older formulations. In case of a rupture, it will leak more slowly, if at all. It is recommended that women with silicone implants have an MRI every three years, to check for leakage.