Saline Implant Removal: My Personal Experience

Saline Implant Removal and Percutaneous Implant Deflation

Hey friends!  So last week on Instagram, I got pretty personal and talked about the first step in my saline implant removal. I underwent a procedure called Percutaneous Implant Deflation and honestly, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to mention it.  I don’t even think I ever mentioned that I had a breast augmentation actually.

After receiving so many questions, I decided to chat in more detail about the process and answer the majority of the questions.

black off the shoulder Express top

Let’s rewind just a bit…

Before we dive into the questions, here’s a little bit about my breast augmentation.

A month shy of 13 years ago, I got a breast augmentation with saline implants.  At the time I had my surgery, silicone implants were not as popular as they are now and if you wanted to be able to safely nurse your children, you had to get saline. Saline implants were the safer route to go and this was the only kind my doctor did at the time. Obviously, a lot has changed since then.

Recovery was super easy and I honestly did not have any problems with them.  You do have to get your saline implants changed out every 10 years (that could have changed since my surgery so don’t quote me on that) but I did not want to have anything removed or changed out until after we were done having kids.  I mean, we all know what pregnancy and nursing can do to your ladies…..
It was around the 10-year mark that I really started to question if I wanted to have my implants removed completely or replaced.

Percutaneous Implant Deflation

After Maddyn was born and I was done nursing, I had to do something.  I mean, I was already 3 years past getting them replaced.  When I went in for my consultation with my doctor, I initially went in thinking I wanted to have them removed and in my mind, I thought a lift would have to be done.  I mean, how would it not, right?  But I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  Deep down, I wanted them out for good but I was a wee bit nervous on how it would look afterward.  That’s when my doctor talked to me about an option called Percutaneous Implant Deflation which was THE PERFECT route for me to go.


What in the heck is Implant Deflation?

The procedure is called a Percutaneous Implant Deflation.  Basically, the deflation is done by injecting a small area at the bottom of the bilateral breast and numbing it with lidocaine. A tiny needle is used to puncture the implant. A suction is used to remove the saline from the implant. Ointment and band aids along with an ace wrap for compression is applied. There is little to no down time and you may resume normal activity immediately following deflation. It’s recommended you wear a compression wrap or some type of compression garment up until your surgery.

This is an ideal option for patients that are…

  • Asymmetric
  • Had an implant rupture
  • Wanting to downsize
  • Uncertain if a lift is necessary
  • Unsure of current implant volume
  • Bottomed Out
  • Laterally Displaced

Yup, that was my thought too.

Basically, it was THE perfect option for me and I had no idea it even existed.
It will allow me to see what size I’ll be and what it’s like without implants before going into surgery and allow me to decide if I want to simply remove my old implant bags or get new implants.

The 6 week period between your implant deflation and your scheduled surgery date is very important because it allows your skin to lift and tighten, which is how I may get away with not having to have a lift.  I am extremely thankful my doctor took the time to educate me on the “immediately after” because, lets just say, it can be a little shocking.

Who is your Doctor?

Dr. Michael Ciaravino is my doctor and he is who performed my original augmentation.  I highly recommend him if you are in the Houston area.  He is one of the world’s leading plastic surgeons specializing in breast augmentation procedures.

Can I have this performed if I have silicone implants?

No, this is only an option for saline implants

Did it hurt?

Not even a bit.  I was in and out in about 15 minutes.  I was more nervous than anything.

I’ve been considering getting implants.  Do you not recommend them?

Just make sure you are doing it for YOU!  I did not and do not regret my procedure. Honestly, I got tired of how they looked. After 13 years and two pregnancies, gravity wasn’t my best friend and I started to feel like I looked top heavy and was uncomfortable when wearing a swimsuit or even in a v-neck shirt.   Rippling can and did come with my saline implants and I think that annoyed me the most too.

What did it look like immediately after?

Pretty much like deflated balloons.  hahahaha!  As I said, if Dr. Ciaravino and his staff did not prepare me, I would be pretty shocked.  It ended up looking a lot better than I was imagining it.  The first day, I was completely fine and happy and excited to start the process of getting them removed.  A couple of days later is when I started to question if I wanted to have smaller implants replaced.  I feel like I went soooooo long with implants, then to have basically nothing was the worst part. Now that I’m 10 days out, the emotional part has gone away, and I’m left with the question of, Do I want to replace volume or am I going to be okay going from a small D to barely A? Again, things can change, so I’m interested to see how much volume I gain back.

How is it done?

I drove myself to the appointment.  My doctor numbed the area with lidocaine and a small needle was used to puncture the implant and suction was used to deflate them. Basically, the saline was sucked out leaving only the bag! haha!  My only restrictions after were to not work out that day.

I had no idea this was even an option.  Can you feel the bags once they are deflated?

Yes and no.  I was instructed to wear an ace bandage with a compression bra or a really tight compression bra leading up to my explantation.  I can’t feel the bags unless I’m wearing less compression.  But it’s not an issue that bothers me.  Now, I just wear a really tight sports bra which makes me look like my pre-puberty self.

So you have the deflation, then what?

After the deflation, we allow my body to heal for six week.  My next procedure was scheduled when I originally scheduled my deflation.  At my pre-op appointment (October 31st) I will decide if I want to have the old implant bags taken out and be done with it (explantation) or have the explantation with new implants replaced.

Is it major surgery to have the explantation?

No, the procedure can actually be done under local anesthesia or you can choose to have general anesthesia.

How did you feel emotionally?

The day of and day after, I was happy and excited.  Then, I feel like the mental and emotional stage set in.    I mean, it’s not the prettiest thing ever but I think that came with the fact that I went 13 years with a small D and then I was looking at basically nothing.  That stage came and went.  Now, I’m just unsure of what I’m going to do which is CRAZY because I was so sure that I wanted them out and not replaced.

How does your husband feel about it?

Honestly, I was blessed with the most supportive and incredible husband ever.  There are days when I ask God what I did to deserve him.  He wants me to be happy and supports whatever decision I make.

What size are/were you?

Pre-operatively I was a B cup.  Post-operatively I was a 32D.  Right at this moment, I probably need to be shopping in the training bra section….

Post Deflation Thoughts:

Currently, I am 10 days post deflation.  Since I was late getting this post up, I figured I would talk about my one week progress.

Honestly, I am VERY thankful for this process.  Before my consult, I wanted the implants out and to be done.  One week out, I have seen a lot of changes, so it’s very hard to say what I’m going to do at this point.  At this exact moment, I have lost a lot of volume, so I am considering having VERY small silicone implants replaced to gain that back.  I know a lot will change from now to my pre-op so it’s kinda hard to say at this exact moment.  Only time will tell but I will keep you posted.  If you have saline implants, and you are like me, and unsure if you want them out or want to replace them, definitely talk to your doctor about this option.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress next week!

Let me know if you have any questions!!!!