Saline Breast Implants

Last Updated: December 17, 2012

The terms "saline breast implant" and "silicone breast implant" are confusing. People generally understand that implants are used to increase breast size, but the different kinds of implants used in this popular cosmetic surgery procedure for breast augmentation are less understood.

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Until 1992, the most popular filler was silicone, a naturally occurring and common element in the earth’s crust. Concerns about the potentially harmful effects of silicone in the human body led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban that class of breast implants, so manufacturers turned to saline as a filler.

Silicone and Saline Breast Implants

All breast implants are alike in terms of their basic "blueprint." The device is a silicone shell that varies in size and shape, and that is filled with some sort of material meant to replicate the body’s natural contours.

Until 1992, the most popular filler was silicone, a naturally occurring and common element in the earth’s crust. Concerns about the potentially harmful effects of silicone in the human body led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban that class of breast implants, so manufacturers turned to saline as a filler.

In 2006, after reviewing more research, the FDA allowed two companies, Mentor and Allergan, to sell silicone implants. A third company, Sientra, now also has FDA approval to make silicone gel implants.

Although breast implants are made to be strong and durable, ruptures are a possibility with leakage and circulation of the filler throughout the body resulting. With saline implants, if a rupture occurs, the device deflates and the saline is harmlessly absorbed by the body.

Saline Implants

Saline breast implants contain saline as its filler material. Unlike silicone, which many suspect led to higher occurrences of connective tissue disease, immunological disorders, neurological disorders, cancer, and capsular contracture if the implant were to rupture and the silicone material were to circulate with the person's bloodstream, saline is considered to be completely safe. This is because saline is a salt-water solution that is similar to the fluid that makes up the majority of the human body.

Safety First

The harmless nature of the saline filler and the unavailability of silicone implants have made the saline implant the most widely used type of breast enhancement device. Although they do not have the same natural look and feel as the silicone variant, the saline implants are extremely versatile in terms of shell surface, volume, shell thickness, profile and shape. This diversity ensures that any patient can achieve a close match to their expectations when undergoing breast augmentation surgery.

Whether you want to correct a disproportion between breasts or to improve you body's overall proportions, breast augmentation surgery is more often than not a success. If you want to learn more about this procedure, we suggest you consult a board certified plastic surgeon, by scheduling a free consultation via the contact form below.

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Saline breast implants usually need shorter incisions in comparison to silicone implants because saline implants are filled after placement. Silicone implants are pre-filled.

Does Saline Implants Feel Like Real Breasts?

The only disadvantage of saline implants vs silicone would be the feel. Some women say that they prefer the actual feel of silicone implants as it's more realistic and natural in comparison to a balloon-like feel of saline filled implants. However, surgeons are coming up with newer techniques to help solve this concern. For example, the saline implant can be placed behind the chest muscle and the by slightly slightly overfilling it, it tends to make the implant feel more like a real, natural breast.

Speak with your surgeon and decide together whether silicone or saline is the best choice for you. It's important to weigh the options as well as the pros and cons.

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