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Everything you need to Know about Saline Implants
Breast Enhancement

Everything you need to Know about Saline Implants

Written by
Juli Albright
Updated
Juli is our patient advocate and community connection. She balances work, life and family with grace.
Juli is our patient advocate and community connection. She balances work, life and family with grace.

Everything You Need to Know about Saline Implants

If you are thinking about breast augmentation surgery in San Antonio, you might be wondering what the best implant option is for you. Should you go for silicone or saline breast implants? Highlighted below are the key takeaways for saline implants.

Difference between Saline and Silicone Breast Implants

Both silicone and saline breast implants have an outer silicone shell. The inside of the breast implant is very different, however.

Saline Implants

You might not know, but doctors have been using breast implants since the early 1960s. Saline implants have an outer shell with the composition of silicone. However, these shells are empty when they get into the patient's body. After inserting them, your plastic surgeon will fill them with sterile salt water or saline.  Typically the incision area will be smaller than with a silicone implant. Also the saline implants are less expensive than silicone (typically ~$1000 less expensive).

Some people suggest that saline implants look more firm than the natural breast tissues, and sometimes surgeons overfill them to avoid wrinkling and rippling of the implants. However, if you choose the right implant like the one that disperses water in separate chambers, you will not face this problem. In that case, you don’t observe water moving quickly. It also reduces rippling and sloshing. Saline implants are also available for people who are 18 years of age for cosmetic reasons.

Silicone Implants

If we talk about silicone implants, they have a complete silicone formation, which is a synthetic material and looks similar to human fat. Hence, these implants have a silicone gel-filled silicone case. They come in several shapes and sizes. Furthermore, some silicone implants are more firm or cohesive than others. The professionals also refer to it as a “gummy bear” implant.

Gummy bear implants have the approximate consistency of "gummy bears"

In this case, you have to discuss with your plastic surgeon about the implant's right size and shape for you. Some people think that silicone implants feel and look more natural than others. That said, they have more health risks if they rupture. The implants' manufacturers usually suggest checking for rupture every two years or, if possible, through MRI. If you want to pick silicone implants, discuss with your doctor about scheduling the screenings. Also, ask them how often you should come for a checkup.

Furthermore, you need to be at least 22 years to get these implants for cosmetic reasons. However, there are some exceptions, such as breast reconstruction, for which anyone under 22 age can have silicone implant surgery.

Risks of Breast Implants

Apart from the risk mentioned above, silicone and saline pose almost similar risks. There are also chances that your implant needs treatment, even after few months. The following are some risks of both types of breast implants.

·      Breast pain

·      Scar tissues that disturb the shape of the breast implant

·      Infection

·      Change in breast sensation

·      Implant leakage

If you want to correct any of the complications, you might have to undergo another surgery. The surgery may include removing or replacing the implants.

What Happens If an Implant Ruptures?

If your implant ruptures, your surgeon will recommend different treatments. The treatment will also vary depending on the type of your implant. Let’s discuss what options you will have in case of implant rupture.

Ruptured Saline Implant

When a saline breast implant ruptures, the implant will deflate. It will cause your affected breast to change its shape and size, giving you an uneven breast shape.

Your body will absorb the leaking saline solution. This solution is not harmful to you, but it is recommended to see a plastic surgeon for breast implant revision surgery to remove the silicone shell. You may also choose to replace your implants and the same time or even opt for a breast lift with the surgery.

Ruptured Silicone Implant

If a silicone implant ruptures, you may not observe it immediately. Some people don’t even realize it. This is because the silicone is a highly viscous fluid (gummy bear consistency in may cases) and is very slow moving. Typically it is trapped by the fibrous tissues or capsule that is present around the implant. Hence, you don’t feel any irregularity after the rupture. This is also known as a silent rupture.

Moreover, leaking of the silicone gel doesn’t cause any health problems, such as reproductive problems, breast cancer, or rheumatoid arthritis. Still, the rupture in this implant can cause breast thickening, breast pain, or changes in the breast's shape or contour. If you face this problem, your plastic surgeon will recommend you surgically remove the implant. Similar to the saline implant, you may opt for a replacement or even a breast lift at the same time.

Health Providers Monitor Safety of Implants

You need to know that both the saline and silicone breast implants are safe for breast augmentation and reconstruction. Before and during surgery, your plastic surgeon should take measurements to give you a look proportional to your body shape.

The plastic surgeon you choose should thoroughly discuss with you the risks and complications which may occur from breast augmentation surgery. Make sure to ask plenty of questions and discuss your concerns with the plastic surgeon during your consultation and pre-op appointments.

Factors to Consider before Surgery

If you are considering breast reconstruction or augmentation, you need to understand that it is much more than placing a breast implant in your body. You need to consider several things before undergoing surgery. When you are thinking of changing your appearance, keep the following things in your mind.

·      Sagging

Most people think that breast implants can prevent their breasts from sagging, which is not true at all. If you want to correct the sagging breast, you will also need a breast lift along with breast augmentation. Both of these procedures can be done at the same time or later.

·      Lifetime

A breast implant doesn’t come with a lifetime guarantee. There is always a possibility of implant rupture. You might be surprised to know that ~10% of women with breast implants chose to remove or replace them within ten years of surgery either for cosmetic or implant rupture reasons.

Furthermore, your breasts continue changing even after the breast augmentation. This happens because of several factors, such as weight loss or gain. Any factor that can impact your body can change the appearance of your saline breast implants. You may also need to go through additional surgery if any changes occur.

·       Mammograms

In the case of breast implants, routine mammograms may need additional specialized check-ups. During the mammogram, you will need to tell the radiologists you have implants.

·       MRI Scan

Once you go through the surgery, you will need to have a regular MRI scan. The Food and Drug Administration suggests visiting your surgeon for a routine checkup and monitoring with MRI or ultrasound every five to six years. However, according to the researches, there is no point of regular checkups unless you have any symptoms.

·       Breast Feeding

For a typical breast augmentation surgery, most women are still able to breast feed after surgery.

·       Insurance

Insurance does not cover cosmetic breast augmentation surgery. This is because saline breast implants are considered a cosmetic surgery. All expenses will have to be paid in cash our through financing.

Bottom Line

Depending on your body type, breast anatomy, and other factors, your chosen plastic surgeon will recommend you the best type of implant for you. However, the choice is completely yours.

No matter what decision you will make, you need to discuss everything with your plastic surgeon. Ask as many questions as you can and discuss every concern. The more you communicate with your health provider, the better informed decision you will make. Lastly, you also need to choose your plastic surgeon carefully. Look for an experienced and qualified plastic surgeon with five star reviews.

Written by
Juli Albright
Updated

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