everyday living The Implant Valve And How It Works July 11, 2012 Written By: Andrew Mueth Published On July 11, 2012 Generally, saline breast implantation surgery involves inserting an empty silicone sack, then inflating it with saline solution via a fill tube. These implants contain a valve that self-seals when the surgeon removes the fill tube. The self-sealing valve is covered by a flap that prevents tissue from growing into the valve. Please Read This: All About Capsular Contracture Saline vs. Silicone: Saline breast implants defeat their silicone counterparts in terms of scar size; the “inflate after insertion” method means a smaller incision. Types and locations of valves vary, but valves are only found in saline implants. Silicone implants are filled with gel before insertion. Valveless saline implants come pre-filled by the manufacturer, but they fall flat: they are 3.5 times more likely to deflate in the first four years than their inflatable counterparts. As they also require a larger incision for implantation, many patients will opt for silicone implants instead. Anterior vs. Posterior: The valve can be located on the front or the back of the implant; depending on the make and model. A 2008 study suggests a decreased likelihood of rupture for posterior valves. You Might Like This: Angelina Jolie Opts For Preventative Breast Cancer Measures Some skinny patients have reported being able to feel the anterior valve through their skin, but when the implant is placed beneath the pectoral muscle instead of between the muscle and the breast tissue, this is not an issue. Most breast augmentation patients have their implants behind the muscle, while fewer breast reconstruction patients have this option. The surgeon will evaluate and determine the safest option. Valve Issues Under-filling of the implant greatly increases the likelihood of rupture, but the valve is rarely to blame in the case of rupture. No studies have been done regarding how often the valve is the cause for saline implant deflation. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence suggests that while “slow leaks” are uncommon in saline implants, the valve is often the problem when a slow leak does occur. However, the modern diaphragm valve has done much to reduce this issue, which was more common in the leaf valve era. Once the valve has sealed, the fill hose cannot re-inflate the implant. If a saline implant is leaking through the valve, the implant is considered broken and should be replaced. Recommended Articles everyday living Pregnancy Precautions: Dos And Don'ts For Your Breast Augmentation everyday living How Big Is Too Big? everyday living Is Your Bra Ruining Your Implants? everyday living Amy Robach Diagnosed With Breast Cancer After On-Air Mammogram everyday living Illegal Industrial Silicone Breast Injections Most Searched Questions What size is right for me? How much does breast augmentation cost? What should I ask my plastic surgeon? How do I find a plastic surgeon? Tags: everyday living medical device implant valve valve types risks Comments Learn More: Nipple Piercings Before And After Breast Augmentation Surgery Exercises And Massage After Breast Augmentation Tattoos Do's And Don'ts The Sounds Your Implants Will Make How Big Is Too Big? Elective Mastectomy: Can Breast Cancer Be Prevented?