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Saline Breast Implants

Saline filled implants, once the most often used type of implant used in the United States, have for the most part been replaced by silicone gel filled implants. The reasons for this are related to the aesthetic result obtained with saline filled implants. Saline implants are much heavier than silicone implants. Generally, saline tends to produce implants that feel firmer than silicone gels. In terms of the final results, patients face a higher risk of visible rippling over time as well. For these reasons, most patients prefer a silicone filled implants. Patients with very little breast tissue are especially at risk for an unaesthetic result with saline implants.

However, some patients still request saline filled implants. Patients who obtain the best results with these implants are those women who have an adequate breast tissue to cover the implant. In these patients with thicker breast tissue, the characteristics of the saline implant are less noticeable and/or palpable.

Some patients prefer saline implants because if the implant develops a tear or hole, a “leak”, it is obvious as the fluid leaks out and the breast becomes smaller. No testing in necessary to detect a leak. The saline that leaks out is absorbed by the body and excreted in the urine. There are no harmful side effects. Additionally, replacing a saline implant that has leaked is a very simple process. The old scar is excised, the implant is removed and a new one is replaced. If a silicone implant leaks there is also no safety issue but a slightly more involved surgery is necessary to exchange the implant.

Some patients believe that saline is “safer” than silicone but several studies prove that all implants, both saline filled and silicone filled, are safe. The chief advantage of saline implants is the ability to easily detect a leak and the incision necessary to place the implant is usually smaller than that needed to place a silicone filled implant. Saline implants are actually filled during the surgical procedure, allowing the surgeon to make a much smaller incision when putting the device in place. A silicone implant comes pre-filled and requires a slightly longer incision for placement. Additionally, saline implants are slightly less expensive than silicone implants.

Inserting a Saline Implant

When patients are assessing the advantages and disadvantages for each of these types of implants, it is important that they understand the surgical procedure related to saline implants. Saline products arrive from the manufacturer as an empty silicone shell. This shell is filled to a predetermined capacity once it is placed inside of the patient. The amount of saline is typically adjusted during the surgical procedure in order to meet the specific goals of the patient. The procedure must be performed with a high level of accuracy and care due to the fact that either under-filling or over-filling the device can result in deflation for the patient. Surgeons use their expertise and judgment in filling the device so that the patient faces reduced risks of rippling and sloshing in the implant over time. The exact procedures that board-certified surgeons use in order to fill implants are designed specifically for use with saline devices.

It is important to consult highly-qualified physicians when making decisions related to breast augmentation. Dr. Tracy M. Pfeifer has a considerable amount of experience in aiding patients who are interested in augmentation procedures. She consistently guides patients towards the most appropriate choice for their needs. The characteristics that she considers include the patient's body type, their goals for the procedure, and the risks associated with their particular case. When partnering with Dr. Pfeifer, patients can be comfortable in knowing that their choice will result in a procedure that leaves them with natural and desirable results that are safe. She fully informs patients of every detail of the surgery. Her valuable experience as a surgeon and knowledge of all implant brands and types available allows her to bring patients the most reliable products and surgical procedures that have been safely developed throughout the United States.

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