FAQs: Breast Implant Valves & Breast Augmentation

Implant Valves - Failure? Leaks?

Most saline implants have an internal self-sealing valve, meaning that it closes automatically when the fill tube is removed. The most common type is called a diaphragm valve; other types include the leaf valve and the kink valve. If you have seen a saline implant at your doctor's office you may have noticed a little plug on a strap directly over the valve site. This looks a bit like the plug on a child's pool toy but does not serve the same purpose.

This little plug does not hold the saline in (that is the job of the valve) but instead it covers the valve site to reduce the risk that tissue will grow into the valve and compromise its integrity. The doctor has to push this little plug into place when the implant is filled but, as mentioned above, the valve itself seals automatically. Valve failure can be the cause of saline implant deflation but this occurs relatively rarely, approximately 1% of the time. When saline implants fail, i.e. deflate, the cause 99% of the time is a hole or rip in the implant shell caused by wear and tear over time.

This information contributed by Ed Pechter, M.D., Valencia, CA

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